Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Middle East Men Caught at Border Cleared of Terrorism Ties

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Middle East Men Caught at Border Cleared of Terrorism Ties

Article excerpt

PHOENIX * The arrests of six Middle Eastern men caught entering the United States illegally from Mexico two years ago set off alarm in border states and in some right-wing blogs and other media outlets.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called it a matter of national security and invoked the Islamic State group in a statement calling for stepped-up border security in response to the arrests. Conservative publications like the Washington Examiner reported on the men from "Middle East terror hotbeds," while Fox News questioned whether "Islamic State militants could be probing security."

Now, documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request reveal the men were fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands and were cleared of any terrorism ties. They also were physically and verbally abused by two Mexican smugglers with a history of crossing the border illegally and went days without food and water, the records show.

The case highlights the highly politicized nature of the U. …

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