Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, January 16, 2019
Ranchers and farmers near the U.S.-Mexico border have been finding prayer rugs on their properties in recent months, according to one rancher who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by cartels who move the individuals.
“There’s a lot of people coming in not just from Mexico,” the rancher said. “People, the general public, just don’t get the terrorist threats of that. That’s what’s really scary. You don’t know what’s coming across. We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal. It’s not just Mexican nationals that are coming across.”
Her comments were part of a larger conversation about how many in the region believe migrants are coming to the U.S. illegally from all over the world, not just Central America.
In the last 5 days #YumaSector #BorderPatrol has arrested people from 7 countries trying to illegally enter the U.S. #NationalSecurity #SouthwestBorder
— CBP Arizona (@CBPArizona) January 16, 2019
The rancher and six other residents of Animas told Washington Examiner this week that migrants from places other than Mexico and Central America are arriving.
“I’ve talked to several agents that I trust. There’s not a lot that I do trust, but the ones I do trust, I talk to them,” she said during a tour of her property. “What Border Patrol classifies as OTMs [other than Mexicans] has really increased in the last couple years, but drastically within the last six months. Chinese, Germans, Russians, a lot of Middle Easterners, those Czechoslovakians they caught over on our neighbor’s just last summer.”
Government data indicates six known or suspected terrorists were caught trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico from Oct. 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018. However, the Trump administration has stated on several occasions that 3,700 people who were identified as coming from countries with terrorism problems have also been apprehended at that border.
“We’ve talked about the thousands — the thousands of terror watchlist individuals who traveled through our hemisphere last year,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Fox News this month. “To pretend there’s not a danger on an unsecured border, on an open border, is just ridiculous. It belies common sense.”