To hear Congress tell it, there are hordes of hardened jihadist fighters waiting just over the Mexican border to launch suicide attacks on unsuspecting Americans. Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert has even warned of al Qaeda training camps in Mexico, run in conjunction with drug cartel members. Other Republican figures from Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Rep. Duncan Hunter have raised alarms about ISIL fighters infiltrating the southwestern United States, ready to do battle on America’s streets. “I think it’s a very real possibility that they may have already” crossed the border, Perry told a Washington audience this summer, as he sent Texas National Guard troops to boost border security.
Pennsylvania Republican Lou Barletta said in a hearing this fall, “I don’t know if we’re making the argument here of whether or not we should secure our southern border or not. That’s the feeling I’m getting. There’s been a lot of talk that whether or not any terrorists have crossed the border illegally.”
His GOP colleague, Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, angrily warned about ISIL coming north during a separate hearing this fall: “Wake up, America. With a porous southern border, we have no idea who’s in our country.”