The Biden administration doesn’t want to just keep the U.S.-Mexico border open. It wants the borders of our Latin American neighbors to remain open as well.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei told us that earlier this year in an interview that he asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for help closing Guatemala’s border with El Salvador and Honduras to help shut off illegal migration north. But, Giammattei says, Mayorkas and Blinken rejected his offer.
We have seen documents that support his contention, and reached out to the administration for comment, but it did not respond.
Giammattei has been a strong U.S. ally fighting against illegal immigration in Central America. On January 14, 2022, for example, he proposed legislation in the Guatemalan Congress to increase penalties for human smuggling and urged its swift approval. Congress passed the bill only 15 days later, increasing criminal sentencing from six-to-eight years up to 10-to-30 years, and up to 50 years for aggravated cases.
It was after that when Giammattei asked the State and Homeland Security Departments for help securing Guatemala’s southern border. The Guatemalan Embassy in Washington, D.C., followed up with May 11, 2023, correspondence to both departments. This communication includes documentation of specific and calculated resources needed to secure Guatemala’s southern border.
Mayorkas and Blinken turned down Giammattei’s offer, Guatemalan officials told us, on the grounds that DHS lacked the resources necessary to assist Guatemala in this effort.
Yet it’s no secret that the Biden administration disdains Giammattei, a pro-life, pro-Taiwan, and pro-Israel conservative, and likely had no interest in helping him during a contentious election to find his successor this summer.
President Joe Biden instead embraced leftist president-elect Bernardo Arevalo, who is scheduled to take power in January. There is no indication Arevalo plans to pursue Giammattei’s border security proposal.
These documents suggest that for political and ideological reasons, instead of seizing an opportunity to stop the flow of illegal immigration through Central America, the Biden administration is encouraging more—and even facilitating it.
A senior Guatemalan official explained, “We said to [U.S. officials] ‘You have a large border with Mexico. We have a small border with Honduras and El Salvador. Help us close that one.’” But because the Biden administration declined Giammattei’s proposal, the Guatemalan official added, “We could only assume that they wanted illegal immigration to continue.”
The State Department announced in April 2023 that it was establishing new regional processing centers in Latin America where migrants would be “processed rapidly for ‘lawful pathways’" to the U.S. and beyond.
By June 2023, the first regional processing centers—renamed “Safe Mobility Offices”—began their initial phase in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia. Such a facility, which would do nothing to increase border security, was State’s counterproposal to Giammattei.
The State Department intended to eventually open 100 of these processing centers in the region, with support from DHS, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In its October 20, 2023, supplemental funding request, the administration is seeking another $1.3 billion to expand the Safe Mobility Office processing of mass migration throughout our hemisphere. Given these operations, it is obvious that Giammattei’s plan to secure Guatemala’s southern border and reduce migration was rejected by Mayorkas and Blinken because it’s contrary to Biden’s open-border agenda.
Giammattei continues to warn the Biden administration of the dangerous consequences of open borders, stating, “What the United States has is a process of invasion.” A Guatemalan intelligence report stated that 20,522 people from nine “nationalities of interest” for terrorism and drug trafficking—Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen—arrived in Guatemala between Jan. 1, 2022, and Aug. 31, 2023. “There will be terrorists,” Giammattei predicted.
FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed Giammattei’s warnings when he recently testified that “war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole other level.” He added that “we also cannot—and do not—discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here on our own soil.”
We have since received rapid reports of terrorism-related arrests in the U.S. For example, Sohaib Abuayyash, a Palestinian man in the U.S. on an expired visa and pending asylum application, was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person after direct contact with others who “share a radical mindset” and was training with weapons to “possibly commit an attack.”
The Biden administration has worked assiduously for nearly three years to ensure America’s borders remain open. We now know it wants our southern neighbors’ borders open as well. Congress should reject all funding for the administration’s open-border operations, including the Safe Mobility Offices and services south of our border.
Instead, funds should be channeled to ICE law enforcement agents to locate and detain the national security threats inside the U.S. to prevent potential terror attacks. Congress should also review the Giammattei plan and explore similar initiatives with interested partners in Latin America.
This piece originally appeared in Fox News