When chaos reigns supreme in a nation that shares an almost two-thousand mile border with the United States, and that border is not protected to the extent it should be, undesirable elements sneaking their way from Mexico into the U.S. becomes the rule instead of the exception. We have all been made aware of the drug shipments that come into the U.S. through the porous and undermanned Mexican border, and we all know of the steady stream of Mexicans that for decades have snuck through looking for a better life in the U.S. for themselves and their families back in Mexico. However, it is next to impossible to tell who else comes across the U.S./Mexico border until they are apprehended, or worse.
On January 11, U.S. Border Patrol agents pulled over a BMW near the Golden Acorn Casino, 50 miles east of San Diego, California. The vehicle was driven by Kenneth R. Lawler. Border Patrol agents found Lawler had tucked away in the trunk of his car a souvenir of sorts from Mexico: a radical Muslim cleric by the name of Said Jaziri.
Lawler was arrested and is being held on charges of alien smuggling, while Jaziri is being held for illegally entering the country as well as being a material witness to the crime.
The capture of Jaziri reopens the book on this radical Muslim cleric who fought his eventual deportation from Canada in 2007, when he applied for refugee status but failed to disclose a criminal conviction in France during the 1990s. While in Quebec, he advocated for Sharia law in Canada while demanding the government fund the construction of a $20-million mosque. He organized and led protests in Canada against the Danish cartoons that depicted Mohammad, and boasted of converting one Canadian woman a week to Islam while proclaiming homosexuality to be a disease.
During his deportation hearings, the Tunisian native argued he would be tortured back home if deported, yet he found a way to survive in Tunisia after he was sent back there. It took him a few years to make his way back to North America on a journey that took him from Africa to Europe, and then to Central America and Mexico, where he paid Tijuana smugglers $5,000 to sneak him across the border.
Like so many other immigrants that make their way across our southern frontier, Jaziri took advantage of the huge holes that currently exist at the border. The difference, however, is that Jaziri is a radical Muslim extremist and not the typical immigrant looking for a better life in America. If it were not for the watchful eyes of firefighters who witnessed Jaziri get into the trunk of the car and alerted the Border Patrol, he most likely would still be wandering free in this country.
The 9/11 Commission Report warned of terrorists entering the U.S. clandestinely through the Mexican border as well as the Canadian border, and called for heightened border security to combat that threat. But efforts by conservatives to secure our borders have been met with much resistance, with opponents calling the threats overblown and in many cases racist. To put that warning into context: just recently an Iranian book celebrating suicide bombers was found in the Arizona desert by Border Patrol agents patrolling known smuggling routes near the Mexican border.
For years now, there has been an increase in OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) penetrating our border to the south, with sizable increases happening every year. FBI director Robert Mueller warned of this during his testimony to the House Appropriations Committee back in 2005:
There are individuals from countries with known al-Qaeda connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish, and pretending to be Hispanic.
The Mexican government is struggling to survive the chaos and anarchy that is sweeping the nation because of vast corruption and the drug cartels. The government has no interest in curbing the flow of illegal immigration north, since remittances from Mexicans in the U.S. to their family members back home total $25 billion a year and account for 3% of Mexico’s GDP. Neither do they have the time nor the resources to make any effective effort to control who is crossing their border with the U.S., which makes it a prime area for terrorists looking to enter this country unnoticed.
We have to congratulate the dedicated men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol for capturing Said Jaziri. But considering the situation in Mexico and our unaddressed border issues, we have to wonder: how many Said Jaziris have made it into the U.S. undetected?