Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned Tuesday that the ongoing illegal immigration surge at the US-Mexico border is creating a golden opportunity for terror groups, calling it “another 9/11 in the making.”
“There are 80 countries that they pick people up from,” Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “There are two terrorists from Yemen they caught just a few weeks ago. How easy would it be for an Al Qaeda or ISIS cell to leave Afghanistan and come to the southern border, to blend in with this group?
“The Border Patrol is doing the best they can,” Graham added, “but they told me the likelihood of a terrorist attack coming from our southern border grows by the day.”
Graham visited the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector in Arizona Monday. Ahead of his visit, TownHall.com reported that illegal immigrants in the sector’s lone overflow facility were either being moved to other holding locations, released into the US, or deported to Mexico.
“There were 5,000 people in this facility made for 500 until I came,” Graham said Tuesday. “When I got there, there were still 1,000.”
While it was not clear that the rapid removal was linked to Graham’s visit, a Border Patrol source told the outlet that “there is no way we could have moved people this quickly” before.
“Between October of 2020 and October of this year, 2021, in the Yuma sector alone, there’s been a 1,300 percent increase in illegal crossings,” Graham added. “In all of 2020, 8,000 people were apprehended in the Yuma sector. As of the week I went there, as of a couple days ago, 114,000 people [were apprehended] in the Yuma sector alone. What you see in Texas is moving to Arizona.”
As record-setting numbers of migrants attempt to cross into the US, the Biden administration continues to pull back on enforcement efforts. On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the department would stop roundups of illegal immigrants at their place of work and encourage “prosecutorial discretion” for those who are “victims of, or witnesses to, workplace exploitation.”
That directive came nearly two weeks after Mayorkas ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security” because the government doesn’t have the resources to track down every person who enters the US illegally.
Graham said Tuesday night that Mayorkas’ latest directive “is going to be another incentive for people to come, because the word is out: You come, you claim asylum, you never leave.
“The policy choices of Biden are all over the world now,” the senator added. “We had 40,000 Brazilians come through the Yuma sector alone, headed for Connecticut, wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags. This is not economic migration anymore. People see an open America, they’re taking advantage of us, and it won’t be long before a terrorist gets in this crowd.”