Raoul Lowery Contreras, one of several professional Hispanic apologists that the American media seems obliged to employ, has repeatedly asserted that the influx of illegals across the Mexican border poses no terrorist threat to the U.S.
He was always wrong, but with the recent breakup of a Tijuana illegal alien smuggling ring that specialized in Arabs, and included a former Mexican consul, he looks ridiculous.
Here's the confident Contreras:
"As fifteen of the nineteen September 11th killers were from Saudi Arabia and entered the United States legally through American airports, not illegally from Mexico, why look to Mexico?"
—Raoul Lowery Contreras, Empty Words to an Empty Chamber, Hispanic Vista, Sept. 23rd, 2002.
"Not a single one of the 19-suicide hijackers came from or even through Mexico....Immigrants did not commit September 11th, especially immigrants from Mexico. Nonetheless, Mexican-haters [Contreras-speak for critics of open borders] ....permeate our air with hateful lies that hurt the country far more than those guys slicing bacon, trimming lawns, or picking strawberries."
—Raoul Lowery Contreras, The Haters Wear No Clothes, Hispanic Vista, Dec. 2nd, 2002.
As of tonight, Contreras has not commented on the Tijuana ring.
Ringleader of the smuggling operation was Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a Mexican of Arab ancestry and a Tijuana restaurant owner. His restaurant "La Libanesa" numbered among its customers employees of the local U.S. consulate.
In June of 2003, Boughader was sentenced in the United States to one year and one day for human smuggling. [Smuggling ring boss sentenced to one year, Sandra Dibble, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 20th, 2003.]
But by November 2003, he was back in business in Tijuana and was arrested by Mexican authorities.
Boughader also had accomplices, some still at large. One was arrested on November 12th in Mexico City—Imelda Ortiz Abdala, of Arabic ancestry on her mother's side and formerly the Mexican consul in Lebanon.
According to the AP report (Ex-Mexican consul arrested in connection with trafficking of illegal Arab migrants, Lisa J. Adams, AP, Nov. 13th, 2003):
"Ortiz, a 25-year foreign service employee, was fired in May after 150 Mexican passports were stolen and two others were found to have been issued irregularly at a Mexico City consular office, the Foreign Relations Dept. said.
That passport case, by the way, is completely separate from the Tijuana smuggling case.
What exactly was Ortiz' role in Boughader's smuggling ring? According to El Universal, "it seems [Imelda Ortiz] took advantage of her position to issue documents that permitted the passage of illegal aliens to U.S. territory." [my translation] (Detienen a ex cónsul; internaba árabes a EU, Silvia Otero, El Universal, Nov. 13th, 2003)
Document fraud, in other words, being practiced by a long-serving Mexican diplomat.
It has also been revealed that Imelda Ortiz Abdala was in Beirut, Lebanon, from May of 1998 to October of 2001, serving as the head of Mexico's consular section in Lebanon. [Ex cónsul mexicana, detenida por nexos con un extremista, El Universal, Nov. 14th, 2003]
While serving in Lebanon, Consul Ortiz Abdala issued a Mexican visa to Al Afani Sghir, an alleged Shiite extremist. Apparently, she also met Boughader while serving in Lebanon.
The spin put on this scandal by the Mexican government, of course: We are cooperating with the U.S. in border security and thus are arresting these smugglers.
Yeah, yeah. But how many such smuggling rings are still undiscovered? How many are going on right under the nose of U.S. diplomats? How many other Mexican diplomats are involved?
Hundreds of thousands of people cross the border illegally every year. Besides Mexican crossers, there are what the Border Patrol calls "OTMs" (Other Than Mexicans). There's even a route north of Douglas, Arizona, known as the "Arab Road".
(Arabs are reportedly charged more by smugglers—$30,000, while the going rate for a Mexican is more like $1,150- $1500. Sounds discriminatory to me!)
Earlier this year, in a bizarre incident rife with poetic justice, Walter Kolbe, the brother of Arizona's immigration enthusiast congressman Jim Kolbe found an Arabic diary, left by a border crosser, on his own property! [Arabic diary found near border, Feb. 13th, 2003, World Net Daily]
Last spring there was a joke circulating here in Mexico on the Internet. "Saddam Located in Mexico" the joke's subject line announced. The message: Saddam Hussein had relocated to Mexico where he was employed as a taco vendor. It contained a photo—of a Mexican taco vendor.
And the guy was a dead ringer for Saddam Hussein!
It was considered funny exactly because Saddam's physical appearance does match that of many Mexicans.
Middle Eastern illegal aliens can easily blend in with Mexican illegal aliens. As long as you don't hear them speak, they can get away with it. Which makes it even easier to cross the border.
About half a million Mexicans are of Arab ancestry, mostly Lebanese and Palestinian. Quite a few of them are prosperous—and powerful. The richest man in Mexico is of Lebanese ancestry—Carlos Slim, son of Yusuf Salim. And don't forget half-Arab Mexican actress Salma Hayek, who recently announced she wants to be a U.S. citizen to "have a voice that supports the Latino community in the United States." There are still immigrants arriving from the Middle East.
But the fact is - wherever such communities exist in the West, they provide a convenient cover for the hiding of terrorist operatives.
"...there is absolutely no evidence that there are 'terrorist cells' in Mexico of Al Qaeda or Hizbollah, Al Fatah, or any other Arab/Muslim terrorist group."
—Raoul Lowery Contreras, Empty Words to an Empty Chamber.
Contreras sounds very confident again—more confident, in fact, than the Mexican government itself. Even before 9/11, Fox's national security adviser Adolfo Aguilar (now Mexican representative in the UN) admitted the presence of Islamic radicals in Mexico, and the media identified the group as Hezbollah.
Just recently, a summit of Latin American intelligence chiefs was held in Cartagena, Colombia. The intel chiefs of 20 Latin American nations were there. The guest of honor was Welsh author Gordon Thomas, who has written a number of bestselling books on espionage. [Al-Qaeda sostuvo reunión en México, El Universal, October 30th, 2003]
At this conference, it was reported that Al Qaeda held a meeting in Mexico in 2001 to make contacts in the country, and with terrorists from Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Al Qaeda is said to have a presence in several Latin American countries and links with Columbia's FARC guerrillas.
Stopping terrorists on the border is America's only hope. Once in country, and depending on the local jurisdiction, a hypothetical Al Qaeda operative can easily submerge himself in the officially-encouraged system of nebulous quasi-legality. There are driver's licenses available even to illegal aliens, matriculas consulares from a growing collection of nations, and ethnic neighborhoods he can easily blend into.
What's amazing is not that it could happen—but why it hasn't happened already.
American citizen Allan Wall lives and works legally in Mexico, where he holds an FM-2 residency and work permit, but serves six weeks a year with the Texas Army National Guard, in a unit composed almost entirely of Americans of Mexican ancestry. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here; his website is here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org.