These detainees are called "other than Mexicans" or OTM's. Most will eventually be sent back to their home country.
But some disappear very quickly, usually before they even reach this center or other holding facilities. They're taken away by tight-lipped federal agents to who-knows-where.
Who are they? They're called "Special Interest Aliens" or "SIA."
According to Ben Anderson, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, the SIA that they don't want to talk about. That's special interest alien. These are people from those countries that we consider terrorist threats."
Anderson is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who tracks illegal immigration from his home in Sierra Vista, Arizona. He has a website sharing his research into Special Interest Aliens.
"You will not read about that. You will not hear about that. They will not talk about that. They will not provide that info to the press."
Colonel Anderson says these Special Interest Aliens originate in the Middle East or Northeast Asia. They travel through Spain to what's called the tri-border area of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, then, to Mexico City.
They pay to learn Spanish language skills, and by the time they reach the U.S., they're acting and talking like Mexicans to fool border agents.
The problem is more than just terrorists passing themselves off as Mexicans. As we have seen, and as we now see again, there is a terrorist infrastructure developing going far beyond Mexico, to Venezuela and even as far south as Argentina. We now begin with Hezbollah builds a Western base by Pablo Gato and Robert Windrem, Telemundo and MSNBC.com, May, 2007:
From inside South America's Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets U.S.
CIUDAD DEL ESTE, Paraguay - The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia has taken root in South America, fostering a well-financed force of Islamist radicals boiling with hatred for the United States and ready to die to prove it, according to militia members, U.S. officials and police agencies across the continent.
From its Western base in a remote region divided by the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina known as the Tri-border, or the Triple Frontier, Hezbollah has mined the frustrations of many Muslims among about 25,000 Arab residents whose families immigrated mainly from Lebanon in two waves, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and after the 1985 Lebanese civil war.
An investigation by Telemundo and NBC News has uncovered details of an extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group founded in Lebanon in 1982 that the United States has labeled an international terrorist organization. The operation funnels large sums of money to militia leaders in the Middle East and finances training camps, propaganda operations and bomb attacks in South America, according to U.S. and South American officials.
U.S. officials fear that poorly patrolled borders and rampant corruption in the Tri-border region could make it easy for Hezbollah terrorists to infiltrate the southern U.S. border. From the largely lawless region, it is easy for potential terrorists, without detection, to book passage to the United States through Brazil and then Mexico simply by posing as tourists.
They are men like Mustafa Khalil Meri, a young Arab Muslim whom Telemundo interviewed in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay's second-largest city and the center of the Tri-border region. There is nothing particularly distinctive about him, but beneath the everyday T-shirt he wears beats the heart of a devoted Hezbollah militiaman.
"If he attacks Iran, in two minutes Bush is dead," Meri said. "We are Muslims. I am Hezbollah. We are Muslims, and we will defend our countries at any time they are attacked."
Straight shot to the U.S.
U.S. and South American officials warn that Meri's is more than a rhetorical threat.
It is surprisingly easy to move across borders in the Triple Frontier, where motorbikes are permitted to cross without documents. A smuggler can bike from Paraguay into Brazil and return without ever being asked for a passport, and it is not much harder for cars and trucks.
The implications of such lawlessness could be dire, U.S. and Paraguayan officials said. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Hezbollah militiamen would raise no suspicions because they have Latin American passports, speak Spanish and look like Hispanic tourists.
The CIA singles out the Mexican border as an especially inviting target for Hezbollah operatives. "Many alien smuggling networks that facilitate the movement of non-Mexicans have established links to Muslim communities in Mexico," its Counter Terrorism Center said in a 2004 threat paper.
"Non-Mexicans often are more difficult to intercept because they typically pay high-end smugglers a large sum of money to efficiently assist them across the border, rather than haphazardly traverse it on their own."
Mixed in with the many Mexicans seeking work in the U.S. are more Latinos from other countries farther south seeking opportunity here -- they violate our laws by entering illegally, but other than that, they're not bad people.
Mixed in with all the Latinos seeking work are Latinos fleeing from law enforcement in their native countries. These are some bad people.
And, mixed in with all that, there are operatives of foreign countries and terrorist organizations, menacing the Great Satan with terrorist strikes from within.
Stick around as Soft Underbelly continues.