The possibility of Islamic State (ISIS) infiltrators into the United States from Mexico is cause for concern in the Texas Department of Public Safety.
During the annual Texas Border Coalition meeting, DPS Director Steven McCraw was asked if there have been any ISIS members arrested on the border.
"Individuals [have] come across the Texas/Mexican border from countries with a known terrorism presence, and the answer to that is yes. We have individuals that we've needed to debrief in Pashto/Dari [tribal languages spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and surrounding countries]. Not a lot of Pashto and Dari speakers around. But you can't think about the last attack; you have to think of the next attack and where our vulnerabilities are. So, we're concerned about that,” McCraw said.
In the past, Texas border security officials have arrested members of Islamist terrorist organizations, including Somalis from Al-Shabab (perpetrators of the horrific Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi) as well as other Somalis who were members of a group with ties to Osama Bin-Laden.
In February, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia released a video threatening Western shopping malls, specifically Mall of America in Minnesota, where a large number of Somali immigrants reside.
Texas authorities also have arrested members of terrorist groups from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as individuals with ties to terrorists from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Libya and Pakistan.
In April, Judicial Watch reported that ISIS was operating a camp in Mexico just miles from El Paso, Texas. The non-profit watchdog group cited sources that included a Mexican army field grade officer and a Mexican federal police inspector.
According to the report, “'Coyotes’ engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed ‘coyotes’ are also smuggling ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas.”
The Juárez Cartel is one of Mexico's leading drug cartels.
The report stated that these particular locations were “targeted for exploitation because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.”