Surprise! Radical Islamist smuggled across US-Mexico border

Almost seven years ago, the 9/11 Commission warned Congress about the security risk the nation runs against terrorist infiltration over the US-Mexico border (as wel as the US-Canadian border).  Specifically, they recommended heightened security along both borders to ensure that terrorists could not cross over from either Canada or Mexico undetected, and that “[i]t is elemental to border security to know who is coming into the country” [page 407].  Since then, conservatives have demanded border security and immigration enforcement as part of a rational national-security strategy.  Opponents to this approach argue that conservatives blow this out of proportion, that there is no evidence of such infiltration, and the argument only serves to feed xenophobia.

This puts a dent in that argument:

U.S. border authorities have arrested a controversial Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia three years ago and was caught earlier this month trying to sneak into California inside the trunk of a BMW, according to court documents.

Said Jaziri, the former Imam of a Muslim congregation in Montreal, was hidden inside a car driven by a San Diego-area man who was pulled over by U.S. Border Patrol agents near an Indian casino east of San Diego. Jaziri allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling group $5,000 to get him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a “safe place anywhere in the U.S.”

The arrest marks the unexpected resurfacing of the 43-year-old cleric, whose protracted legal battle to avoid deportation drew headlines in Canada. A Tunisian immigrant, Jaziri was deported for failing to disclose a criminal conviction in France while applying for refugee status in the mid-1990s.

But Jaziri’s supporters said he was targeted for his fundamentalist views: Jaziri backed Sharia law for Canadian Muslims and led protests over the publication of the prophet Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006.

Canada deported Jaziri in 2007 after they discovered that he lied in a refugee application about his criminal record in France.  David Knowles gives a quick FAQ about Jaziri, and also has this 2007 report from the CBC on Jaziri’s expulsion from Canada:

So he lied about his criminal record to get into Canada so that he could proselytize for radical Islam, and now he attempted to smuggle himself into the US. We did manage to catch him on this attempt, but at the moment, Jaziri is only being held as a material witness and on $25,000 bail. It won’t take much to spring him, and if he is released, it will take a lot more effort to kick him back out.

How many more Jaziris cross the border successfully?  According to this report, via Katie Pavlich, perhaps more than we know:

A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, “In Memory of Our Martyrs,” was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, “The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments.” Each biographical page contains “the terrorist’s name, date of death, and how they died.”

But we should focus our efforts on suing Arizona for attempting to enforce immigration law rather than securing the border so it won’t be necessary.