Since 9/11, authorities have apprehended thousands of “special interest aliens” from Islamic countries crossing U.S. borders. If authentic war refugees could use the underground railroad, why not equally determined terrorists? For Hearst News, Bensman retraced the steps of an Iraqi war refugee who swam the Rio Grande on April 29, 2006. Bensman traveled to Syria, Jordan; Guatemala, Mexico, and the … [Read more...] about Breaching America Part I: War refugees or terror threat?
GUATEMALA CITY — Banking low and hard, the Cubana Airlines jet punched below the heavy cloud cover on its final descent into La Aurora International Airport, revealing to passengers a strange jumble of urban sprawl and jutting black volcanoes. Aamr Bahnan Boles was exhausted and drowsy from three days of international air travel and layovers, but adrenaline mixed with dread jolted him awake. He … [Read more...] about Breaching America Part II: The Latin Connection
TAPACHULA, Mexico — The bus braked abruptly and lurched to a stop. Aamr Bahnan Boles felt his stomach clench as the front door swung open and three uniformed officers boarded, looking none too happy. They had set up a makeshift checkpoint on the highway to this border city in Mexico's southernmost state, Chiapas. "Documentos! Ahora!" one of the uniformed men barked. " Todo el mundo!" Like … [Read more...] about Breaching America Part III: Mexico: stuck in the middle
BROWNSVILLE — The human smuggler offering to help Aamr Bahnan Boles and his two friends cross the border into America was tall, dark and pricey. "I can get you to Texas, no problem," he told them. "For a thousand dollars each." Boles and the others had just walked out of the detention center for immigrants in Mexico City. The guards, knowing the three were about to be freed after three … [Read more...] about Breaching America Part IV: ‘Made it to America!’
The journey north from Guatemala through Mexico to the Texas border lasted 17 days. Finally, on the evening of Feb. 26, 2006, the young family of four saw the river come into view. Weary and beaten, with the baby starting to fuss, the family was driven in a car right up to the Rio Grande. And there, it stopped in a cloud of dust. George and his wife, Baida, were Iraqi refugees. … [Read more...] about Breaching America Part V: Out of Iraq: An illegal flight of Chaldean Christians to America
In July 2007, in support of a $3 billion emergency border security spending bill, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn from Texas delivered a floor speech during which he heavily cited Todd Bensman's Breaching America series about illegal immigration from the Islamic world. The speech came just after the failure of a massive immigration reform bill. Following is a transcript of Sen. Cornyn's floor speech … [Read more...] about Sen. John Cornyn Entered Breaching America Series into the Congressional Record (July 2007) A Transcript of the proceeding