"Terror-Linked Migrants Crossing Into U.S."

The AP has a long report on Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a Mexican-Lebanese people smuggler:
...A report released by the Sept. 11 commission staff last year examining how terrorists travel the world cited Boughader as the only "human smuggler with suspected links to terrorists" convicted to date in the United States.

But after Boughader was locked up, other smugglers operating in Lebanon, Mexico and the United States continued to help Hezbollah-affiliated migrants in their effort to illicitly enter from Tijuana, a U.S. immigration investigator said in Mexican court documents obtained by the AP.

[The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka tried to get four of their members into California. They were posing as Mexicans and they were bound for Canada.]

An AP investigation found these are just some of the many pipelines in Central and South America, Mexico and Canada that have illegally channeled thousands of people into the United States from so-called "special-interest" countries - those identified by the U.S. government as sponsors or supporters of terrorism.

[...discusses the OTM scandal...]

...Lebanese carpenter Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, smuggled in over the California border, admitted spending part of his time in the United States raising money to send back to his country to support Hezbollah - at least $40,000, according to an FBI affidavit. Kourani, court records said, told the FBI that his brother is the group's chief of military security in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah is widely admired as a resistance force...

...At least one al-Qaida-linked man smuggled himself over the border. Nabil al-Marabh, a now-deported Syrian citizen once No. 27 on the FBI's list of terror suspects and accused by Canadian authorities of having connections to Osama bin Laden's network, was caught sneaking from Canada into New York in the back of a tractor-trailer in June 2001 with a fake Canadian passport...

[...Admiral Loy's testimony...]

...[Smugglers] have moved people by plane - into suburban Washington, D.C., Florida, California. And they have crossed clients in vehicles or on foot into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and over the Canadian border, then helped deliver them to destinations across America.

...Other people-couriers use altered passports to fly clients to the United States. One of them, convicted smuggler Mohammed Hussein Assadi, schooled his Iraqi customers to carry nothing identifying them as Arab while traveling...

...Boughader's clients told U.S. and Mexican investigators they paid thousands of dollars to obtain fraudulent visas from Mexico's consular office in Beirut. A woman who oversaw the office between 1998 and 2001 was arrested on charges of participating in the smuggling scheme.

In May, the former director of immigration in Honduras was arrested, accused of selling hundreds of Honduran passports to migrants from Lebanon, China, Cuba and Colombia - possibly to aid their entry into the United States. The investigation continues...

...Maximiano Ramos, a former Los Angeles supervisor with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, admitted taking $12,500 to smuggle immigrants from the Philippines...

...Linda Sesi, an assistant ombudsman for the city of Detroit, is awaiting trial on charges of conspiring with four others to smuggle more than 200 migrants from Iraq, Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries into the United States from 2001 up until her arrest last September... [She flew] them to Dulles airport outside Washington, D.C. [see "Three Michiganians charged with smuggling Middle Easterners to U.S." where she's named as Basima Sesi --LW]

...Intelligence suggests that since 1999 human smugglers have facilitated the travel of terrorists associated with more than a dozen extremist groups, according to the Sept. 11 commission's terrorist travel report [former Sept. 11 commission counsel, Janice Kephart] helped write. Prior to Sept. 11, al-Qaida employed smugglers to get jihad recruits into Afghanistan for training, the report said.

Terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, "use human smugglers and document forgers to a great extent," Kephart said. "They know their value. It only makes sense that they would transfer that to infiltrate the United States."

...Following Boughader's arrest, smuggling of Lebanese through Tijuana ceased for several months, ICE investigator Ramon Romo said in court documents filed in Mexico. Then some Lebanese men were apprehended at the Tijuana airport and another by the U.S. Border Patrol, and in April 2003 intelligence revealed that five members of Hezbollah were preparing to cross the border, Romo stated...

...Boughader acknowledged transporting a Lebanese man who worked at al-Manar, a global satellite television network owned and operated by Hezbollah. The U.S. State Department added al-Manar to its Terror Exclusion List in 2004, meaning anyone associated with the station may be refused entry or deported from the United States...
Note that the S.F. Chronical's version is entitled "Pipelines Send Illegal Immigrants to U.S." and they also omitted the first couple paragraphs for some reason.


I blogged about this story too http://onecornerma.blogspot.com/2005/07/pipelines-in-mexico-send-terrorists-to.html
While I was horrified when I read this, I was not surprised. Our border is too pourous, it was only a matter of time. I can't understand why the Bush administration isn't doing anything about the border.

This shows how derelict the government is in failing to control the influx of foreign criminals; national security is treated as inconsequential in comparison to appeasing Mexican demands.