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Ernst Blames Biden’s Open Border for Welcoming Terrorists

Demands answers for eight ISIS-linked immigrants who crossed our southern border

WASHINGTON – After reports that eight individuals linked to ISIS crossed the southern border were arrested in New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is demanding more information on this threat from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The letter highlights the potential for a coordinated attack and the recent releases of aliens on the terrorist watchlist into the U.S. as well as Chinese nationals crossing the southern border.

“We write to express our grave concerns regarding reports of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests of eight individuals from Tajikistan suspected to have terror ties to ISIS who crossed the southern border to enter the U.S. in 2023. We are deeply concerned by reports that a wiretap shows that one of the now-arrested individuals was talking about bombs and that the target of the wiretap was previously released by federal authorities at the southern border with a court date of next year. We are further concerned by reports that federal authorities vetting these individuals upon entry into the U.S. did not detect any ties to ISIS at the time and only discovered these ties ‘[l]ater and in recent weeks,’” the senators wrote.

“Moreover, there are skyrocketing U.S. Border Patrol encounters of aliens on the terrorist watchlist as well as a record number of Chinese national encounters at the southern border during the Biden administration. In fiscal years 2017 to 2020 combined, 11 noncitizens on the terrorist watchlist were caught attempting to enter via the Southern border between ports of entry. That number increased to 15 in FY 2021, 98 in FY 2022, 169 in FY 2023, and 80 in FY 2024 as of May 15,” the senators continued.

On behalf of Americans’ safety and security, the senators are demanding answers to a number of questions, including whether these arrested individuals claimed asylum when they entered the U.S., what the vetting process was when they entered, and whether they possessed weapons, explosives, or other items that could be used to plan or conduct a terrorist attack.

Read the full letter here.


Following reports that the Biden administration was planning to welcome Gazan refugees into the United States, Ernst led 34 of her colleagues in demanding the president stop his plan, citing concerns of potential terrorist ties, and instead focus his efforts on returning Americans held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. She then questioned the administration on how this plan posed a threat to Americans.

To protect Iowans from Biden’s border disaster, Ernst is leading Sarah’s Law to ensure any illegal immigrant who kills or harms an American is held accountable.

She has also been calling on President Biden to put taxpayer-funded border wall materials to use for well over a year. She led the BUILD IT Act and was an original cosponsor of the FINISH IT Act, which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024.