Federal law enforcement officials have been monitoring a worrying trend that could pose a security risk. According to the Department of Homeland Security, up to 30,000 people with Middle Eastern names may be traveling on Mexican passports they may have fraudulently obtained.
DHS says that the 30,000 people are currently under “additional inquiry”. The government wants to know if any of the 30,000 Mexican passport holders have traveled to the United States and if there are any patterns.
Even Alejandro Mayorkas, DHS Secretary, seems a bit worried by the vulnerability of our Southern border. Due to the “unsustainable” level of illegal immigration at its border, the United States could lose its “first line defense.”
Washington Free Beacon:
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups could profit from the strained immigration system, there are fears. Two Yemeni nationals who were on the terrorist watchlist were detained at the southern border last April. Officials in law enforcement are concerned that criminals could use the legal travel system to illegally enter the United States with passports from Mexico. According to the U.S. Travel Association, approximately 20 million Mexican citizens travel to the United States each year as tourists.
According to a senior DHS official, “This investigation shows that criminals often use legal traveling to facilitate criminal activities.” The nexus with Mexico should prompt lawmakers and the public to consider how porous borders can make it even more dangerous.
The bulk of investigations are left to the little-known, but crucial piece of our first line defense against an attack. Custom and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, Sterling, Va. has been working non-stop since 2001 to capture travelers and detect cargo that could pose a threat to U.S. security.
According to the memo, the National Targeting Center of the agency identified the passports. A 2014 memo stated that the lesser-known subagency was created soon after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. It “works quietly and quickly to identify people or products that could pose potential threats to the Nation’s security and to stop them from entering the United States.”
According to a senior DHS official, the National Targeting Center assists Immigration and Customs Enforcement in deporting child predators and money launderers. The National Targeting Center often partners with other agencies in investigations that involve terrorism or global criminal network.
Not all of the 30,000 fake passports come from terrorists, it is clear. A false passport is necessary if the holder intends to engage in criminal activities. Criminals have the ability to cross the border quickly to do their business, so it is important that any fraud ring responsible should be stopped.