Middle Eastern Migrants Flooding Across Border and Into America From Mexico, a Story That the Times Dismisses but NPR and VOA Confirm
Voters could be tired of having their concerns about the border dismissed as racist or xenophobic.
After the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, the New York Times published a news article dismissing as racist, partisan nonsense the idea that hostile Middle Easterners could infiltrate the United States through the southern border.
“Republicans Use Israel Attack to Stoke Fears About U.S.-Mexico Border,” the Times online summary of the article reads. It complained that “the far-right corners of conservative media” were amplifying “xenophobic fears.”
The Times news article reported, “Attempts by politicians to link Mideast terror groups and Mexican criminal organizations have at times gained traction over the past two decades, but no substantial evidence has surfaced to support the claim, counterterrorism and insurgency experts said. The two kinds of groups have vastly different objectives and operate in cultural and economic borderland regions that do not share remotely similar dynamics.”
“Historians and political analysts warned that much of the heated language on immigration plays into far right and sometimes explicitly racist tropes that fuel fear,” the Times rumbled. It said that “Although experts do not completely rule out the threat of a terror attack launched from the southern border, they described it as unlikely.”
I remembered the New York Times language about “the far-right corners of conservative media” this week when I listened to a piece from National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” The NPR piece, headlined “A record number of asylum seekers are cycling through a small California border town,” reported from “an open-air” Department of Homeland Security camp in Jacumba, California, near the U.S.-Mexico border, with more than 300 migrants. The NPR reporter says, “Most people in this camp this morning are Kurdish.” She reports, “They’re from Turkey.”
A Voice of America dispatch from April 2022 from Agri, Turkey, reported that “Increasing numbers of men are paying smugglers to take them to the United States.” And that “The smugglers have moved into the mountain villages from the province of Agri on the Iranian border.”
The VOA report continues: “There are no official numbers, but it’s estimated that tens of thousands have left Agri in recent years for the U.S. and Canada.” One person interviewed for the piece said, “Almost all of the young people are gone. From Agri, around 100 or 150 people go every day.”
The VOA report says, “Smugglers typically charge around $15,000, residents told VOA. This buys migrants a bus ticket to Ankara or Istanbul and a flight to Mexico. They cross the border into the U.S., where most are detained as they await asylum claims. The Kurdish migrants frequently cite persecution in Turkey. The smugglers also offer to arrange migration lawyers in the U.S., at a cost of $300, residents said.”
Doubtless most of the Kurds are seeking freedom and economic opportunity and will be positive contributors to America. Yet Agri, Turkey, is just an hour-and-a-half drive from Barzagan, Iran. I’ve met plenty of pro-Israel and pro-American Kurds, but the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, is also designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.
Legal immigration is key to American dynamism and economic growth. Turkish and Kurdish or even Iranian asylum seekers deserve the same opportunity as anyone from anywhere else to make a case to American authorities that they deserve refuge here. Yet any process that involves entering America illegally across the Mexico border doesn’t inspire confidence that American authorities will be able reliably to sort out genuine asylum-seekers from Hezbollah or Hamas sleeper agents.
Anyone who thinks that the Iranian-backed terrorists just want to attack Israel and not America is delusional. In March 2016 the Justice Department announced charges against seven Iranians for cyberattacks against Bank of America, Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange, BB&T, and AT&T. They also hacked into a computer that operated a sluice gate at Bowman Dam in Rye, New York.
In 2023, a man who originally entered America with a Lebanese passport, Alexei Saab, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after receiving training from Hezbollah and, a Justice Department press release said, conducting detailed surveillance on possible targets “including the United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and local airports, tunnels, and bridges.”
Dismissing these concerns as “xenophobic” or “racist” or limited to “the far-right corners of conservative media” might be useful for reassuring New York Times readers. Yet neither NPR nor VOA are “the far-right corners of conservative media.” Neither were the Obama- or Biden-era Justice Departments that pursued the cases against the cyberattackers and against Alexei Saab.
Few of the polite New York Times readers can understand why polls show Donald Trump beating Joe Biden. One reason may be that voters are sincerely concerned about thousands of Middle Easterners from near the Iranian border illegally entering America via Mexico. These same voters could well be tired of having those concerns being dismissed as racist or xenophobic.