Smuggled Immigrants Raise U.S. Terrorism Fears Concern about a terrorist threat to the United States is growing among American intelligence officials due to a recent upsurge in the number of East Africans who have been caught trying to enter the US illegally.
Citing an “internal government assessment” that it had obtained, the Associated Press reported last week that the US is focusing new attention on networks that smuggle people from Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan.
A total of 159 citizens of the four East African countries have been captured in the past several months as they tried to enter the US without permission. That compares to 125 for all of last year and a total of 22 in 2003.
Of the 159 caught this year, 138 came from Eritrea, the AP reported.
The United States has a particularly thorny relationship with Eritrea, which Washington accuses of supporting an Islamist force inside Somalia that the US also labels as a terrorist organisation. A senior State Department official warned last year that the US may designate Eritrea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Djibouti, on the other hand, is among the United States’ closest allies in Africa. The tiny country strategically situated on the Horn hosts a US military base that conducts counter-terrorism operations throughout the sub-region.
American officials acknowledge that most of the East Africans trying to enter the US illegally have no ties to terrorism and are motivated by hopes of achieving a better life.
The four East African countries listed as of “special interest” to US security agencies are part of a group made up mainly of majority-Muslim states.
Intensified worries about aliens entering the US from East African “special interest” countries stem from a court case involving two Ghanians who specialised in smuggling East Africans into the United States.
One of the two men, Sampson Lovelace Boateng (known as Pastor), recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to charges that he recruited East Africans who paid for his assistance in attempting to enter the US.
US authorities charged that Mr Boateng, along with alleged co-conspirator Mohammed Kamel Ibrahim, provided the East Africans with phony Mexican visas that enabled them to travel from Africa to South America and Central America en route to the United States.
The pair also arranged to bribe African officials to facilitate their clients’ efforts to reach the United States, the US indictment charges.
“Getting into US is no problem at all,” Mr Ibrahim boasted in an e-mail message intercepted by US authorities. “That’s what I do best.”
Mr Ibrahim and Mr Boateng were arrested last year. Their activities are said to have accounted for most of the East Africans who entered the US illegally in the past couple of years.
“Criminal smuggling organisations earn millions of dollars through the ruthless exploitation of illegal aliens,” Julie L. Myers, a security official for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, told the Associated Press.
“By attacking these organised criminal networks in a comprehensive way, we are shutting down vulnerabilities in our country and in theirs.”
Lets take our paranoia to the next level. Not that there is NOT a problem, there certainly is! America is still guilty of knee jerk, treat the symptom and not the cause. All I hear, is how “terrorists and criminals” are infiltrating the US to cause us harm. Wow! That’s the baby in the bath water … Nurturing this attitude is a ploy to cover up inadequate US policies. There has always been resentment for anyone different. The United States is becoming less and less “United” over the immigration issue. Every single one of us whose ancestors arrived AFTER 800 A.D. is an immigrant, invader or accidental tourist! Arrivals AFTER the 1600s (criminals, misfits and the persecuted), decided to set up their own country, declaring freedom and equality in the 1700s (with the exclusion of the host population). NOW from the early 1900s to present, America has decided to FILTER any further immigrants onto this land. The land of freedom, democracy and hope is an exclusive club that is suffering from their past myopic, elitist decisions. Decisions, (based upon Europe’s imperialist mindset) that were exclusive to those privileged few invaders, who set up a powerful nation, but, failed to make adequate provision for the indigenous population and future immigrants. The American Myth has attracted the hopeful and desparate world wide … the advertising has been awesome. Now, the infrastructure shows inadequate accomodation. Calling to the world to taste our wine, then denying them a place at the table is cruel. The land of opportunity is a scam. Opportunity is available to only the invited.
America has become the world wide poster child for bait and switch. We build fences … we chase and encarcerate. We are NOT addressing the problem by scapegoating immigrants as terrorists or “low lifes”. Drug criminals are a different problem and are NOT being impacted by the “crackdown” on those poor suckers trying to support their families back home. The dragnet is targeted on the southern border. Canada “is more like we are”, no fence needed. Al Qaeda flies in from Europe and points EAST under tourist and student visas with plenty of cash in their pockets. Africans and other 3rd world immigrants, fleeing for their lives, must use the discount method, Mexico. Again, criminals are NOT impacted by fences, but they do take advantage of those travelers, fleece them, then smuggle them across the border in horrid transport, into slavery or worse. America’s paranoia allows the criminals to charge more for their services. They recruit travelers for criminal operations for payback. Throwing fences across the southern border is NOT the bullseye of the immigration problem, it is another racist calamity. Because, forced to live UNDER the legal radar, has created MORE criminals. They have to eat, feed their families and try to assimilate without drawing the attention of the authorities. The immigration issue must address the causes and actual circumstance before a real solution can be proposed.Cross Posted on TruthHugger