Border Patrol apprehends 70 migrants on terror watchlist in past six months

The agency had 98 encounters with people of the watch list for entire fiscal year at ports of entry, reportedly more than the total for during the Trump administration.

Published: March 20, 2023 7:09am

Updated: March 20, 2023 12:40pm

Border Patrol agents have apprehended 70 migrants on the Terrorist Screening Dataset, also known as the FBI's terror "watchlist," between ports of entry so far this fiscal year, which started in October 2022. 

Most of the terror watchlist suspects – 69 – were discovered by agents after entering through the southern border with Mexico and just one came from the northern border with Canada, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics released last week. 

Last fiscal year, 98 terror watchlist encounters occurred between ports of entry, a record high that exceed the number during the entire Trump administration. The government defines these encounters as occurring in areas where Border Patrol officers operate outside of the more than 300 official ports of entry where people can legally enter the U.S.

This fiscal year is on pace to set a new record with terror watchlist encounters between ports of entry.

Border Patrol also had 313 encounters with terror watchlist suspects at Canadian land borders last fiscal year, setting another record high. However, encounters of terror watchlist suspects at the southern border fell to a record low of 67.

It is unclear at the time of publication what Customs and Border Protection means by encounters "between ports of entry."

The increased terror watchlist encounters come after a record number of 2.4 million migrants illegally crossed the border last fiscal year.

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