Six potential terrorists were detained by border patrol as they tried to illegally enter the US from Mexico on Friday and Saturday – marking 88 people on the same FBI watchlist nabbed on the border in 2023.
Five men were caught trying to cross the border between official points of entry by Arizona border patrol in the Tucson Sector on Saturday, according to a report by Breitbart. At least one of the men was a Pakistani national, according to the Washington Examiner.
All were found to be non-US citizens who were on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Dataset which records known or suspected terrorists, or associates of both.
They join another man identified as an Afghan migrant who was arrested on Friday in Otay Mesa, California.
The six arrested last week join 82 recorded between October and April by Customs and Border Protection.
It is highly likely the 2023 total terror watchlist arrests will surpass the 98 recorded in 2022 and set a new record, as there are still four months to go until the end of the Department of Homeland Security’s financial year on September 30.
In 2021 only 16 non-US citizens on the FBI’s terror watchlist were apprehended at the border, while for each year between 2017 and 2020 the number was less than 10.
For security reasons, the identities of the arrested individuals cannot be disclosed. Their cases are referred to the bureau’s joint terrorism task force for further investigation, according to the report.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond said of the arrest in his state: “The presence of an individual on the terror watch lists crossing our borders is a stark reminder of the failures of the Federal Government that are now being put on San Diegans and Americans.
He added: “The open border policy has allowed fentanyl to pour into our country, asylum seekers to be human trafficked, and terrorists to attempt entry into our country.”
Several spokespersons for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the FBI did not respond to the New York Post’s requests for confirmation.
Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent John R. Modlin did not address the terrorist watchlist arrests directly, but Tweeted on May 16: “On Friday, Ajo Station agents encountered a group of 291 migrants. This was followed by 208 on Saturday and 213 on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, 330 alleged gang members have apprehended at the border in 2023 as of April 18, including 97 members of feared MS-13 and 65 members of Paisas as well as members of the Latin Kings, 18th Street, Tango Blast and Sur-13 Surenos gangs.
Friday marked the first-day post-Title 42, and the end of a week that saw record-breaking migrant surges at the border.
There were 67,759 apprehensions, and about 15,780 “gotaways” who came over the border without being caught last week alone, USBP Chief Raul Ortiz said.