Sunday, September 14, 2008

Paranoia and the border

You may remember three years ago, when several members of the House of Representatives from NC made a big deal about how members of Al Qaeda were arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border. Turns out that was false, though the "terrorists surging across an open border" has been a popular theme since 9/11.

Now, both the U.S. and Mexican governments have revealed how many Al Qaeda-linked arrests they have made: zero:

Officials from both nations say there hasn't been any sign of the southern U.S. border becoming an entry point for terrorists, as had been feared after the suicide jetliner hijackings that struck New York and Washington.

There is no sign at all of Al Qaeda in or around Mexico. Here is an even more interesting argument:

Thomas Sanderson, deputy director of the transnational threats project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said al-Qaida usually sends its members through Europe because, unlike Mexico, citizens of those countries can enter U.S. territory without a visa.

"We are more likely to see people come in through airplanes," he said.

He also doubts al-Qaida operatives would expose themselves to organized crime or smuggling groups in Mexico. "They'd be concerned that their cover or their effort would be exposed. It's unfamiliar territory for them," he said.

In other words, it's much harder for Middle Eastern terrorists to get in through Mexico than through Europe.


boz 10:32 AM  

That said, there are a number of human trafficking rings smuggling people from the Middle East and Southeast Asia through the Mexican border. The San Antonio Express News has had some fantastic articles on how it works. They're coming for economic reasons, the same reason illegal immigrants come from all over the world.

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