Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy criticized a Democratic witness called to testify about terrorist threats at the southern border during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Thursday.
Alex Nowrasteh, vice president for economic and social policy studies at the Cato Institute, testified that the surge in illegal immigration at the southern border doesn’t present an increased terrorist threat, causing Roy to push back against him.
Border Patrol recorded apprehending 149 individuals on the terror watchlist trying to enter the country illegally so far in fiscal year 2023, which is up from 98 in all of fiscal year 2022 and 16 in fiscal year 2021, according to agency data.
“Mr. Nowrasteh, where are those 1.6 million got aways?” Roy asked. “They are most likely at different places in the United States working and living,” Nowrasteh said.
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Roy then asked Nowrasteh who the got aways are. “They are from different countries around the world,’ Nowrasteh said. “You willing to bet my family’s life, your family’s life on the safety in our country irrespective of who these individuals are, when you don’t even know who they are?” Roy asked. Nowrasteh said he would. “Yes, sir. The chance of dying from a foreign born terrorist attack since 1975 is one in 4.4 million per year,” Nowrasteh said.
“Mr. Nowrasteh, I’m sure that is great comfort to the families of the people from 9/11 because when you sit here and testify that zero people have committed a terrorist attack from crossing our border, I’m sure that is comfort to the people who had terrorist attacks committed by people who came here and overstayed their visas,” Roy said.
“The fact of the matter is, when you talk about having an open border and you minimize the open border by saying that people have to pay $5,000 to come here in that open border. You’re ignoring the fact of what that does to human beings, when it is in fact so open that that’s exactly what’s happening. I’m sure that your position is great comfort to the man in Baltimore, who was being held up for ransom for $23,000 so his little girl wouldn’t get raped in a stash house in Fort Worth. Have you talked to that little girl or to that father?” Roy asked.
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Nowrasteh repeatedly asked Roy if the case involved a terrorism nexus. “I’m answering the question and this is the subject matter I wanna talk about in this hearing, Mr. Nowrasteh because you’re the one trying to tell the American people that our border is perfectly fine, that it is perfectly ok, that it is oh, not open because people are paying $5,000 or $10,000 to get here,” Roy said.
“So it is very much relevant that a little girl is getting raped in a stash house because of the policies of you and radical leftists who don’t give a damn about it because it is more politically expedient for you to saddle up to the libertarian Cato Institute or a bunch of radical leftists and talk about oh, how important it is for people to free flow across the borders,” Roy said.
Nowrasteh said the solution is through increasing legal entry processes. “I have talked about the chaos repeatedly, sir. The way to reduce the chaos is through legalization and liberalization, not cracking down more,” Nowrasteh said.
“Which will perpetuate the lawlessness and you know it,” Roy said, to which Nowrasteh replied that it would be the “exact opposite.”
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