By Mr Bill Collier- ISIS claims it has 71 fighters in the USA distributed in 15 states but names only Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, and California. The two suspected ISIS fighters killed during the attempted Garland, TX attack against a "free speech event" led by Geert Wilders and Pam Geller may be typical of the kinds of attacks planned. But security and terrorism experts are increasingly worried about what they describe as the presently open borders between the USA and Canada and the USA and Mexico. But are allegedly open borders the biggest threat?
Especially worrisome for many who talk about the danger of open borders is the US-Mexican border because of concerns that the Mexican government is not doing enough to screen out potential bad actors who might be transiting through Mexico toward the US. In fact, it is suspected in some circles that the Mexican government is actively encouraging such transit through their country, an allegation strongly denied by the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
The alleged open border crisis is also allowing the transit not only of people but of supplies and possibly weapons. One fear is that radioactive material for a dirty bomb could be smuggled across the border.
But in point of fact the border is not literally "open", Border Patrol continue to man the border and attempt to stop the flow of people, drugs, and contraband from coming, but clearly the border is also not totally closed as the number of illegal crossings continues.
It is not the policy of the US Government to have an open border, but the resource allocation required to effectively and totally control exit and entry has not been obtained by any sitting US President. A natural aversion to militarizing the border may be a factor here, and indeed Mexico hotly protests any moves toward militarization despite the fact that its border in the south with Guatamala is in fact quite militarized.
But even a tightly militarized border is not proof against all efforts to breech- the border between East and West Germany was highly militarized on the East German side and yet it was breeched tens of thousands of times. The US border is much larger and to militarize it to such a degree could take up to 500,000 border guards.
Currently in Saudi Arabia a massive multiple tens of billions of dollars project is underway to create what they claim will be an impervious northern border, complete with armored vehicle patrols, massive walls, trenches, and even mines. The only unanswered question is whether or not the Saudis will be able to muster the 120,000 border guards needed to man this border and whether, without a southern border of equal strength, it would stop terrorist fighters from being smuggled in to the country.
So while there is great concern about an allegedly open border, the truth is that, while the border can potentially be made more secure, it is unlikely that anything less than what the East Germans deployed would truly "close" the border, and even then breeching is not out of the question.
In order to prevent ISIS and other Salafist groups from attacking inside the US homeland it is necessary to identify and openly confront their Salafist ideology, to engage in a sort of citizen-empowered anti-Salafist intelligence campaign meant to identify and track potential bad actors, and to bring the fight directly to the enemy in a manner that undermines the current narrative of their ascension and inevitable victory. While conservative politicians focus on "radical Islam" and fail to narrow down the Salafist ideology behind these groups, liberal politicians tend to downplay the ideological aspect of this struggle. A failure to deal with groups like ISIS on an ideological basis has disallowed the kind of direct counter-action in the public arena needed to make their ideology wholly unappealing to anyone, including Muslims.
While more and more concerns are raised about open borders, and while more could be done to secure the borders, the failure of any politician in the US to truly and narrowly identify and confront the Salafist ideology behind these groups, without impugning all or most Muslims in this effort, would appear to be an even larger threat.