Over 80 Terror Watchlist suspects found at southern U.S. border under Biden: Texas Gov. Abbott

Abbott said Biden's "refusal to secure the border is a direct threat to our national security."

Updated: September 1, 2022 - 9:22am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Border Patrol agents have encountered over 80 Terror Watchlist suspects at the southern U.S. border since President Biden took office less than two years ago, a dramatic increase from previous years, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says.

Border officers encountered 66 non-U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism from October 2021 to July 2022, according to the  most recent data for this fiscal year.

Agents encountered 15 suspected terrorists in fiscal 2021, when some Trump administration policies were still in effect for several months. 

"80+ terrorists on the Terror Watchlist have been encountered along our southern border since Pres. Biden took office," Gov. Abbott tweeted Tuesday. "His refusal to secure the border is a direct threat to our national security."

From fiscal years 2017 to 2020, Terror Watchlist encounters were far lower, with no year having over six encounters.

Abbott pledged that his border state is "stepping up to protect Americans from these dangerous criminals."

Under Abbott's direction, the Texas National Guard and state troopers are ordered to arrest and forcibly return illegal migrants.