Follow Us

Border encounters of migrants with suspected terror ties jumped 15% last month

DHS Secretary Mayorkas said he would provide Rep. Issa with the deportation or incarceration status of the suspected terrorists encountered at the border but Issa's office hasn't received the information nearly 1 month later

Published: August 21, 2023 11:27pm

Updated: August 22, 2023 6:34am

The number of migrants with suspected terror ties encountered at U.S. "land border ports of entry" increased 15% in one month, according to the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

A total amount of individuals who appear on the terrorist watchlist caught at ports of entry jumped from 382 to 442 after CBP publicly released its July 2023 operational data. So far into fiscal year 2023, 70 have been caught at the southwest border and 372 have been caught at the northern border. 

This represents the highest amount for this category, formally referred to as Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS), since fiscal year 2020.

The number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist encountered "between ports of entry" rose from 143 to 149 so far into fiscal year 2023, according to the latest data. Of the 149 total, 146 have been encountered at the southwest border and 3 have been encountered at the northern border, which is the highest amount for this category of encounters since at least fiscal year 2017, the earliest year on the CBP data chart.

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa pressed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the status of the suspected terrorists encountered at the U.S. border during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in July.

Issa asked Mayorkas how many suspected terrorists have been deported, put in jail or released but Mayorkas didn't answer. Instead, he vowed to provide the information to Issa at a later date. When reached by Just the News, Issa's office said it had not received that information yet, almost 1 month since the hearing took place.

Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, shared his reaction to the latest CBP data involving suspected terrorists at the border.

Just the News asked Rogers why he thinks there has been a record numbers of suspected terrorists encountered this fiscal year when compared to previous years.

"While the Biden Administration conveniently avoids even thinking about the Southern border, terrorists understand fully that the border is a point of weakness for our country," he said Monday. "Biden’s open border policy is a dangerous vulnerability for our national security, and these numbers only prove that terrorists are exploiting that weakness."

Just the News asked Michael O'Hanlon, director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution, what he thinks is driving the increasing number of suspected terrorists at the border.

"My first guess is that perhaps terror watch lists have grown dramatically, or the methodology for developing them has created a higher proclivity of certain people trying to cross to be coded as terrorist watch list suspects. In other words, I suspect a statistical glitch or change," said O'Hanlon, director of the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, on Monday.

"However, I cannot rule out the possibility of greater attempts to get into the US by true terrorists. I’d want to know more about the specific individuals, the reasons they are on the watch lists, and what they say about their intentions when in interviews," he added.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook


Just the News Spotlight

Support Just the News