President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that U.S. authorities had “caught 10 terrorists,” citing it as a reason for why the United States should build a wall on its Mexican border, but four government sources said there was no recent evidence of terrorism suspects being caught along the border.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said: “We do not have evidence of known or suspected foreign terrorist organizations trying to infiltrate the southern U.S. border.”
Three national security officials agreed with that view, saying they knew of no recent border-related arrests. The three officials also asked not to be identified.
In a contentious White House meeting on Tuesday with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Trump demanded $5 billion in taxpayer funding for his wall, threatening a federal shutdown if he did not get the money.
“People are pouring into our country, including terrorists,” he said. “We have terrorists. We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. Ten. These are very serious people. Our border agents, all of our law enforcement has been incredible what they’ve done. … We need the wall.”
The president did not say when or where the “terrorists” were caught. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his remarks.
One national security source said U.S. authorities had in recent years captured one terrorism suspect trying to cross into the United States over a land border.
Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said on June 12 at a security forum that her agency identifies and stops terrorists worldwide who would otherwise go undetected.
“In fact, on average, my department now blocks 10 known or suspected terrorists a day from traveling to or attempting to enter the United States,” she said.
Ahead of Nov. 6 congressional elections, Trump and his allies said the United States was under threat from a caravan of migrants moving north mostly from Central America toward the U.S.-Mexico border. He also said, without providing evidence, that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” were mixed in with the caravan, a claim immigration advocates disputed.
Days before the elections, Trump ordered more than 5,000 troops to the border.
Democrats have proposed $1.3 billion in spending on general border security as part of a package that must pass by Dec. 21 to avert a partial shutdown of the federal government.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter Cooney
Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.
Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.
Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.
As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.
Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris
The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.
On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.
Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.
Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN
Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’
Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.
The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.
United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.