178 – that’s the number of Iraqi asylum seekers that have come to the U.S. by way of the Southwest border this year – triple last year’s number. 16 is the number of Iraqis border authorities have caught trying to simply enter illegally. What does it all mean? According to the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, the prospects aren’t good. Calling the border with Mexico a veritable "terrorist gateway; McConnell warns coming to the U.S. via the relatively porous Southwest border makes sense for committed and trained terrorist operatives.
Although the exact figures remain classified, McConnell says the U.S. has caught terrorists trying to cross the Southwest border before, pointing to the likes of Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, a man with Hezbollah ties who came to the U.S. by way of Mexico in 2001. So far none of the 178 Iraqi asylum seekers have been shown to have terrorist organization ties, but given time, according to McConnell, more and more Iraqis will discover the relative ease of access to the U.S. via the Southwest border. It’s not, as McConnell says, "rocket science." It remains unknown, obviously, how many have crossed and evaded U.S. border officials altogether.
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