by WorldTribune Staff, April 19, 2022
Border Patrol agents caught 23 individuals on the terrorist watch list attempting to cross the U.S. southern border in 2021, according to data obtained by Fox News via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The 23 individuals were taken into custody between Jan. 20 and Dec. 30, 2021. Their names matched those that appeared on the Terror Screening Database, which has information on the people who are either proven or alleged of having been involved in terror activities.
In a March 2022 letter, Republican Reps. James Comer of Kentucky and John Katko of New York called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandra Mayorkas to publicly release the numbers of migrants who were stopped at the southern border and whose names are listed on the Terror Screening Database (TSDB).
“It is no secret that terrorists and other bad actors attempt to exploit weakness in border security and vetting to enter the United States,” the lawmakers wrote. “Reporting indicates that multiple individuals with terrorist ties have been recently apprehended after illegally crossing the border, and that such encounters may be increasing. The American people deserve to know whether President Biden’s weak border policies are allowing terrorists to enter our homeland.”
Four of the apprehensions took place in the Rio Grande Valley Sector and four others were reported in the Del Rio Sector. Border patrol officers assigned to the El Centro Sector and San Diego Sector each reported four arrests.
Agents from the Yuma Sector busted a 21-year-old Saudi Arabia terror suspect on Dec. 18. The man’s name was not released, but Border Patrol confirmed him “as a positive match linked to several Yemeni subjects of interests.”
Agents said the suspect was wearing a volunteer paramedics jacket from an ambulance company in Central Oneida County, New York.
Border officers assigned to the El Centro Sector took into custody two Yemeni men who were on the FBI’s terror watch list.
A 33-year-old suspect was apprehended Jan. 29 approximately at 1:10 a.m. local time after he tried to cross the border illegally about three miles west from the Calexico Port of Entry. Agents discovered a cellular phone sim card hidden inside the insole of his shoe.
In August, retiring U.S. Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott warned his 19,000 agents that known or suspected terrorists were entering the United States “at a level we have never seen before.”
“Over and over again, I see other people talk about our mission, your mission, and the context of it being immigration or the current crisis today being an immigration crisis,” said Scott. “I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. 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.”
According to Fox News, more than 62,000 illegal immigrants, an average of 2,000 per day, evaded law enforcement while entering the country in March of this year. More than 300,000 others have already been declared “gotaways,” or “migrants who escaped capture by border patrol since the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.”