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Horowitz: Our enemy Hezbollah is already in the Western Hemisphere
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Horowitz: Our enemy Hezbollah is already in the Western Hemisphere

In the wake of the Hamas massacres in Israel, Hamas' Lebanon-based Shiite ally Hezbollah warned the United States that if we side with Israel, “there will be no red line” to prevent attacks on American assets anywhere in the world. If we enjoyed a modicum of real leadership, such threats would ring hollow. After all, Hezbollah should not have the capabilities to strike us. The trouble is, we left our front door and our back door wide open — particularly in Latin America. That makes Hezbollah’s threat far more serious.

It isn’t simply the fact that we have let so many people into the country directly from Lebanon, Syria, and Iran — the countries that finance, train, and host Hezbollah and its global terror network. In the past 20 years, the United States has admitted around 230,000 Iranians, 70,000 Syrians, and 63,000 Lebanese. Some of them were ethnic minorities, but the overwhelming majority were Muslims. Now add immigrants from Iraq, which, thanks to our idiotic war, is now a safe haven for Hezbollah as well. We’ve brought in more than 200,000 Iraqis, half of whom are Shiite. You might have seen some of them waving Palestinian flags at a celebration of Hamas in Dearborn, Michigan, this week.

The numbers from legal immigration are bad enough. Now consider our porous southern border, where the situation is even more sinister. Since 2021, 659 Iranians, 538 Syrians, and 164 Lebanese nationals have been apprehended by the Border Patrol. How many more slipped through?

Now consider the top exporter of illegal aliens to the United States. No, it isn’t Mexico. It’s Venezuela. In September alone, 66,000 Venezuelan nationals arrived at ports of entry along our southern border. An additional 60,000 Venezuelans have been flown into our airports since January. The Biden administration this year has granted “temporary protected status” to 472,000 Venezuelans, almost double the 242,000 granted such status in 2021 and 2022.

Hezbollah operates and partners with state actors throughout Latin America, but its closest and longest-standing ally by far is the Venezuelan government. While we were refereeing endless Islamic civil wars halfway around the world, our government turned a blind eye to Hezbollah’s billion-dollar crime operation in our own hemisphere. Its human smuggling business, which transports Shiite Muslims to the United States, funds terrorism.

In a major 2017 exposé, Politico revealed that the Obama administration shut down Operation Cassandra, a joint counterterrorism and crime task force designed to disrupt Hezbollah in Latin America, in order to appease the Iranians and pave the way for the ill-conceived Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The Trump Department of Justice briefly attempted to restart investigations, but the Biden administration shut them down almost immediately.

Hezbollah’s Venezuela operation sits at the nexus of human trafficking, gangs, drug smuggling, and political subversion throughout Latin America. It’s a little-known fact that Venezuela is home to a massive Arab diaspora. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and Syrian expatriates live there. Venezuela’s former vice president, who is of Syrian descent, has ties to Hezbollah. The country’s current attorney general, Tarek William Saab, is Lebanese. Knowing that, and knowing that hundreds of thousands of migrants are fleeing that godforsaken failing socialist state, Venezuela should be a much greater source of concern than it appears to be. It could very easily become our version of Europe’s Syrian migrant crisis.

Although the Biden administration announced recently that it would resume deporting Venezuelans directly to their home country, what is to stop Hezbollah from using its Arab diaspora cells to forge documents, travel north, speak perfect Spanish to Customs and Border Patrol officers, and then get released on their own recognizance? Nothing, of course. That’s been this administration’s modus operandi for the better part of three years.

Republicans should refuse to pass another budget bill in November unless it includes language blocking the release of any illegal alien. Venezuela also must be designated a special interest alien country, which would trigger automatic investigations.

Israel failed to guard its 32-mile border with the viper’s nest of Gaza with devastating consequences. We have a 2,000-mile border to protect. When will we learn our lesson and at what cost?

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