(National Review Online) -- ISIS terrorists may already be in the country, Governor Rick Perry (R., Texas) warned, saying that the terrorists' own version of "mission creep" will draw them from Iraq to the United States.
"I think there is the obvious great concern that because of the condition of the border, from the standpoint of it not being secure and us not knowing who is penetrating across, that individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be [entering the country]," Perry said during an event hosted by National Review and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
"And I think it is a very real possibility that they may have already used that [entry point]," Perry continued. "We have no clear evidence of that, but your common sense tells you, when we see the number of criminal activities that have occurred — I'm talking about the assaults, the rapes, the murders — by individuals who have come into this country illegally over the last five years, the idea that they would not be looking at and managing any of those types of attacks from that region is not a good place to be."
The number of individuals coming from countries known as terrorist risks has spiked recently, Perry said, though he emphasized that we don't know if any of those individuals have terrorist connections themselves.
"We know that there are individuals from countries that have terrorist ties that are being apprehended and we had reports of record high numbers of those individuals who were coming in back in the summer," Perry tells National Review Online.
Perry noted during his speech that the American photojournalist James Foley was murdered by a British radical who has joined ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, a fact that raises the specter of other Islamic State radicals who have the Western passports necessary to get into the United States.
The Texas governor said that President Obama should not rule out the idea of sending a traditional ground force into Iraq if that's what is necessary to stop the Islamic State. That said, his own solution involved sending more special-forces operators into the country and providing more support to Kurdish security forces.
"I think all your options have to be open from the standpoint of dealing with this terror, this force in that country," he said during a brief Q-and-A after the speech.
"I think signaling to your enemies what you are not going to put on the table is very very bad, both strategical and tactical errors by this administration. We need to have all of our options open. It is too important to Jordan, it is too important to Israel, it is too important to the interests of the West in that part of the world to not stop ISIS.
"They are not going to stop in that region of the world. They need to be eliminated; they need to be eliminated now."