Thursday, September 28, 2023

Surge Halts Screenings of Terrorism Suspects; Border Officers Lack Time, Tools; House GOP Eyes Adding Border Security to Short-Term Spending Deal

AP Photo/Gregory Bull
Surge halts screenings of terrorism suspects; border officers lack time, tools
To sniff out a terrorism suspect at the border, Border Patrol agents need time to ask questions and often need translators for non-English speakers.
Thanks to the unprecedented surge of illegal immigrants under President Biden, agents don’t have the time or the chance to access language tools and probe the backstories the migrants are telling, said Rodney Scott, a former chief of the Border Patrol.
“Overwhelmed officers and agents no longer have time to conduct meaningful interviews,” Mr. Scott told Congress on Thursday. “Border Patrol is overwhelmed with illegal aliens from several countries that are known to be affiliated with terrorism, but those agents cannot get timely language translation support to conduct the most basic processing, let alone a meaningful interview.”
The number of illegal immigrant terrorism suspects — people whose names trigger the government’s terrorism watchlist — is breaking records, igniting a debate on the reality of the threat of a terrorist encroachment at the southern border.
Like so much else in the immigration debate, perspectives are deeply divided.
Democrats dismissed Mr. Scott’s concerns, aired at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, saying the likelihood of a terrorist using the southern border to sneak into the U.S. is slim. They said the idea is an attempt to demonize the broader swath of illegal immigrants who show up seeking better jobs or a chance to reunite with relatives.
“Do you favor deporting 10 million taxpaying undocumented workers from the U.S. right now?” said Rep. Lou Correa, California Democrat.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, said terrorism suspects make up a small fraction of a percent of the total flow of people.
Mr. Scott laid out his argument. He said his experiences as a Border Patrol agent on the front lines and then working on joint task forces and as the nation’s chief agent until he was ousted by the Biden administration “scare the hell out of me.” --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
House GOP eyes adding border security to short-term spending deal
House Republicans are working on a stopgap spending bill that includes border security measures, adding the sweetener to win support from arch-conservatives who are threatening to force a government shutdown.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus are in talks with members of the more moderate Main Street Caucus to include elements of the GOP’s marquee Secure the Border Act into a short-term spending bill to keep the government open past a Sept. 30 shutdown deadline.
The Main Street Caucus, one of the most influential House GOP caucuses, has over 70 members who describe themselves as “pragmatic” conservatives.
Freedom Caucus lawmakers have held firm to a list of demands — including border security measures — to earn their support for the stopgap bill.
Secure the Border Act includes finishing the Trump border wall, hiring more Border Patrol agents and reducing the Biden administration’s use of parole power to release migrants.
It also reinstates the Trump-era policy that makes asylum seekers wait in Mexico until their asylum claims are adjudicated, increases the collection of DNA from migrants and makes the E-Verify work authorization platform mandatory for businesses.
The two caucuses are “working together in good faith” to add in some of these border security provisions, said Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, the Main Street chairman, and Rep. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, the vice chair.
“The talks have been productive and we’ll continue to work toward a deal,” they said in a joint statement.
Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, one of the Freedom Caucus lawmakers in the negotiations, said border security should be Congress’ top priority.
“That is the job of the federal government if it doesn’t do that, and why are you funding it,” he told reporters at the Capitol. --->READ MORE HERE
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