June 26, 2015
The State Department must brief lawmakers on the circumstances and implications of the recent hijacking of a delivery truck carrying thousands of Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) in northern Mexico, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) says.
“Border Crossing Cards are valuable documents that show a bona fide, legal right to be present in our nation,” Salmon says. “The theft of these important documents could allow criminals to circumvent all of the protections currently in place at our borders. This is deeply disturbing and must be addressed immediately”
Reports this week revealed that a truck carrying 11,500 BCCs to U.S. Consulates in Guadalajara and Monterrey, Mexico was hijacked on June 7. The visas have yet to be recovered.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry dated Thursday, Salmon stresses that the theft is a security risk.
“Providing for security at our borders is one of Congress’ most urgent priorities; facilitating trade and legal cross border traffic is another,” he wrote.
“Addressing this security situation is an urgent matter and if not handled properly will have long term consequences to our relationship with Mexico and security along our border. I look forward to receiving a full briefing on this theft and its consequences as soon as possible,” he added.
In his missive, Salmon further pressed Kerry on why Congress was not briefed about the matter but the press was, and calls for an “immediate briefing” to deal with “at minimum” these questions:
-What are the circumstances surrounding this hijacking? Was this truck targeted due to the contents of its cargo?
-Can these BCCs be altered or manipulated in a way that could provide future security threats?
-What has the Department done to mitigate any future threat to sensitive border crossing documentation?
-How does this hijacking pose a threat to our ability to secure our borders?
-Have there been other incidents where U.S. secure documents have disappeared in Mexico?
-Why was the press advised of this theft while Congress received no notification?
-Why did the Department take almost three weeks to make available the scant information that it did?
According to a Forbes report, the stolen cards have been reissued and the State Department is assisting with the investigation into who was behind the hijacking.