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Why won’t the Homeland Security secretary say if DHS funded a terrorist’s travel to Minnesota?

OpinionWhy won’t the Homeland Security secretary say if DHS funded a terrorist’s travel to Minnesota?

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Is your money funding the transportation of foreign terrorists to Minnesota? Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas won’t answer that question.  

In January, reporting revealed that DHS allowed a known terrorist to roam freely throughout the country for almost a year before being arrested in Minnesota after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released him into the United States at our southern border.

This case raised fundamental questions about the Biden administration’s potential use of taxpayer money to transport illegal aliens who pose a threat to national security into communities across the United States. 

alejandro mayorkas

DHS, led by Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, has failed to produce a single document in response to a basic FOIA request.

The American people deserve to know if DHS spent taxpayer dollars to transport a known terrorist across the country – but President Biden’s DHS has refused to answer simple questions about the situation for months. 

TOP SENATE REPUBLICANS DEMAND ANSWERS FROM MAYORKAS AFTER SUSPECTED ISIS TERRORISTS RELEASED INTO US AT BORDER

Here’s what we do know, despite stonewalling from Mayorkas: DHS encountered a Somali man at the southern border on March 13, 2023. According to the current administration’s practice, he was promptly released into the United States and somehow made his way to Minnesota. 

On Jan. 18, 2024, after the individual had been in the country for more than 10 months, he was deemed “a confirmed member of al-Shabaab,” a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization in Somalia. He was finally arrested two days later in Minneapolis.

In early February, members of Minnesota’s Republican congressional delegation sent a letter directly to Mayorkas seeking answers on how exactly Biden’s DHS allowed a terrorist to enter and remain in the homeland for almost a year. To date, it has gone unanswered. 

How was a terrorist who entered the United States as an illegal immigrant able to get to Minnesota, and how was he able to support himself while there?

MAYORKAS FORCED TO ADMIT MORE MIGRANTS HAVE CROSSED US BORDER UNDER BIDEN THAN TRUMP: ‘SEVERAL MILLION PEOPLE’

According to research published in March by The Heritage Foundation, he may well have been provided a plane ticket and other support by the American taxpayer.

Since 2021, the Biden administration has been using a program called the Emergency Food and Shelter Program-Humanitarian (EFSP-H) to provide long-range transportation, legal services and more to illegal aliens encountered at the southern border. 

The money is appropriated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which, in turn, hands it over to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide for illegal aliens. These NGOs have received billions of taxpayer dollars since Biden took office – exploiting our open border to fill their own coffers. 

The only clear eligibility requirement for illegal aliens to benefit from the government’s program is that they were encountered and released by DHS at the southern border – meaning that the Somali terrorist arrested in Minnesota was likely eligible. 

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According to Heritage’s estimate, as many as two million illegal aliens, some undoubtedly dangerous criminals, may have gained access to long-range transportation through Biden’s EFSP-H program.

The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project submitted a FOIA request for records of travel expenses incurred by the program. Such documentation is required by law. 

FEMA, however, responded to the FOIA request by claiming that it was not responsible for holding those documents and did not have any – implying that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars going toward plane tickets and more for illegal aliens, like that Somali terrorist, were not even being monitored by DHS. 

Still seeking answers, members of Minnesota’s Republican congressional delegation again sent a letter to Mayorkas in early April. They hoped the secretary would provide clarity on whether DHS had evidence on how the terrorist traveled to Minnesota, as well as whether an NGO aided in that travel, and if that NGO received federal funding.

That letter was dated April 2, with a request for response by April 17. It has also gone unanswered.

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Not only has the Biden administration failed to answer basic questions about the EFSP-H program, but they’ve also doubled-down by creating the Shelter and Services Program (SSP), which will replace EFSP-H and “facilitate more effective support of CBP efforts to efficiently process and humanely treat noncitizens.” In their proposed budget for fiscal year 2025, DHS requested an additional $1.4 billion for the SSP.

Taxpayer dollars have gone to supporting unvetted illegal aliens and transporting as many as two million of them across the country. Among them may have been a known terrorist. 

DHS failed to produce a single document in response to a basic FOIA request. They have flatly ignored two letters from Congress. And they expect more of your money – without oversight.

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DHS’ abuse of taxpayer dollars while failing to protect the homeland from known terrorists cannot stand. Congress can and must use the power of the purse to defund the SSP and stop hardworking Americans from being forced to foot the bill for President Biden’s unprecedented crisis at our southern border.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration owes it to the American people to provide answers on the dangers it has welcomed to the country.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM LORA RIES

Lora Ries is the director of The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center.

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