Thursday, September 15, 2016

Breaking it Down: How Many Terrorists Have Entered the U.S. By Illegally Crossing the Border?

By Alex Nowrasteh 
Yesterday, Cato published my policy analysis entitled “Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis” where I, among other things, attempt to quantify the terrorist threat from immigrants by visa category. 
One of the best questions I received about it came from Daniel Griswold, the Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Program on the American Economy and Globalization at the Mercatus Center. Full disclosure: Dan used to run Cato’s immigration and trade department and he’s been a mentor to me. Dan asked me how many of the ten illegal immigrant terrorists I identified crossed the Mexican border?
I didn’t have a good answer for Dan yesterday but now I do. 
Of the ten terrorists who entered the country illegally, three did so across the border with Mexico. Shain Duka, Britan Duka, and Eljvir Duka are ethnic Albanians from Macedonia who illegally crossed the border with Mexico as children with their parents in 1984. They were three conspirators in the incompetently planned Fort Dix plot that was foiled by the FBI in 2007, long after they became adults. They became terrorists at some point after immigrating here illegally. Nobody was killed in their failed attack.
Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, Ahmed Ressam, and Ahmed Ajaj entered illegally or tried to do so along the Canadian border. Ajaj participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, so I counted him as responsible for one murder in a terrorist attack. Abdel Hakim Tizegha and Abdelghani Meskini both entered illegally as stowaways on a ship from Algeria. Shahawar Matin Siraj and Patrick Abraham entered as illegal immigrants but it’s unclear where or how they did so.
Based on this history, it’s fair to say that the risk of terrorists crossing the Southwest border illegally is minuscule.
The above originally appeared at Cato at Liberty.


  1. Robert, even Trump doesn't frame immigration strictly as a terrorist problem (he reserves that for Muslims). Witness his ongoing linking of illegal immigration with crime (the stats back him). Further, it is only a part of what motivates the Alt-Right. Of far bigger import is the number of those who come to America, legal or illegal, who wish to maintain their Latino (or whatever) identity instead of adopting an American one. 99% might like the opportunity America gives them, but will keep their cultural identity and vote (and do everything else) to make America look like the country they left.

    You buy the immigrant thing because you're a globalist or believe in the Magic Dirt theory of immigration that merely transporting foreigners to America transforms them into liberty and freedom loving Americans (and thus makes you a useful idiot to the globalists). It was already irresponsible to believe this in the 1960s. Today, it's insane. Since San Francisco is already insane, you're in good company.

    And since when do you look to Cato for guidance?

  2. Some of the alleged 9/11 terrorists were granted Visas under what some say were nefarious circumstances (see: ). So these terrorists crossed borders legally.

    Immigration whether legal or illegal is another issue the gunvernment has failed at.

    1. As Robert as written in the past, immigration is another central planning scheme.