Conservative media freaks out after Syrian families turn themselves in at TX border crossing
When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement that it had taken eight Syrians into custody, Breitbart and Fox News seemingly declared the end was nigh, trumpeting that Islamic State (IS formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants posing as refugees were “caught” and “arrested” by Customs and Border Protection agents as they were “testing the gates” at the US-Mexico border in Laredo Texas.
Testing the gates? Syrians nabbed south of the border stoke terror fears https://t.co/OPgNEfJz4H— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 19, 2015
“Wanna bet they weren’t women & 3 year olds!” one conservative woman tweeted.
Actually, they kind of were. It turns out that “two men, two women and four children” were taken into custody by CBP agents on Tuesday after they “presented themselves at a port of entry in Laredo,” DHS said in a statement designed to clarify that the eight Syrians weren’t trying to “sneak in.”
The two families were turned over to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further processing; the women and children were transferred to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, while the two men are being held at the South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall.
There was no evidence the Syrians had any connection to terrorism, US government officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Breitbart broke the story Wednesday night, writing that two federal agents connected with CBP told the news outlet that “eight Syrian illegal aliens attempted to enter Texas from Mexico in the Laredo Sector,” and that Laredo Border Patrol agents have “officially” expressed concerns about “Syrians illegally entering the country in the Laredo Sector,” a local president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) said.
“Border Patrol agents who we represent have been contacting our organization to voice concerns about reports from other agents that Syrians crossed the US border from Mexico in the Laredo Sector. Our agents have heard about Syrians being apprehended in the area from other federal agents,” Border Patrol agent and NBPC Local 2455 President Hector Garza told Breitbart Texas.
Garza added that the NBPC “will be issuing an officer safety bulletin advising Border Patrol agents to exercise extra precautions as they patrol the border.”
Obama has created an open border in our nation…and extremists will exploit it. This is just the tip of the iceberg… https://t.co/J6Vv36cpMG— Sheriff Paul Babeu (@PaulBabeuAZ) November 19, 2015
In its reporting, Fox News noted that the detention of the two families, combined with a previous incident on Tuesday, “are raising concerns that Islamic State militants could be probing security – and stoking fears some may already be here.”
Honduran authorities arrested five Syrians on Tuesday that they said were attempting to make their way to the US using stolen or doctored Greek passports. However, they later said that the five men were college students fleeing the violence wrought by IS and the four-year-old civil war in Syria.
“Five Syrian citizens have been detained and will be taken to our offices to be investigated because it is suspected they are carrying false documents, passports stolen in Greece," Honduran police spokesman Anibal Baca told reporters after the men failed to make it past airport security checks near Tegucigalpa.
The men had flown from Syria to Lebanon. From there they flew to Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica before landing in Honduras. Once they arrived in the Central American country, they planned to continue the rest of their journey over land through Guatemala and Mexico and on to the US, Baca told AFP.