A recent document leaked to the Daily Caller from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) field office in San Diego that said Hamas and Hezbollah may enter the United States via the Southern Border appears unsubstantiated. While far-right extremists have been making these claims for months, the San Diego office chose to bolster the dangerous Islamophobic rhetoric without evidence rather than debunk the phenomena.
After more than a week of reaching out to various field offices beginning with Del Rio, Texas, and ending with the CBP bosses at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a CBP spokesperson tells The Antagonist Magazine that there is no indication of Hamas foreign fighters seeking to enter the United States, debunking the misinformation reported by the Daily Caller and echoed by Fox News and an ABC News outlet in San Diego without verification.
“CBP has seen no indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the United States,” said a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.
While CBP policy is neither to confirm nor speak to improperly disclosed information, the spokesperson emphasized that they often provide situational awareness briefs to its frontline personnel. They stressed a clarification that situational awareness briefs are not threat assessments. The misleading reports in various outlets are worded in a way that appears to focus on fomenting Islamophobic sentiment instead of fact-based reporting.
“It is the policy of CBP to neither confirm nor speak to potentially improperly disclosed information or internal documents marked as law enforcement sensitive or for official use only,” said the spokesperson. “In general, CBP provides frontline personnel a wide range of context for situational awareness in order to ensure they remain vigilant in fulfillment of our homeland and border security missions. Situational awareness briefs are not threat assessments.”
The misinformation then began to spread via District 5, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond on X (formerly known as Twitter) in what appears to be an effort to create a panic among citizens across the U.S. The misinformation, particularly from a federal government office, has only bolstered ideas by extremists looking to target Muslims in the country.
While the assessment published by the Daily Caller suggests that “Individuals with terrorism connections are interested in using established travel routes and permissive environments to facilitate access to the United States,” there appears to be no evidence to make such a claim or to alarm the public without any justifiable reason.
Meanwhile, extremists are using the reports and false statements made by Western media, the White House, and an alleged AI-generated image posted by Ben Shapiro to foment hate towards Muslim communities. Despite those reports and President Joe Biden’s own words having been corrected or debunked, far-right actors continue to successfully promote those as fact. They are so prominent that even more liberal thinkers continue to echo those words.
As far-right actors, extremists, and hate groups continue to foment both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the public must be more diligent before sharing and spreading misinformation, regardless of where it comes from. It has never been more important to read beyond the headlines and assess the full story based on facts. Several of the stories mentioned here have been updated. However, the lie often gets more traction than the truth.
When government offices spread disinformation like what’s discussed here, it’s important to be mindful of the bigotry often exposed in those departments. That CBP is a federal law enforcement office gives them almost instant credibility. However, CBP is notorious for using inhumane practices and evidence of far-right actors among their ranks is nothing new.
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