Smuggler's ISIS Connection At Southern Border

Smuggler’s ISIS Connection Sets Off Scramble for Uzbek Migrants in US: Report

While U.S. officials said there is no evidence the asylum seekers were part of a terrorist plot, their smuggler had ties to ISIS | by Dan Morrison | August 29, 2023

Federal investigators scrambled to find more than a dozen asylum applicants from Uzbekistan after learning that they traveled to America using the help of a smuggler with ties to ISIS, CNN reported Tuesday, citing U.S. officials. 

The Uzbeks, who were allowed to cross into Texas earlier this year after seeking asylum on the southern border, are not suspected in any terrorist plot and there is no evidence to justify detaining them, CNN reported.

Still, officials want to “identify and assess” the migrants because of the ISIS connections of their smuggler, National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson told the outlet.

The incident was reported to senior government and Congressional officials and highlights concerns about security on the southern border, CNN said.

“There was no indication—and remains no indication—that any of the individuals facilitated by this network have a connection to a foreign terrorist organization or are engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in the United States,” Watson said. 

The migrants were first vetted by the Department of Homeland Security, but flags were raised later when it was learned that their smuggler—while not an ISIS member—had sympathies for the terrorist army. The smuggler and other members of his network were arrested by Turkish authorities, CNN said.

The U.S. began rounding up and deporting other migrants at the border who “fit the profile associated with individuals who were facilitated by this network,” Watson said.

Officials found that, despite the concerns over their smuggler, most of the migrants had come to the U.S. seeking a better life, CNN reported. 

The State Department’s 2022 human rights report for Uzbekistan says the Central Asian country suffers from abuses including “unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; [and] political prisoners.”

Source: Smuggler’s ISIS Connection Sets Off Scramble for Uzbek Migrants in US: Report – The Messenger

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