Drug cartels smuggling illegals create security risk, officials say

June 8, 2010 05:08

Smuggling of potential terrorists across the border is evolving into a billion dollar industry for Mexican drug cartels while posing a significant threat to the United States, according to federal law enforcement officials.

By: Sara A. Carter at Washington Examiner

That was echoed in a recent assessment by the U.S. military’s Southern Command that found drug cartels are taking advantage of a “largely unregulated” border to create security risk for the United States.

“Of particular concern is the smuggling of criminal aliens and gang members who pose public safety threats to communities throughout the border region and the country,” said the Southern Command report obtained by The Washington Examiner. “These individuals include hundreds of undocumented aliens from special interest countries, primarily China, but also Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan.”

Department of Homeland Security policy requires that many illegal immigrants from countries that have been breeding grounds for anti-American sentiment, known as “special interest aliens,” be released unless there is specific evidence of threat. Most fail to appear for hearings.

“We don’t always know who we have in custody,” said a DHS official who asked not to be named. “We still have a catch and release program, and we don’t always know if those are good or bad guys. It’s difficult to coordinate with our Mexican counterparts, and many times we have no idea who made it across with the aid of the cartels.”


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