Over 10,000 Illegal Aliens from Terror States Are in America

Press Releases

April 12, 2019

IRLI investigation shows nationals from Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Koreaare being protected from deportation by sanctuary laws

WASHINGTON—In pursuit of its mission to safeguard American citizens from the harmful effects of mass migration, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has found that over 10,000 illegal aliens from countries the United States has designated as state sponsors of terrorism have been ordered removed or have pending final orders of removal, but are currently living in America.

In response to an IRLI Freedom of Information Act request, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided records that showed that as of June 2018, there were over 10,000 non-detained illegal aliens on ICE’s National Docket from Iran, Syria, Sudan, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Iran led the pack with over 6,000 or 61 percent of their citizens with removal orders followed by Syria with 20 percent, Sudan with 18 percent, and North Korea with less than a percent. The Secretary of State has designated these four countries as sponsors of terrorism for repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism.

The United States has classified Iran as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, alleging that Iran provides “a range of support, including financial, training, weapons, and equipment to [terrorist] groups around the world – particularly Hizballah.” The Trump administration has focused on Iran’s activities, including recently officially designating that nation’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

U.S. Intelligence officials and security experts recently testified in Congress about the existence of Iranian terrorist “sleeper cells” operating within the United States, waiting to receive orders to commit acts of terrorism. According to Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, there is mounting evidence that Iran poses a “direct threat to the homeland.“

Thomas Homan, former acting director of ICE, recently commented on the issue, stating, “My biggest concern isn’t how many terrorists have been arrested entering the country illegally, but how many got through? How many did Border Patrol not catch? That’s what Americans should be thinking about.”

State and local law enforcement agencies used to be a force multiplier for ICE when they ran a person’s name through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and learned that the person was wanted on an administrative warrant for removal from the United States, but sanctuary laws prevent law enforcement agencies from detaining and even contacting ICE.

Although sanctuary laws have prevented the apprehension of illegal aliens with removal orders, ICE was still able to remove on average about 44 per year who were known or suspected terrorists in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

“It’s bad enough that America is deluged with illegal aliens from failed states around the world,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It’s simply unacceptable that we also have more than 10,000 aliens here from terrorist states that are sworn enemies of America. We saw on 9/11 the damage that only 19 sleeper cell terrorists could cause. This is just the latest example of the disaster of sanctuary laws, which force ICE agents to operate with one hand tied behind their backs while making our communities inherently more dangerous.”

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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