Customs and Border Protection data from last year show that the Border Patrol apprehended at least 23 people at the southern border who are on the U.S. terror watchlist.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin, who obtained the CBP data through a Freedom of Information Act request, reported Monday that between Jan. 20 and Dec. 27, 2021, the names of 23 individuals who attempted to come across the border matched individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database.
The TSDB is a compilation of information about individuals who are either known or “reasonably suspected” of being involved in some sort of terrorism.
The 23 terrorism suspect encounters were scattered across the Arizona, California and Texas sections of the border.
Four were found in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, four in the Del Rio Sector, three in the El Paso Sector, two in Tuscon Sector, two in the Yuma Sector, another four in El Centro Sector and four in San Diego Sector, Fox News reported.
Melugin noted on Twitter that those are just the ones who were caught.
“Keep in mind, there were 400,000 + gotaways at the border last year, and multiple high level CBP sources tell us there have already been more than 300,000 known gotaways in the last 6 months,” he said. “Massive numbers are getting through without apprehension.”
Keep in mind, there were 400,000 + gotaways at the border last year, and multiple high level CBP sources tell us there have already been more than 300,000 known gotaways in the last 6 months. Massive numbers are getting through without apprehension.
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 18, 2022
Migrants coming to the United States’ southern border who either have potential terror connections or are from terror-plagued regions are nothing new.
The Center for Immigration Studies reported at the end of 2021 that in just the Del Rio Sector of the border, agents encountered tens of thousands of migrants from more than 106 different countries.
In November alone, migrants were found coming from Syria, Lebanon, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the violent African country of Eritrea.
“We encounter individuals from all over the world attempting to illegally enter our country,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens said, according to the report.
“Our agents are focused and work hard to ensure that we detect, arrest, and identify anyone that enters our country in order to maintain safety of our communities,” Owens added.
With thousands of migrants from all over the world showing up at the southern border, Republicans have repeatedly called for the CBP data concerning these possible terrorism encounters to be publicly released, Fox News reported.
“It is no secret that terrorists and other bad actors attempt to exploit weakness in border security and vetting to enter the United States,” Reps. James Comer of Kentucky and John Katko of New York, the ranking members on the oversight and homeland security committees, respectively, said in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last month.
“Reporting indicates that multiple individuals with terrorist ties have been recently apprehended after illegally crossing the border, and that such encounters may be increasing,” they wrote. “The American people deserve to know whether President Biden’s weak border policies are allowing terrorists to enter our homeland.”
As Melugin noted, while many migrants are apprehended at the border, many more are never caught and enter the U.S. illegally and undetected.
Researchers at Yale and MIT developed a model to estimate what percentage of illegal immigrants were apprehended at the border, the Washington Examiner reported in July 2021.
One author of the study told the Examiner that only about 68 percent of illegal border crossers are apprehended.
“Applying that to estimates that 1.8 million migrants will be caught on the southern border this year, that means an additional 576,000 estimated illegal immigrants will successfully enter the U.S. this year,” the Examiner reported.
Fox News reported that last month alone, more than 62,000 illegal immigrants evaded Border Patrol agents.
Before retiring last August, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott sounded the alarm about the terror threat.
“I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis,” he told agents, according to the Washington Examiner. “Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.”
In October, Scott warned that besides individuals officially on record in the TSDB, there are many other terror threats at the border.
“We have terrorist threats we can’t get into in this type of a forum, but they are real,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baier.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.