90 Miles From Tyranny : What's at Stake when Bangladeshis Arrive at the U.S. Southwest Border, in a Migrant Caravan or Not

Monday, November 5, 2018

What's at Stake when Bangladeshis Arrive at the U.S. Southwest Border, in a Migrant Caravan or Not

These Bangladeshi ISIS members were arrested in Singapore for planning to carry out bomb attacks
Out of President Donald Trump's suggestion that "unknown Middle Easterners" might be traveling with the Honduran migrant caravans came disclosures about other nationalities who were traveling either with the caravans or on the same U.S.-border-bound routes.

Univision reported that Bangladeshis were spotted moving northward in the migrant caravan alongside Central Americans. Because they hail from South Asia and not from the Middle East, their presence in the column was quickly brushed off as not technically supportive of the president's much-scorned claim that "unknown Middle Easterners" added an extra touch of risk to the migrant caravan.

But Bangladeshis add the same touch of risk all on their own, whether or not they're traveling in a big column or in small, smuggler-led groups. This is because their country is so highly trammeled with ISIS and al-Qaeda sympathizers, brooding members of a radical Islamist party now out of power, homegrown jihadists of various strands, mosques where extremism is preached, and returning foreign terrorist fighters with combat experience in Syria.

In 2010, one of two Bangladeshi migrants traveling together who reached the Mexico-Arizona border admitted to membership in a U.S.-designated terrorist group back home. He was deported while his partner applied for asylum and absconded without ever showing up for the hearing, according to a leaked Texas Department of Public Safety report.

The Muslim-majority country is regarded as so rife with Islamic extremists and violent ideology that its government has mounted a "zero tolerance" campaign to prevent it from becoming a terrorist safe haven, with U.S. backing. Certainly, that's good reason for uninterested Bangladeshis to leave for greener hills, even though the country's economy is booming.

On the other hand, for a receiving country like the United States, there's a serious risk in simply not knowingif hard core Islamist militants might be among the more than 650 Bangladeshis that Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens of the Laredo, Texas, sector told Fox News were apprehended in his area alone during 2017, or another 280 in the first part of 2018. Or any of the ones the Border Patrol rescued on October 30swimming the Rio Grande to Texas.

Remember, too, that terrorism is not just about murdering people, damaging property and sowing fear inside the United States. It is just as illegal and unpalatable to raise money in the United States to fund those activities in a home country.

Terrorism Presence in Bangladesh

Homeland security workers always feel a professional — and moral — obligation to find out who people really are when they're arriving at the Southwest border from countries like Bangladesh. Intelligence types who work, for instance, in the National Counterterrorism Center, Customs and Border Protection Office of Intelligence, the National Targeting Center, and DHS's Intelligence and Analysis want to know first what's going on in the home country, terrorism-wise. And it's not been looking good these days in Bangladesh, according to the U.S. State Department's most recent Country Reports on Terrorism, considering these takeaways from the September 2018 report:Read More HERE

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