The U.S. State Department is asking U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations in light of Sunday’s military offensive that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.
In a global travel alert issued Sunday, the department asks U.S. citizens “in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence” to also limit travel outside their homes or hotels. U.S. embassies worldwide will continue to function but may temporarily close or suspend services in order to evaluate their security measures, the statement says. U.S. government facilities around the globe will remain at a heightened state of alert.
The law enforcement presence on the Texas–Mexico border will likely remain unchanged, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security, which overseas U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, but the Department of Homeland Security does not intend to issue [a National Terrorism Advisory System] alert at this time,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano stated.
Some Texas lawmakers have raised concerns that the violence plaguing Mexico could open up the possibility to Mexican cartels working with terrorists to aid the extremists in the smuggling of foreigners into the country. Law enforcement officials say there is not enough evidence to support the various claims, however, and government statistics reflect the majority of non-Mexicans apprehended on the Texas-Mexico border are Central Americans traveling through Mexico to gain access to the U.S.
The government apprehended about 45,280 non-Mexicans in 2010, and about 32,900 on the Texas border, according to unofficial U.S. Border Patrol statistics provided by the office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. There were 736 immigrants from countries the U.S. considers state sponsors of terrorism apprehended last year: 712 Cubans, 14 Iranians, five from Syria and five from Sudan. Those numbers also include persons detained on the country’s northern border.