San Diego County officials in California are advocating for the sealing of the southern border, citing increased alarm over terrorist threats and a recent notice about the possibility of terrorist militants seeking entry into the United States.
"It’s time to close the border to new immigration," San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond stated during a recent press conference.
Desmond stood with El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and fellow local Republicans in support of heightened border security measures, Fox Newsreports.
He referenced a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) memo from last week, which Fox News obtained, cautioning that individuals "inspired by, or reacting to, the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border."
Given the recent terrorist threats and border patrol officials being overwhelmed, It’s time to close our southern border. pic.twitter.com/Iy6CMc0MXb
"Foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune may attempt to obfuscate travel to or from the U.S. to or from countries in the Middle East through Mexico," the memo, issued by the agency’s San Diego Field Office's intelligence unit, stated.
First disclosed by the Daily Caller, the memo explicitly refers to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hezbollah.
The memo highlights potential signs to watch for, such as males of military age, carrying military equipment, traveling alone, having no clear plan for return, and ties to the region.
A CBP spokesperson told Fox News that the agency "has seen no indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the United States."
"It is the policy of CBP to neither confirm nor speak to potentially improperly disclosed information or internal documents marked as law enforcement sensitive or for official use only," the spokesperson said. "In general, CBP provides frontline personnel a wide range of context for situational awareness in order to ensure they remain vigilant in fulfillment of our homeland and border security missions. Situational awareness briefs are not threat assessments."
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The memo has echoed ongoing worries regarding the potential for terrorists to slip through border security. Officials have pointed to an unprecedented tally of interactions with individuals listed on the terror watch. Data reveals that Border Patrol reported 169 such encounters in Fiscal Year 23.
"Given these statistics and the national security issues going on out there with the war in the Middle East and with terrorists wanting to kill not only people in the Middle East but also here in the United States we don’t want to have open and porous borders." Desmond said.
The FY 24 threat assessment from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also indicated a rising number of individuals from the watch list encountered by agents. It cautions that "terrorists and criminal actors may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States."
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is sounding the alarm over a possible infiltration of America's southern border by Iran-back terrorist cells.
"Individuals with terrorism connections are interested in using established travel routes and permissive environments to facilitate access to the United States," the assessment also stated.
DHS has requested additional financial support, including a significant $14 billion supplementary appeal to Congress, and has pressed Republicans to enact reforms on immigration law. However, Republicans attribute the unprecedented surge in migrants at the border to current administrative policies. Mirroring actions in San Diego, they have urged the administration to enforce stricter controls on U.S. entry permissions.
"Let’s stop the border, shut it down, make a reset and make sure we only process and allow people in we can manage and not overwhelm the cities and our communities like we’re doing right now," Desmond said.
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