Record-breaking apprehensions of individuals on the terrorist watch list at the northern border

In the first half of fiscal 2024, the apprehension of known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) at the northern border surpassed those at the southwest border.

According to the latest data from CBP, a total of 143 KSTs have been apprehended at the northern border in the first six months of this fiscal year, compared to 92 at the southwest border.

The individuals who have been apprehended are already familiar to law enforcement and are included in the national Terrorist Screening Dataset, a federal database that holds confidential data about terrorist identities. Initially designed as a centralized watchlist for known or suspected terrorists, the database has expanded over the past decade to include other individuals who may pose a potential threat to the United States, including those connected to individuals already on the watchlist, as clarified by CBP.

According to a report by The Center Square, the number of foreign nationals illegally entering through the northern border has reached an all-time high in U.S. history.

In fiscal 2023, the northern border witnessed the highest number of KSTs ever apprehended in U.S. history, totaling 484 individuals. This is followed by the second-highest number of 313 KSTs apprehended at the northern border in fiscal 2022, as per the data provided by CBP.

According to a report by The Center Square, the highest number of KSTs apprehended at both the northern and southern borders occurred in fiscal 2023, with a total of 736. Historically, the northern border has consistently seen a greater number of KSTs apprehended compared to the southwest border, as reported by The Center Square.

According to former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan, the numbers are alarming and raise concerns about the individuals on the FBI terrorist watch list who enter our country every day. He emphasizes that it is not a matter of if or when the threat will come, but rather that it is already here. This is evident in the at least two million “gotaways” who have illegally entered the country and managed to evade capture.

According to a law enforcement official, although the number of illegal entries at the northern border is significantly lower than those at the southwest border, the threat should not be underestimated. The official highlighted the lack of infrastructure, technology, and personnel at the northern border, making it vulnerable to security risks. Therefore, it is important to recognize the potential threat posed by illegal activities at the northern border.

Throughout his impressive law enforcement career spanning over 30 years, Morgan has held various notable positions. Notably, he served as the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Prior to these roles, Morgan spent two decades with the FBI, where he tackled a range of crucial assignments, including combatting organized crime, countering gangs, and leading counterterrorism operations.

In January, Morgan, along with a group of retired FBI counterintelligence officials, cautioned Congress about the border policies of the presidents. They expressed concerns that these policies had allowed for a “soft invasion” of the United States by military-age men from regions linked to terrorism, such as China and Russia.

The presence of a large number of young single adult males from hostile nations and regions within our borders poses a significant danger that cannot be ignored. Their backgrounds, intentions, and allegiances remain completely unknown. Border officials have encountered many of these individuals, some of whom have been released into the country, while others have managed to enter and evade apprehension, referred to as “gotaways.” The gravity of this situation cannot be overstated, as it poses a serious threat to national security.

According to a report by The Center Square, the majority of the over 11 million foreign nationals who have entered the U.S. illegally since January 2021 are single men of military age.

According to The Center Square, the number of illegal entries into the United States continues to rise, with this fiscal year seeing a record-breaking figure. In the first six months of fiscal 2024, over 1.7 million foreign nationals entered the U.S. illegally, marking the highest number ever recorded for this time period in American history.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has issued a warning earlier this year about individuals connected to the terrorist group ISIS. He has made several remarks about the increased terrorist threats following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th.

House Republicans are seeking answers from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the number of KSTs that have been released into the country.

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas, recently proposed a bill that aims to mandate federal agents to conduct thorough screenings of all individuals who enter the country illegally. The screenings would involve checking every individual against the terrorist watch list.

Morgan commended the efforts of CBP and Border Patrol agents in apprehending KSTs. However, he also expressed concerns about the growing number of individuals who are not being caught due to the overwhelming influx and the diversion of agents from their primary duty of maintaining national security.

FBI Director Christopher Wray emphasized the ongoing challenges of monitoring individuals on the terrorist watch list who attempt to enter the country. In an interview with The Center Square, Wray stated, “Every single day, we encounter individuals on the watch list trying to come into the country. It would be naive to believe that we are able to catch every single one of them. Moreover, we also face difficulties in identifying everyone on the watch list.” Wray’s remarks shed light on the complex task of ensuring national security and the ongoing efforts required to stay vigilant against potential threats.

“How many individuals on the watchlist, who have been apprehended for illegally entering the United States, have been released? And how many of them have claimed asylum and been granted entry?”

“We have missed numerous national security threats that have made their way into the United States. These threats remain unknown to us, as we have no information about their whereabouts or their intentions.”

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MBS Staff
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