Former President Donald Trump issued a stark warning via his Truth Social messaging platform, saying that terrorists could be infiltrating the United States via the unsecured border with Mexico.
“The same people that raided Israel are pouring into our once beautiful USA, through our totally open southern border, at record numbers. Are they planning an attack within our country? Crooked Joe Biden and his boss Barack Hussein Obama did this to us!,” Trump posted on Oct. 9.
The comments came just days after Hamas, which is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, conducted a surprising raid into southern Israel, killing more than 1,000 people and taking more than 100 captive.
Trump provided no evidence to back up his claim, which he repeated while on the campaign trail.
Little Evidence Hamas is Crossing Into the U.S.
Terrorism experts are skeptical, saying there is no evidence to back up the former president’s claim. Politifact rated Trump’s claim “Pants on Fire,” the organization’s highest rating of falsehood.
However, a former Obama administration official has cautioned that the current influx of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is more extensive than anything that the country has seen, and it could present opportunities for nefarious actors – including terrorists – to enter the country.
In an appearance on Fox News last week, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johson acknowledged that the border crisis presents an added concern for U.S. law enforcement.
“There are a lot of people entering our southern border right now,” Johnson explained. “Thousands and thousands. It’s a hemispheric move north bigger than anything we’ve ever seen. And the challenge for [U.S. Customs and Border Protection], for our DHS, the FBI, is to try to keep up.”
He added, “Unfortunately, as you know, the system is broken, it’s horribly backlogged, and there’s a whole lot of people entering this country who we cannot identify.”
Other officials have expressed a similar sentiment, even while downplaying the security risk at the border.
“Are terrorists flooding across the border? Probably not,” Theresa Cardinal Brown, a former DHS official under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told CBS News. “But at the same time, it is true that the large number of people arriving does have national security implications.”
Border Patrol Has Caught Those on the Terrorism Watchlist
Border Patrol apprehensions of individuals on the FBI’s terrorism watchlist have increased sharply in recent years amid a surge of overall crossings. In fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol reported apprehending 151 migrants with positive terrorism watchlist matches who entered the U.S. illegally along the southern border. That is an all-time high for the region, eclipsing the previous record of 98 set in fiscal year 2022, government figures show.
In fiscal year 2021, the agency reported just 15 such apprehensions, CBS News also reported.
There has been little indication that any individuals affiliated with Hamas or related groups have been arrested or detained along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years. Those who have been arrested have had connections with al Qaeda and ISIS.
DHS announced it will increase its efforts to monitor for border crossings by suspected terrorists.
“While we do not have specific and credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States at this time stemming from the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, DHS is closely monitoring unfolding events and will continue to engage in information sharing with our intelligence and law enforcement partners at home and abroad,” the department added in its statement.
Hamas was formed in Gaza in the 1980s and was designated by the U.S. State Department in 1997 as a terrorist group. It won elections in the Palestinian territories in 2007 and currently controls Gaza. Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.