Skip to Content

In the News

ICYMI: Emmer, Minnesota House Republicans demand answers on Al-Shabaab terrorist’s travel to Minnesota

WASHINGTON – Majority Whip Tom Emmer – alongside Representatives Brad Finstad (MI-01), Michelle Fischbach (MI-07), and Pete Stauber (MI-08) – today sent a follow-up letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers on how a known terrorist was able to travel from the border to Minnesota and whether that transportation was funded by taxpayer dollars.

This follows Minnesota House Republicans’ initial letter to Secretary Mayorkas surrounding the alarming report that a member of Al-Shabaab was allowed to roam the country for nearly a year before being arrested in Minnesota.

In case you missed it…
Known terrorist spent year in US after being wrongly released by feds — and GOP lawmakers demand answers
New York Post
Jennie Taer
April 2, 2024

A Somali terrorist was allowed into the country and able to operate freely for almost a year before authorities realized their error and re-arrested him.

Republican lawmakers are now demanding information from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about what happened to the man – and whether US citizens funded any part of his journey or stay in the US.

The 27-year-old Somalian – who has so far not been identified by name – was on the watchlist as “a confirmed member of al Shabaab” involved in the use, manufacturing or transportation of explosives or firearms, but a border bungle meant he was released after initially being arrested for crossing into the country illegally in California in March 2023.

A letter from Republican lawmakers seeks to find the al-Shabaab member’s path from illegally crossing the border to Minnesota, were he was eventually re-arrested in January, and if he received any government benefits.

It also seeks to find if he took a commercial flight with US citizens to reach their state and if his travel was funded with taxpayer dollars according to the Tuesday letter, first obtained by The Post.

The letter states: “Due to Minnesota’s far distance from the border, it is not an easy task for migrants to travel to the state…

“Did the al-Shabbab terrorist travel to Minnesota with the assistance, either direct or indirect of an [Non-Governmental Organization]? If so, which NGO was responsible for transporting the individual to Minnesota?”

The terrorist organization member had initially crossed into California and been arrested by Border Patrol. However, the Terrorist Screening Center determined he was a “mismatch” to the terror watchlist leading to his release.

Nearly a year later, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nabbed him after federal authorities made a “redetermination” and released he was associated with the Somalian militant group, designated a terror organization by the National Counterterrorism Center.

In a February press conference, ICE Acting Director Patrick Lechleitner said his agency arrested the individual “within 48 hours” of learning his true identity.

“The Biden administration’s open-borders agenda allowed a known terrorist to roam freely throughout our state, and now they must answer for their inexcusable negligence,” House Majority Whip Tom Emmer said in a statement to The Post regarding the probe.

Border Patrol has recorded an ever-growing number of migrants listed on the terror watchlist attempting to enter the US illegally in recent years.

Between October 2023 and February, agents have already recorded 70 encounters at both the southern and northern borders, according to federal data.

There were 172 such encounters recorded in fiscal year 2023, which ran from October 2022 to September 2023, 98 in fiscal year 2022, 16 in fiscal year 2021 and 14 between fiscal years 2017 and 2020.

In March, Border Patrol agents apprehended Lebanese national Basel Bassel Ebbadi, 22, who told personnel that he came to the US “to try to make a bomb,” according to internal federal documents first obtained by The Post.

Ebbadi admitted to a border agent he is a member of Hezbollah and was later confirmed as a “positive match” on the terror watchlist.