New data shows that the number of persons on the terror watch list trying to enter the country has increased amid a crisis at the southern border, where hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have evaded the Border Patrol.
Experts warn that the rising number of illegal immigrants attempting to cross into the US could mean that many others on the terror list may be sneaking in undetected.
Todd Bensman, the author of “America’s Covert Border War,” about how terrorists try to exploit the immigration system, said, “The big worry is with the chaos down there, when you have these kinds of people coming to the border, you have to assume that some of them got in.”
The new total is a “bad number,” he warned.
In a broader report by Foxnews:
In Fiscal Year 2022 there have been 50 arrests of migrants on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) at the southern border by Border Patrol between ports of entry. That’s compared to 15 in FY21, which was up from three in FY20 and zero in FY19. There were six in FY18 and two in FY17 — meaning that the numbers this year are already higher than the previous five years combined.
At the ports of entry at the northern and southern borders, there have so far been a total of 192 encounters (142 at the northern border and 50 at the southern border) by CBP’s Office of Field Operations. That’s compared to 157 in FY21, 196 in FY 20, 538 in FY19, 351 in FY 18 and 333 in FY17.
The publication added that the numbers come as CBP revealed this week that there were 239,416 migrant encounters in May — which eclipses the 180,597 encountered in May 2021 and the 23,237 encountered in May 2020. It is also higher than the 235,478 encountered in April 2022, which itself set a new record for encounter
A high-level CBP source told Fox News that there have been 440,000 known gotaways since the fiscal year began in October — with over 50,000 in May alone. Combined with the 400,000 known gotaways since the beginning of FY 2021, that means that more than 800,000 illegal immigrants have gotten past agents since October 2020 — more than the entire population of Seattle.
Rep. John Katko (R-NY), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, also recalls being chastised last year after relaying concerns among agents about terror suspects entering the US.
“Fast forward a year, and our initial concerns have not only been vindicated but have grown to represent one of the most disturbing facets of the Biden administration’s border crisis,” Katko said.
A conspiracy to assassinate former President George W. Bush was foiled by federal authorities in Ohio last month. Four ISIS-linked murders were to be smuggled through the southern border as part of the operation.
The 15 encounters of people on the watch list plus the increase in the overall number of migrants, according to Mark Morgan, CBP commissioner under the Trump administration, indicate a “real national security risk on our southern border.”
“I’m concerned that the next terrorist attacker is already in the United States,” Morgan said, “because of this administration’s open border policies.”
The Washington Times reported that on an average day, CBP holds around 12,000 people, but fewer than half of them are removed.