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Ernst Sounds the Alarm: Terrorists May Once Again Try Entering Open Southern Border

WASHINGTON— One year after the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, and days after the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is seeking information from Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas on how DHS plans to secure the Southern border against potential terrorist infiltration.

In a letter to Secretary Mayorkas, Ernst and her colleagues write: “The most devastating event would be an organized terrorist attack, originating from Afghanistan, against our homeland via our southern border … We are tremendously exposed, as the unrelenting surge of illegal immigration on our southern border is tying up resources, and taking our eye off the ball when it comes to terrorism, drugs, and crime. The Border Patrol union and others have raised concern regarding the diversion and misuse of resources at the border. We must not ignore their concerns.”

Ernst notes in the letter:

  • Terrorist groups that have already found a foothold in Central and South America, including in the Tri-Border area and elsewhere, now have an opportunity to enter the United States by way of Mexico.
  • In the past nine months, the Border Patrol has apprehended at least 56 individuals who were on the Terrorist Screening Database.
  • Given the unprecedented number of “got-aways” – 500,000 that we know about since last October – it is a near certainty that other individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database have entered the United States undetected, via our open southern border.

Read the full letter text here.


Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, Ernst, a combat veteran, introduced the Preventing Terrorism from Hitting America’s Streets Act which would require our military, intelligence, and homeland security officials to analyze and explain to Congress what kind of illicit activities are being carried out at our Southern border by terrorist groups and our adversaries around the globe.