March 1, 2010
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told senators it is a national security concern that people from countries with ties to terrorism could ‘potentially’ gain entry into the United States by crossing the country’s southern border.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
But according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own reports, thousands of people from 14 “special interest” countries already have come into the United States illegally, including some across the U.S.-Mexico border. (The State Department designates some nations as “special interest” counties because of their links to terrorism.)
Napolitano testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday. Her remarks on “special interest” persons came after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked her about the ongoing violence in Mexico and the possibility of that violence spilling over into the United States.
According to the DHS’s 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Studies, from the Office of Immigration Statistics, a total of 791,568 people where detained by federal law enforcement agencies in fiscal year 2008 – 5,506 of those people were from those 14 “special interest” countries.