According to a study, at least 23 individuals attempting to illegally cross the southern border in 2021 were on the FBI’s terror watch list.
According to a Fox News report on Monday, US Customs and Border Protection statistics show that between January 20 and December 27, 2021, there were 23 border encounters with people whose names appeared on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database.
Eleven incidents were reported in Texas, four in Arizona, and eight in California, according to data Fox News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed last December.
The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center maintains the terror watch list, which was formed after the 9/11 attacks to combine several prior terrorist watch lists. According to the FBI, this list contains data on persons who are reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorism (or related activities).
In March, Fox News claimed that House Republicans on the Oversight and Homeland Security committees had requested the Biden administration to disclose how many terror suspects have been discovered at the southern border.
“Several individuals with terrorist connections have been recently captured after illegally crossing the border, and such encounters appear to be on the rise, according to reporting,” Reps. James Comer (R-Ky.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“The American people have a right to know whether President Biden’s porous border policies are allowing terrorists to enter the United States,” they added.
The southern border is unsecured, allowing criminals and terrorist organizations to enter the United States. Republicans have argued that an open southern border exposes national security to risks from terrorists, drug cartels, human traffickers, and other criminal individuals. In 2016, Donald Trump, a Republican candidate for president, capitalized on this issue by bringing it to the forefront of his campaign by promising to construct a wall along the Mexico border and implement other physical barriers in order to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country.
Democrats, on the other hand, have argued that they do support border security and believe in a fair and inclusive approach to refugees. Following his election in 2020, Joe Biden began working to repeal many of Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration measures and put a stop to the construction of the border wall.
The Biden administration has also announced that it will repeal a Trump-era policy known as Title 42, which forced migrants to wait outside of the country for their asylum claims to be processed and gave expedited authority to border agents to deport illegal immigrants. The order will no longer be in effect on May 23, but some government officials have predicted that unlawful immigration would increase even more following its repeal.
The number of migrants expected to flood the border once Title 42 ends is estimated at 18,000 additional migrants every day.
Illegal immigration has increased under Biden’s leadership as a result of his perceived tolerance toward immigrants, according to critics. In March, border patrols apprehended 210,000 migrants crossing the US-Mexico boundary, the most in nearly two decades and a 24% increase from one year prior, according to Reuters. About half of the people encountered at the border in March were returned under Title 42 legislation.
Republicans and some moderate Democrats have urged President Biden to postpone the repeal of Title 42, while U.S. Senate bills have been introduced on the subject.