Terrorist Watch List Encounters at US-Mexico Border at Record Pace

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News

Border patrol agents on the US-Mexico border are on track to see the most apprehensions of known or suspected terrorists who have crossed the border illegally, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data reveals. .

The latest CBP data set shows that there were 17 new arrests of people in the FBI’s Terrorist Detection Database (TSDB) on the Southwest border during December. This means that there have been 38 Border Patrol TSDB encounters so far during the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2023.

By comparison, there were 98 total in FY22. In FY21, there were only 15 TSDB encounters on the Southwest border.

“19 terrorists were behind the 9/11 attacks. 17 people on the terrorist watch list attempted to cross the border in December. Think about that for a moment,” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Tex.) saying.

The growing number of TSDB encounters is of great concern to Republicans when considered alongside the increase in immigration and the reported known number of “runaways,” or immigrants who were seen by patrol authorities but evaded arrest. There were a record 250,000 migrant encounters in December alone, while Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins reported more than 278,000 known runaways for FY23 to date.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (RS.C.) cautioned that these two other statistics mean the TSDB arrests are “probably just one faction of terrorists in our nation” who have taken advantage of the utter border crisis under the Biden administration.

While the watch list contains the names of people “reasonably suspected” of terrorism along with those known to have been involved in heinous acts, some people detained don’t even know they are on the list. However, the increasing number of TSDB apprehensions may be indicative of a larger problem of US enemies exploiting a border patrol force that is too small for the numbers crossing into the territory.

The risk of danger to the US has already been exposed in articles that rightfully praise the law enforcement authorities that prevented the tragedy from happening. For example, an Iraqi man living in Ohio masterminded an assassination plot for former President George W. Bush in May 2022. This plan involved smuggling ISIS assassins into states across the southern border.

Just two months later, Richmond, Virginia police disrupted the terrorist plot by four Guatemalan citizens who were in the US illegally.

While these plans were prevented by law enforcement authorities and rightly deserve praise, the question remains of who else could have exploited the border undetected.

“We could have the next terrorist sleeper cell in the country planning the next attack on American soil and we have no idea,” Mark Morgan, a former acting CBP commissioner, told The Center Square.

Even before the latest CBP report, nine members of Congress requested a briefing from the Intelligence Community in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on January 12.

“Compared to the 2.76 million undocumented immigrant crossings at the Southwest border in fiscal year 2022, it is naive for our leaders to claim that our overwhelmed border patrol can detect and monitor every individual on the watch list,” he said. the coalition. wrote.

They added: “Without proper enforcement of our immigration laws, terrorist networks are increasingly empowered to avoid arrest. The Biden Administration has continually downplayed this risk and the significant vulnerability its border policies have created for terrorists.”