The number of illegal crossings at the U.S. Southern border has gone up significantly in 2018, mostly because of an increase in migrants from Central America. However, another spike in border crossings has received much less attention. According to a Breitbart report from U.S. Border Patrol agents, there have been 191 Bangladeshi nationals caught illegally crossing the border since October 2017. That is already more than the 181 caught in the entire previous year. And it is significant because Bangladesh is known for terrorist activity, even prompting a travel advisory from the British government last year.
Critics blame U.S. asylum policy for the increase in crossings from far-off countries. "The smuggling organizations know that if they can get their customers to U.S. soil, they can say the magic words of 'asylum' or 'credible fear of return' and under current U.S. policy the chances are very great that they're going to be allowed into the country," says Jessica Vaughan, policy analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies. "This is something that is motivating people to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to get here, because they know they will be released into the country."
The financial boon for smugglers combined with the loopholes in U.S. policy have created a dangerous situation, especially in Texas. "Studies by the Texas Department of Public Safety have shown examples of smugglers who knew they were bringing in terrorists, and they don't care as long as they pay their way," says Vaughan.
Vaughan tells KTRH she hopes this serves as a wake-up call for U.S. leaders to change policy. "We now have groups of people coming from countries like Bangladesh or Somalia, or other places in the world where terrorism is a problem," she says. "This needs to be shut down as quickly as possible, because it is a very real national security threat."