The issue of immigration is typically couched in terms of desperately poor individuals and families from Central America seeking a better life in the United States.
As shown by the recent arrests of 11 Iranian nationals who allegedly crossed into Arizona from Mexico, however, border security often looks much different than the overwhelming media depiction.
Five women, four men, two children
According to The Washington Times, border patrol agents intercepted the suspects on Monday in the Yuma Sector. They were reportedly crossing a bridge near San Luis when the agents took them into custody.
It is unclear how they arrived in Mexico or what their plans in America might have been.
Authorities identified the 11 individuals as five women, four men, and two children, all of whom were taken to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Yuma Station to be processed, according to 12 News.
Iran has been labeled a “special interest” nation because of its longstanding ties to terrorism, though there is no initial indication that the 11 suspects nabbed near the border represented any such concerns. Nevertheless, the arrests sparked headlines since they ran counter to the prevailing narrative of undocumented immigrants beginning their journeys in Central America.
Officials indicate that they frequently encounter foreign nationals from around the world, and the Yuma Sector reportedly has seen more apprehensions of Iranians than any other section of the border.
“The moral and national shame”
A Border Patrol statement on the matter confirmed: “Yuma Sector agents regularly encounter people from all over the world, including Special Interest Countries. Agents adjudicate each arrest in accordance with law and policy in order to secure our nation’s borders.”
So far this fiscal year, the sector has been the site of 14 arrests involving Iranians, according to The Washington Times. Last year, Yuma accounted for eight of the 22 total Iranians arrested across the entire border.
Of course, those arrests pale in comparison to the number of Central American arrests, which have been the subject of numerous reports related to a new “caravan” of migrants making their way to the border. Many critics of the Biden administration say the president’s rhetoric on the topic of immigration has emboldened undocumented immigrants to make the move.
Among the controversial executive actions that President Joe Biden has taken in his first two weeks was an order halting most deportations for a span of 100 days, though his administration has still ordered hundreds of deportations thus far.
Despite opposition from a wide range of Americans, Biden has defended his liberal use of executive orders, asserting that he is “not making new law” but merely “eliminating bad policy” and working “to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration,” according to the Associated Press.