Federal law enforcement caught at least 23 suspected terrorists crossing the southern border last year, according to documents revealed exclusively by Fox News and published Monday.
The 23 individuals were named on the terror watchlist, including four in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, four in the Del Rio Sector, four in the El Centro Sector, four in the San Diego Sector, three in the El Paso Sector, two in the Tuscon Sector, and two in the Yuma Sector, according to Fox News based on records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) is a government record to maintain information related to those who are known or “reasonably suspected” of engagement in terrorist activity. Most individuals listed are foreign nationals with no connection to the United States, according to the FBI, which doesn’t confirm individuals’ status on the list. Republicans, however, have made repeated demands the Biden administration disclose how many on the list have been apprehended at the border.
In August, retiring U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott warned his 19,000 agents that known or suspected terrorists were entering the United States “at a level we have never seen before.”
“Over and over again, I see other people talk about our mission, your mission, and the context of it being immigration or the current crisis today being an immigration crisis,” said Scott. “I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right, now it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.”
Last month, eight House Republicans led by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security demanded hearings about the release of a suspected terrorist who swam across the Rio Grande River.
Lebanon-born Venezuelan Issam Bazzi was reportedly released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) despite being listed on the FBI terrorism database. Citing “highly derogatory information,” the FBI worried Bazzi posed a flight risk and recommended detention. Leaked documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) however, show Bazzi was released from custody to pursue asylum in Michigan.
“There is no known case in which a foreign national who pinged on a terror watch list was simply released on his own recognizance,” lawmakers wrote in February month demanding a hearing from their Democrat colleagues. “The facts in the case strongly suggest that the Biden Administration failed to follow appropriate protocols with respect to suspected terrorists.”
After President Joe Biden’s border crisis erupted last spring with arrests at an all-time record, Federalist Senior Editor John Davidson warned in October, “Left Unchecked, Biden’s Border Crisis Will Become The New Normal.”
“Never before have federal authorities made so many arrests at the southwest border,” Davidson wrote after agents arrested 1,659,206 in the fiscal year. “This year topped the previous record in 2000 by about 15,000 illegal immigrants, marking a new milestone in what has become the dreary annals of America’s porous and crisis-stricken border.”
According to Fox News, more than 62,000 illegal immigrants, an average of 2,000 per day, evaded law enforcement while entering the country in March. More than 300,000 others have already been declared “gotaways,” or “migrants who escaped capture by border patrol since the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.”