Hoeven: As We Stand with Israel, We Must Also Protect Americans Against Terrorist Threats Here at Home by Securing the Border

Senator Outlines Record Number of Illegal Crossings, Calls on Biden Administration to Secure the Border

WASHINGTON – During remarks delivered on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, Senator John Hoeven outlined the threat that Hamas and other Iranian-backed terrorist groups pose to Israel as well as to Americans, both abroad and here at home. The senator:

  • Affirmed the United States’ commitment to the security of its ally Israel as it works to both secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and remove Hamas from power.
  • Outlined a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that a record number of individuals from the terror watch list attempted to cross into the United States in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.
    • This comes in the midst of a humanitarian and security crisis at the nation’s southern border.
    • In September, Customs and Border Protection encountered a monthly record of nearly 270,000 individuals attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.
    • This brings the total illegal crossings for FY2023 to almost 2.5 million, a record high.
  • Once again called on the Biden administration to:
    • Reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or Remain in Mexico Policy, which required people seeking asylum at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their case was adjudicated.
    • Strictly Enforce the Safe Third Country Agreements requiring that those coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala seek asylum there first, otherwise be returned to await the outcome of their claims. 
    • Complete construction of the border wall at the nation’s southern border and put in place the technology, infrastructure and personnel needed to secure the border, utilizing funding Congress has already appropriated.

“As elected members of Congress, our most important obligation is the safety and security of all Americans. Events here at our southern border and across the globe are putting at risk the safety and security of Americans today,” said Hoeven. “We are appalled by the terrorist attacks Hamas committed against Israel. Those attacks did great harm to the people of Israel and also to American citizens, some of whom are being held as hostages. We support Israel’s efforts to secure the release of all of the hostages held by Hamas.

“More broadly, we know that many Americans, including members of our military, our diplomats and many civilians in the Middle East are threatened by violence instigated by Iran… The threats that Americans face are not confined to the Middle East. Our porous southern border opens the door to threats that can emerge here at home, including threats from terrorists, and we need to address them. Instability in the Middle East and other parts of the world makes securing our southern border even more urgent.

“In Fiscal Year 2023, a record number of individuals from the terror watch list attempted to cross into the United States. DHS admits that this is a growing threat. Its most recent Homeland Threat Assessment report found that the Department is seeing annual increases of individuals on the terror watchlist attempting to illegally enter the U.S… Hamas and other violent extremists certainly are aware of this vulnerability.

“As we consider proposals to aid our allies, we must not forget to also secure our own borders. Border security is national security. Meaningful border security provisions should be included as part of our efforts to make Americans safer and more secure. As we stand with Israel, and we must stand with Israel, we must also secure our southern border.”

Hoeven’s full remarks can be found here.