WASHINGTON — Members of terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may have already used the United States' loosely secured southern border to sneak into the nation, Texas Governor Rick Perry told attendees of the Heritage Foundations' panel on border security Thursday.
"We have seen historic high levels of individuals from countries with terrorist ties over the course of the last few months," Perry said. "Because of the condition of the border from the standpoint of it not being secured and us not knowing who is penetrating across, individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states. And, I think it is a very real possibility that they have already used that."
Perry is almost certain that ISIS, a jihadist group that has gained global attention in the last few months due to their heinous murders of innocent victims and takeover of cities like Fallujah and Mosul, will at some point try to bring their terror to American soil and other Western nations if nothing is done to stop them. Perry stated that the terrorist group claims their previous acts of violence are just a taste of what to expect will happen in America.
Perry points out that not only is ISIS growing but it is starting to include radicalized citizens of Western nations. Since the killing of American journalist James Foley, whose beheading by ISIS was posted on YouTube earlier this week, was carried out by a British radicalized subject, there could be other passport carriers that have pledged to ISIS that have access to countries like the U.S., Britain, France or Germany, Perry said.
Additionally, NBC News reported Wednesday that an anonymous U.S. official claims it is believed that a "small handful" of Americans are fighting alongside ISIS.
"Among other questions that come to mind, How many other jihadists out there are carrying Western passports? What missions might ISIS have planned for them?" Perry asked. "The danger of ISIS in the United States and other Western nations may strike people as a little remote. But, for many Americans, just about the last thing we want to think about is more conflict in Iraq and what that might involve. We better get on top of this crisis by every means necessary."
Perry criticized President Barack Obama and Congress for not acting fast enough to secure the border and protect the citizens.
"We have come to one of those moments, when American action will be decisive and inaction will be consequential," Perry said. "We have a serious issue facing this country and the security of our citizens. We need to be very vigilant, we need to be using every authority that we have. The president needs to be engaged in using his presidential authority and Congress needs to engage in securing this country."
The governor, who is also believed to be considering running in the 2016 presidential election, took a clear stance on foreign policy, saying he firmly believes that it is in the best interest of the American citizens that the United States do whatever it takes to ensure that the ISIS threat is thwarted even if that means going back to war in Iraq.
Taking action would not only protect Americans but will help protect national interest in westernizing countries like Jordan and Israel that are currently dealing with the jihadist presence.
"They need to be eliminated; they need to be eliminated now," Perry said. "It is too important to the interest of the West in that part of the world to not stop ISIS. They are not going to stop in that region of the world."
Perry criticized Obama for not doing more than limited air strikes to combat ISIS in Iraq, a country that "American troops fought and died to liberate."
When asked if he thought if the United States should commission ground troops in Iraq, he did not say the military should send ground troops but did not rule that possibility out either.
"I think all your options have to be open in dealing with this terror and this force in that country," he said. "Signaling to your enemy what you are not going to put on the table is very, very bad and both strategical and tactical errors of this administration."