U.S. Border Patrol apprehended at least 23 individuals crossing the southern border in 2021 with names on the terror watch list.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, between January 20 and December 27, 2021, there were 23 contacts with individuals whose names appeared in the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB).
Four of the encounters were in the Del Rio Sector, four in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, two in the Tucson sector, three in the El Paso Sector, four in the El Centro Sector, and four in the San Diego Sector, and two in the Yuma Sector.
Information was made available to news organizations through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 2022, over 1 million migrant encounters have occurred so far on the southern border.
Information about the identities of individuals “reasonably suspected” or known to be involved in terrorist activities is contained in the TSDB.
Call for transparency
Republican legislators have frequently called for the number of individuals encountered at the border to be made public by the Biden administration.
“Reporting indicates that multiple individuals with terrorist ties have been recently apprehended after illegally crossing the border and that such encounters may be increasing,” wrote Reps. John Katko and James Comer, to DHS Secretary Alejandro Majorkas. Rep. Comer serves on the Oversight Committee, while Katko serves on the Homeland Security Committee.
“The American people deserve to know whether President Biden’s weak border policies are allowing terrorists to enter our homeland,” the letter continued.
Former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott told fellow agents last year that the number of TSDBs was “at a level we have never seen before.”
Scott has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the sheer number of TSDBs coming across the border into the U.S. “We have terrorist threats we can’t get into in this type of form, but they are real,” said Scott in an interview.
Republicans on the committees have repeatedly requested information about the number of TSDB-linked migrants and information about the countries of origin during each Fiscal Year from 2016 to the present.
Legislators also asked for any data to estimate the number of individuals who have crossed the border but could not be apprehended by the Border Patrol.
According to Fox News, over 62,000 illegal immigrants evaded Border Patrol agents in March, an average of about 2,000 per day.
The Biden administration faces skyrocketing border numbers that are swamping resources and border agents. Customs and Border Protection agents had encounters with more than 212,000 migrants at the southern border in March, exceeding any month last year.