Border Security at Risk After Hamas Strike, Security Concerns Rise

Hamas’s horrific terror attack on Israel last week has further heightened Republican worries surrounding the unprotected border and an unprecedented migratory crisis that has overwhelmed Border Patrol agents.

“We are vulnerable when we have all these military-age men coming in. Do you think our enemies have not been looking at that weakness?” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on CNN this week.

DeSantis indicated to border encounters of migrants from Iran, Russia, China, and the Middle East: “That is not good for the security of this country.”

Since 2021, CBP has reportedly encountered thousands of ‘special interest aliens,’ as reported by Fox News. ‘Special interest aliens’ are citizens of nations deemed by the United States to have conditions that promote or protect terrorism or could threaten U.S. national security.

Meanwhile, in FY 2023, there was an all-time high in interactions with people whose names were on the terror screening data set, also known as the watchlist. More than the prior six years, 154 interactions occurred at ports of entry along the northern and southern borders and 505 encounters at ports of entry overall.

Although not everyone who appears on a watchlist is a terrorist, the list includes friends and family members of known terrorists in addition to the individuals themselves.

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green said this week that the open border is America’s most significant national security threat.

This week on his podcast, Sen. Ted Cruz said that the risk of a serious terrorist attack in the United States is right now greater than it has been any time since September 11.

“I think there’s a confluence of a number of factors. One, obviously, the most significant war in Israel in 50 years, the most significant attack on Israel in 50 years. Number two, two-and-a-half years of open borders on our southern border, 7.6 million people coming in illegally, including a significant number of people on the terrorist watch list, and an exposure that there could be a significant number of terrorists from countries in the Middle East who have come into this country in the past two and a half years,” Cruz said.

Mark Morgan, former acting CBP commissioner during the Trump administration, said, “The attack should serve as a wake-up call to pay attention to the alarms we have been sounding for a while that border security is the same as national security.”

“Global Islamic extremists’ commitment to harm the U.S. is unwavering and just as strong as it was 22 years ago, and this attack should push away our false sense of security with respect to our own intelligence capabilities. We have vast intelligence gaps, and we are not infallible,” he said.

Representatives Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania) and Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) have introduced a resolution recognizing the influx of known or suspected terrorists through America’s northern border as a threat to national security.

Kelly pointed out that the U.S.-Canadian border is the longest continuous border in the world and that most of the suspected terrorists detained this year entered the country over that border.

“The first thing bad guys do is go where the good guys aren’t. Right now, all our good guys are dealing with Biden’s crisis on the Southwest border, leaving the north unprotected and vulnerable to criminals, cartels and terrorists,” Zinke said.

DHS informed Fox News Digital last Wednesday that there is no concrete evidence of an imminent threat to the United States from Hamas’ attacks against Israel.

A spokesperson for DHS stated, “The department is closely monitoring unfolding events and will continue to share information with our intelligence and law enforcement partners at home and abroad.”

However, DHS has acknowledged the potential risk. According to the threat assessment, terrorists and criminals may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States.