Five Migrants on FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist Apprehended at US Border
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The porous border situation continues to present potential national security risks, as demonstrated by the recent apprehension of five migrants on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) watchlist in the Tucson Sector.
The arrests occurred shortly after the end of Title 42, a public health policy enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed for the immediate expulsion of migrants apprehended at the border. The unnamed source within Customs and Border Protection who reported these apprehensions to the media did not disclose specific information about the arrested migrants’ demographics or nationalities.
These recent arrests highlight a broader issue. According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report, a total of 82 individuals on the TSDB have been apprehended after illegally crossing U.S. borders this fiscal year, with 80 crossing the southwest border and two crossing the northern border with Canada.
This number is a marked increase compared to the 14 migrants apprehended during the four fiscal years of the Trump administration (FY 17 through FY 20). Under the current administration, agents have apprehended 196 known or suspected terrorists on the list in just over two fiscal years.
The TSDB is a tool maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) to monitor individuals reasonably suspected to be involved in terrorism or related activities.
While most people on the terrorism watchlist are not Americans and have no known connection to the U.S., the recent arrests at the border underline the ongoing security concerns associated with illegal border crossings.
The FBI’s JTTF handles further investigation and identity confirmation of migrants whose names appear in the TSDB, determining subsequent actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security related to potential consequences for these individuals.
The border situation remains a significant challenge for the U.S. government, and these recent arrests underscore the importance of border security in maintaining national security.