June 28, 2024 | The New York Post

Post-Biden, We Must Secure the Border to Address the Looming National-Security Threat

June 28, 2024 | The New York Post

Post-Biden, We Must Secure the Border to Address the Looming National-Security Threat

Just two days after news broke that 50 ISIS-linked illegal migrants were on the loose somewhere in the United States, President Biden dismissed the threat of terrorists entering our country through the southern border during his debate with Donald Trump.

Whether it was an intentional deception or merely another example of mental decay, the facts are clear: Our enemies now walk among us, and Biden’s open-border policy constitutes one of the gravest national-security threats we face.

Eight Tajik nationals were arrested in June for ISIS-K ties.

They had crossed into our country illegally and were initially allowed to stay under Biden’s policies.

This week we learned 400 others illegally entered with an ISIS-linked facilitator.

Last month, a Jordanian national who crossed illegally tried to access Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Terrorists are definitely crossing our southern border.

Border Patrol agents have captured 362 individuals on the terror watchlist since 2021, compared to just 11 over the previous four years.

Consider that number within the context of 3 million illegal immigrants Biden has allowed into the country with minimal vetting, plus another 2 million “known gotaways” — migrants spotted but not caught — who have evaded apprehension at the border.

ISIS terrorism is not the only threat we face.

China, Russia and Iran are converging in the Western Hemisphere, and their nationals are crossing the border — an imminent national-security threat that can no longer be ignored.

The Biden administration’s policy failures in Latin America provide ample opportunities for our adversaries to gain advantage.

Condoning Mexico’s relapse toward one-party rule and deepening insecurity is handing the cartels greater power, as Chinese fentanyl suppliers inflict overdose mass casualties on our citizens via Mexico and the Chinese Communist Party exploits the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement to its advantage.

Beijing has expanded its military relationships with Havana and Caracas, even building an intelligence base in Cuba.

More than 20 Latin American countries have now signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and the CCP is building a massive port in Peru.

And Russia’s recent deployment of a nuclear submarine to Cuba reminded Americans of the dangers of Moscow’s military support to anti-American regimes on our doorstep.

Hezbollah’s base of operations in the Tri-Border Area — where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet — continues to grow.

Combined with Venezuela’s deep ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the longstanding partnership between Hezbollah and the Mexican cartels leaves the homeland vulnerable.

These developments scream out for a Western Hemisphere strategy that boxes out US adversaries.

Today, there is no such strategy.

Latin American policy under Biden is adrift, leaving a vacuum for China, Russia and Iran to fill — not to mention ISIS terrorists.

After ending Biden-era policies, we should also use our influence and economic leverage in Central and South America to cut off the flow of migrants north, giving partners in places like Mexico and Panama the resources and tools they need to process and deport migrants before they reach our border.

Regional partners who fail to cooperate in good faith would risk their access to continued US economic and security assistance.

As our state adversaries expand their military footprints in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, we should modernize the Monroe Doctrine to prevent a 21st-century Cuban Missile Crisis.

Sanctions and law-enforcement tools can squeeze their illicit networks and logistics hubs, while ending the Pentagon’s perennial neglect of US Southern Command would enhance US presence in the region.

We must also take on the drug cartels and other criminal groups everywhere they operate.

The chaos and violence they sow create opportunities for China, Russia and Iran to expand their influence and threaten the homeland.

The US military and law-enforcement agencies must train, equip and support partner forces to degrade the cartels in a sustained way that delivers results, not photo ops.

Cutting off the flow of Chinese fentanyl precursors to the cartels with military assets and cooperation with Mexico must also be a top priority.

Finally, the United States must reclaim its economic leadership in Latin America after four years of unserious Biden economic initiatives.

We can do that with a strategy that offers competitive alternatives to Chinese investment, improves existing trade agreements as Trump did with the USMCA and develops the conditions for more American investment that creates jobs at home.

Thursday’s debate revealed an incumbent president completely disconnected from the reality of the border threat he created.

Washington needs to get control of the southern border and develop a coherent Western Hemisphere strategy.

Either by policy or incapacity, it’s clear President Biden will not.

Richard Goldberg, a former National Security Council official, is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Connor Pfeiffer is director of congressional relations at FDD Action and a senior adviser at the Forum for American Leadership.

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