When President Donald J. Trump gives his highly-anticipated televised primetime address to the nation on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. (eastern), many law enforcement and intelligence officials believe he will discuss his plan for border security including a newly released congressional report on the subject of illegal immigration by Islamic terrorists and other radicals. (See Trump’s speech below.)
Just before the U.S. House of Representatives Republican members turned over the Speaker’s gavel to the Democratic Party majority, the House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff released its 2018-2019 report which details the threats and dangers posed by radical Islamist terrorists — a/k/a Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) –seeking entry to the United States from a country identified as having links to terrorism.
The SIA report provides recommendations for security measures to prevent these individuals from getting access to the U.S. homeland and exploiting the illicit pathways throughout the Americas.
The security efforts described in the House report are meant to help in preventing future terrorist attacks by closing down ways into America illegally.
According to the the House committee, this latest national security report is the culmination of research by the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel and the Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States.
U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-New York), Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force, joined other members of the Task Force — including House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul — and to publicly release their final report on combating terrorists and foreign fighter travel.
“This task force has devoted six months to examining the dangers of foreign fighter travel and America’s strategy to combat this multifaceted global threat,” said Republican Leader, Rep. Katko.
“We are seeing a surge of foreign fighters from Western Europe and the U.S. These individuals make terrorist groups like ISIS stronger, they pose the threat of bringing their terror skills back home, and they have the capability to radicalize others online from abroad,” Katko added.
The Foreign Fighter Task Force was commissioned in March 2018 by Chairman McCaul, in response to the evolving threat posed by extremists fighting overseas. The six-month review was the most comprehensive, public assessment of U.S. government efforts to counter terrorist travel since the 9/11 Commission’s final report. It included 16 member briefings and site visits, 29 staff briefings, and travel to 6 foreign countries, including Israel, Iraq, Turkey, Germany, Belgium and France.
“The United States lacks a comprehensive plan to address the threat of foreign fighters,” Katko said. “As we move forward to implement the findings of this report, it is critical that we focus on boosting global intelligence measures, producing an updated national strategy, halting the online recruitment of Americans by terrorist groups, and encouraging more efficient information sharing between state, local and federal law enforcement,” he said.
“I commend Congressman Katko for leading the Task Force on this serious homeland security issue, a grave and growing threat from foreign fighters,”said Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas). “Sadly, global efforts have failed to stop the flow of these aspiring jihadists into Syria, and we have already seen ‘returnees’ from the conflict zone come home to America and Europe and plot acts of terror. Even more, those still on the battlefield are radicalizing their peers online and inciting them to launch homegrown attacks. In light of the Task Force’s findings, I urge American leaders to develop a strategy to combat terrorist and foreign fighter travel and eliminate the ISIS threat.”
The report includes the following recommendations:
Authorize the Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program(BITMAP);
Authorize Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Repatriation Authority;
Authorize Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) and DHS’ Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM);
Conduct U.S. Southwest Border, U.S. Maritime Border, and U.S. Port of Entry Threat Analysis;
Increase Support for Transnational Criminal Investigative Units (TCIU);
Increase Interagency Coordination Through a Western Hemisphere Task Force; and
Create Inter-American Information Sharing System.