New York counterterrorism, police and fire officials were questioned at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan Tuesday about whether the approximately 110,000 migrants who have arrived in the Big Apple from the southern border complicate security posture 22 years after the 2001 terror attacks.
During the House Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology field hearing, Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., argued that “nearly every single one” of those 110,000 migrants who have arrived in New York City have come through a legal port of entry and have been vetted, arguing, “that’s part of the reason why there has been so little criminal activity” stemming from those so-called asylum seekers.
Yet, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., noting how the Department of Homeland Security was created post-9/11, countered that claim, stating dozens of individuals in the New York City shelter system created by Mayor Eric Adams to house migrants “have been arrested and released back onto our streets.”
During a line of questioning from Malliotakis, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner testified that the New York City Police Department relies on federal partners to vet migrants, noting recent reports of the FBI uncovering an international human smuggling group linked to ISIS having helped Uzbek nationals cross the border to claim asylum in the United States.
“And so that vetting and that intelligence and those partnerships that we have come rely on in terms of our ability to investigate threats have allowed us working collaboratively with our joint terrorism task force officers, NYPD officers assigned to the task force,” Weiner said, before Malliotakis interjected.
“You mentioned the federal partners that investigated the human smuggling network as it relates to ISIS. The FBI reported that those individuals are already in the country, so they were able to somehow get in despite this great vetting process that my colleague says exists,” Malliotakis said.
“But aside from that, I’m concerned about the 1.6 million getaways that have had zero interaction that are in our country. We don’t know who they are. We don’t know where they are,” she continued. “That’s my greatest concern. We caught 250 individuals over the last fiscal year and last fiscal year at the border. That’s great. But what about the 1.6 million?”
Weiner also testified that while the NYPD cooperates “extensively” with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection in regard to criminal enforcement, she admitted New York City’s sanctuary policies do prevent the NYPD from cooperating with federal agencies on civil detainer requests.
Two more witnesses, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie and Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder, both answered that they considered the 1.6 million got-a-aways a concern in regard to potential threats for New York City.
“As we deal with this humanitarian crisis, we need to get our arms around that. What’s going on at the border and these folks coming into the country,” Ehrie said.
“The Department of Homeland Security was created to keep our interior secure. So that’s what we should all be focused on in Congress, is making sure you have the tools and resources. But that the policies of this administration, this Congress, are in place to actually help you do your job, not make it more difficult, because you shouldn’t have to divert all these resources from current threats,” Malliotakis said, concluding her line of questioning. “There’s 1.6 million people in the country. We don’t know who they are, where they are and what they’re planning.”
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