(TargetLiberty.org) – A number of GOP leaders are speaking out this week after news broke that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowed a migrant with ties to an unspecified terrorist cell to enter the country. Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and a number of his colleagues want the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine how exactly the failure happened — and what can be done to ensure it never happens again.
Report Suggests COVID-19 Measures Triggered Failure
A letter signed by nine GOP representatives serving on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security sent a letter to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and the House Judiciary Committee on February 16, 2022. It contains shocking details about the questionable migrant, how he managed to gain entry into the country, and why the incident poses a serious risk to national security.
Border Patrol agents allegedly first detained Issam Bazzi, who originally hails from Venezuela, shortly after he crossed the border somewhere in the southwestern US. Officers immediately took him into custody and sent him for processing. Questions arose when the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center red-flagged Bazzi for having ties to an undisclosed terrorist group.
The FBI responded by recommending Bazzi remain in the custody of law enforcement officers until further notice. A short time later, ICE labeled him a potential flight risk.
So, how exactly did Bazzi manage to walk free? ICE determined it had to release him because he was overweight, and thus, at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19.
Persons of interest with suspected ties to terrorism are typically deported from the United States after a short detention. In fact, this is the first time for any person with ties to terrorism to be temporarily detained and then released on their own recognizance.
GOP Leaders Speak Out
All nine of the GOP leaders who signed the letter have serious concerns about President Joe Biden’s relaxed approach to border security. They feel immigration enforcement has become an inefficient afterthought, and say the Biden administration failed to follow protocols. Worse yet, they suggest it isn’t the first time for such failures to occur under his watch.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Chris Clem allegedly published a tweet claiming a terrorist managed to cross the Mexican border into Arizona shortly before Christmas. However, the post is no longer available; officials deleted it shortly afterward, citing the need to protect sensitive case data.
It isn’t clear exactly who the individual in this case was or whether the person is still on US soil.
CBP also apparently captured and detained two Yemeni men in April of 2021; both were on the terrorism watch list at the time. GOP leaders say Border Patrol initially issued a press release with details of the incident in the matter, only to delete it a short time later in response to concerns about “national security.”
The core question: what, if anything, are they trying to hide?
The group of concerned GOP leaders wants the DHS to take action on these and other failures by launching a full investigation into exactly why standard protocols aren’t being followed. They’re also asking for a hearing in which experts from the DHS, FBI and other agencies can explore whether terrorists are exploiting the Biden administration’s weak border policies.
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