(CNSNews.com) – In his testimony before a House committee hearing on Wednesday on overtime payment abuses at the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said the northern border represents the greatest threat from terrorists trying to enter the United States.
“As far as I am aware, all recent threat assessments have pointed to the Northern Border as the most likely point of entry into our country for terrorists,” said Judd.
Judd said he supports efforts by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security to reform the law that governs Authorized Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) policy at DHS but used his prepared testimony to warn about border security at the U.S. border with Canada.
“For the most part, when discussions on border security arise, the conversation tends to focus on the Southwest border,” Judd said in his prepared remarks. “In no way do I want to detract from the importance of securing the Southwest Border, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ongoing threat of the nearly unguarded Northern border to the safety of the American public.
“As far as I am aware, all recent threat assessments have pointed to the Northern Border as the most likely point of entry into our country for terrorists,” Judd said. “I also need to remind the committee of our recent history.
“In the early to mid-1990s, San Diego and El Paso were ground zero for both illegal immigration and drug smuggling,” Judd said. “In response, the Border Patrol threw all of its resources at those two areas without also strengthening the other areas of the border.”
He said the same mindset at that time that Arizona’s harsh environment would limit illegal traffic across the state – since proven wrong – is now the conventional thinking about the northern border.
“We now have a similar thought process in that we don’t believe illegal smuggling – whether it be drugs or aliens – will ever move to our Northern border, because it is cost prohibitive,” Judd said. “Like Arizona, the Northern Border is ripe for the exploitation of not only alien and drug trafficking, but also for facilitating the illegal entrances of terrorists and those that would do this country harm.
“If we selectively limit manpower to current locations with high volumes of illegal crossings, all we have really achieved is shifting the point of illegal entry to a different location,” Judd said.
As CNSNews.com reported earlier, at a 2011 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refuges and Border Security then-CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin testified about the northern border threat.
“In terms of the terrorist threat, it’s commonly accepted that the more significant threat” comes from the U.S.-Canada border, Bersin told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.
In June 2012, DHS released its “Northern Border Strategy” report that included an explanation of the terrorist threat.
“A variety of common threats affect our unique northern land, air, and maritime borders,” the report stated. “The high volume of commerce and travel between the United States and Canada creates opportunities for criminals to conceal their cross-border activity.
“The potential for terrorists or violent extremists to attempt an attack or gain entry across the land, air or maritime borders poses the single greatest security threat along the border,” the report stated.
The 2012-2016 “Border Patrol Strategic Plan” discusses strategies for protecting the United States from terrorists and terrorism at all its borders, but does not specify the threat as it relates to the northern border.