Militants with ISIS are not gathering at the border with Mexico or planning to infiltrate the United States, officials with the Homeland Security Department and FBI said after widespread reports of terrorists trying to enter America.
In the past weeks reports had risen about ISIS members allegedly gathering in border cities in Mexico and planning to cross into the United States to launch terrorist attacks. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) even claimed that some of these members were captured before they could enter the U.S.
“There were actually four individuals trying to cross through the Texas border, who were apprehended at two different stations, that do have ties to known terrorist organizations in the Middle East,” he claimed.
Previously, Texas Sheriff Gary Painter claimed he had evidence of an ISIS infiltration at the U.S.-Mexican border. An August report from the conservative group Judicial Watch also claimed that an ISIS cell was operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez.
“High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued,” the report said. “Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.”
But officials are now pushing back against claims that ISIS is in the United States or trying to cross the border.
“There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIS to attempt to cross the southern border,” Homeland Security officials said in a written statement, using an alternative name for the group now referred to as Islamic State.
Some Democrats believe the reports of ISIS crossing the Mexican border into the United States are a way to paint President Obama as soft on immigration and failing to secure the border.
“There’s a longstanding history in this country of projecting whatever fears we have onto the border,” said Representative Beto O’Rourke, Democrat of Texas, who represents El Paso and other areas near the border. “In the absence of understanding the border, they insert their fears. Before it was Iran and Al Qaeda. Now it’s ISIS. They just reach the conclusion that invasion is imminent, and it never is.”
Franks has even admitted to PolitiFact that his information came from a report circulating on the Internet and has since changed his stance.
While there may not be truth to the reports that ISIS is trying to infiltrate America, law enforcement officials along the Mexican border are reportedly on high alert anyway.