Skeptics who deny that violent Islamic jihadist immigrants would or could ever illegally cross land borders and attack western nations in the midst of mass-migration crises will surely want to run and hide from Europol's latest European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2021 (TESAT).
The just-published annual TESAT report documents that perpetrators of five completed terrorist mainland attacks (out of 10) during 2020 had "entered the EU as asylum seekers or irregular migrants". Other immigrant border-crossing terrorist infiltrators struck the United Kingdom after smuggling in through the Channel Tunnel or across the North Atlantic last year.
Still more violent Islamist jihadists who used the long-haul illegal immigration routes over European borders got caught just before they could kill or with unknown intentions. Some tried to hide their illegal foreign terrorist group activities and wartime atrocity resumes under cover afforded by Europe's asylum system, the TESAT report said.
Obviously, not all jihadists who attacked and plotted last year in Europe first crossed the border; quite a few were EU citizens, the sons and daughters of legal immigrants, or converts to Islam who fell under the sway of online terrorism propaganda.
Europe is a valuable living laboratory of transferable lessons for U.S. homeland security authorities.
But to the extent that border-crossing terrorists who used the tactic did kill, maim, and threaten, Europe serves as a valuable living laboratory of transferable lessons and pre-warning for American citizens and homeland security authorities contending with a mass-migration crisis that is fast collapsing control of the American southern border.
Normal management control systems along significant sections of the U.S.-Mexico border, especially in South Texas, have collapsed under the weight of hundreds of thousands of immigrant entries a month, many induced to come by President Joe Biden's open-turnstile policies for family units and unaccompanied minors or decisions to end almost all interior deportation operations.
A fast-expanding percentage (26 percent) of the 200,000 migrants per month that have overrun U.S. Border Patrol capabilities are not from Mexico or the Northern Triangle countries of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), but from a hundred other countries, as I recently reported from the migrant trail through Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In addition to my own reporting, fresh Bloomberg News and Associated Press dispatches reveal record numbers of long-haul migrants from around the world. AP reports that a record 50,000 will cross through Panama this year alone, a five-fold increase over any highest previous year.
What's happening in Europe should matter to U.S. border security because many who are reaching Texas, California, and Arizona hail from the same jihadist-plagued nations from which Europe's terrorist-immigrants departed, including Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, not to mention Yemenis on the FBI's terrorism watch list. Most apply for U.S. asylum relief from deportation, as did most of Europe's terrorist immigrants.
The "Greatest Terrorism Threat in the EU"
The TESAT reports assess terrorism threats against the European Union and the United Kingdom on an annual basis. The 2021 report's 112 pages contain much worth reading about right-wing, left-wing, and separatist terrorist activity on the continent during 2020, as well as collective prognoses by EU security agencies about what to expect going forward (Hint: not good now that Covid-19 restrictions are lifting and making travel easier).
Europol ranks jihadist terrorism as the "greatest terrorist threat in the EU."
However, in sharp contrast to U.S. pronouncements that "white supremacy" poses the greatest domestic terror threat on this side of the pond, Europol believes jihadist terrorism ranks as the "greatest terrorist threat in the EU" and reserved the longest sections of its TESAT report for that.
In all, completed and foiled jihadist attacks totaled 29 for the year, with European law enforcement arresting 254 people for "jihadism-related offenses".
Broken out, jihadists completed 15 jihad attacks in the EU, UK, and Switzerland that killed 12 people and injured some 47. Austria, France, and Germany suffered 10, the UK suffered three, and Switzerland suffered two.
The toll would have been much worse had anti-terrorism authorities not foiled 14 more jihadist terrorist plots in the UK and EU, such as one advanced plot by five Tajik immigrants to kill American soldiers on a base in Germany. ...
The new TRSAT document and other reporting amply demonstrate that Europe's leadership and security class, in openly expressing deep fear of unmitigated illegal immigration from the Islamic world, are not exactly wearing tin-foil hats.
With the benefit of hindsight and terrible experience, the Europeans and their TESAT report might just have something to say worth hearing about American border security.
Todd Bensman is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies. He previously led counterterrorism-related intelligence efforts for the Texas Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.