Border Patrol arrested at least 23 people who are on the terror watchlist attempting to make their way across the US-Mexico border last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Fox News showed on Monday.
From Jan. 20 to Dec. 27, 2021, border officials were alerted 23 times of individuals whose names appeared on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB).
Fox acquired the information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which showed that suspected terrorists were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, the Del Rio Sector, the El Paso Sector, the Tucson Sector, the Yuma Sector, the El Centro Sector and the San Diego Sector.
In March, House Republicans demanded President Joe Biden’s administration release information on the number of apprehended illegal immigrants who are on the 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,” Reps. James Comer and John Katko – ranking members of the Oversight and Homeland Security committees – wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to Fox News.
“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 letter stated. “The American people deserve to know whether President Biden’s weak border policies are allowing terrorists to enter our homeland.”
“The American people deserve to know this information and the realities of the security situation we face at our broken borders, especially where terrorists attempt to gain entry to our country,” it added.
The FBI website states that the terrorist watchlist includes people who are “reasonably suspected” of being involved in terrorism or “related activities.”
“Most people on the terrorism watchlist are not Americans, and they have no known connection to the U.S,” the FBI’s website explains.
The report comes as the Biden administration braces for an expected surge of 500,000 illegal immigrants every month after pandemic-era restrictions are lifted at the southern border in May.
In December, the CBP took down a Border Patrol official’s posts on Twitter and Facebook that detailed the arrest of a “potential terrorist” because they said it contained “law enforcement sensitive information.”
Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris Clem tweeted that border agents had “apprehended a potential terrorist who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico.” The potential terrorist was wearing a local ambulance service jacket and photos were shared to social media.
“The 21-year-old migrant from Saudi Arabia is linked to several Yemeni subjects of interest,” Clem wrote in the now-deleted tweet.