Former President Donald Trump recently made a controversial assertion suggesting that those responsible for violent attacks on Israel were entering the United States through the southern border.
During an October 9 statement on Truth Social, Trump claimed, “The same people that raided Israel are pouring into our once beautiful USA, through our totally open southern border, at record numbers.” He raised concerns about a potential attack on American soil, implicating President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama.
However, Trump’s statement implies that Hamas militants, who conducted attacks in Israel, are entering the U.S. through the Mexican border, although he provided no evidence to support this claim. Repeated requests for evidence from his campaign went unanswered.
Terrorism experts have emphasized the lack of substantiated evidence for this assertion, and a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security has stated that there is no intelligence indicating a threat from Hamas to the United States.
Jason M. Blazakis, director of Middlebury College’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, asserted that there is “no credible evidence of Hamas on the southern border of the United States.”
Hamas is a militant Islamic group formed in Gaza in the 1980s, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 1997. While Trump’s comments might echo similar statements he made during his presidency linking immigrants to terrorism, it is important to clarify that there is no verifiable evidence supporting the notion of Hamas militants infiltrating the U.S. through the southern border.
Contrary to Trump’s claim, the southern border is not “open” for unrestricted entry, and numerous security measures, including physical barriers and surveillance technology, are in place to regulate border access. With approximately 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents, it is misleading to describe the border as “open.”
Additionally, immigration expert David Bier from the libertarian Cato Institute stressed that there is “no truth” to Trump’s allegation about Hamas militants crossing the southern border.
Alex Nowrasteh, the Cato Institute’s vice president for economic and social policy studies, conducted a study of attacks or planned attacks on U.S. soil by foreign-born terrorists from 1975 to 2022. Of the 219 terrorists involved, only four were from Palestine, and the most recent attempted attack was in 1997, with no known association to Hamas. The largest group involved in a U.S. attack originated from Saudi Arabia, including the 9/11 terrorists.
While there is some evidence of Middle Eastern terrorist groups operating in Latin America, experts have not found any proof of Hamas crossing the U.S. southern border. Arie Perliger, a security studies professor, mentioned past collaboration between Hezbollah and Mexican cartels but noted no such connections with Hamas.
Overall, Trump’s claim remains unsupported by credible evidence, and it has been met with skepticism from experts in terrorism and immigration.