U.S. border officials reveal number of suspected terrorists trying to cross the border

The report comes following months of pressure by GOP members of Congress to reveal the extent to which individuals listed on the Terrorist Screening Database were apprehended at the border by trying to enter the United States illegally.

U.S. border officials reveal number of suspected terrorists trying to cross the border
AP Photo/Moises Castillo
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The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has begun revealing the numbers of individuals encountered at the border whose names are present on the terror watch list.

The report comes following months of pressure by GOP members of Congress to reveal the extent to which individuals listed on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) were apprehended at the border by trying to enter the United States illegally.

As reported by Fox News, the CBP and the Department of Homeland Security had stopped posting the numbers publicly following Biden’s inauguration in January 2021. The government agencies declared that the information was “law enforcement sensitive” despite the fact that the Trump administration had made those numbers publicly available in the years prior.

The new details show that the total number of TSDB encounters saw a substantial increase since 2017, which only saw 333 such encounters. Of the total number of encounters that year, 217 took place at the northern border with Canada. The remaining 116 occurred at the southern border with Mexico.

In contrast to 2017, fiscal year (FY) 2019 saw 538 such encounters, which went down to 196 in FY 2020 and 157 in FY 2021.

According to Fox News, FY 2022 is already on track to outpace last year's numbers, with 131 TSDB encounters only several months into the fiscal year.

“96 encountered at the northern border and 35 at the southern border,” the publication reported. “As for those encountered by Border Patrol entering between ports of entry, the numbers have increased from two encounters in FY 2017 to 16 in FY 2021 (15 of whom were encountered at the southern border). So far in FY 2022, that number is already higher, with 27 TSDB encounters — all of them at the southern border.”

The number of encounters listed by the CBP does not include any individuals who managed to escape detection or capture. An estimated 62,000 illegal aliens managed to gain entry into the United States in March alone. The figure amounts to around 2,000 so-called “gotaways” per day.

Fox News reported:

In a letter reviewed by Fox News Digital dated April 26 to Homeland Security Ranking Member Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus committed to providing updates on TSDB data each month on CBP's website.

It appears CBP first posted the TSDB data the following day on April 27.

Former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott had repeatedly sounded the alarm over the number of TSDBs coming across the border, telling fellow agents last year that it was "at a level we have never seen before."

"The American people deserve to know this information and the realities of the security situation we face at our broken borders, especially where terrorists attempt to gain entry to our country," Reps. Katko (R-NY) and James Comer (R-KY), stated in the letter.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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