Terror Watchlist Migrant Crossings Raises Security Alarms

In a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security, an alarming trend has emerged regarding migration from countries with terrorism concerns to the United States. The first half of the 2024 fiscal year saw almost 25,000 such migrants enter the country. The large majority of them were military-aged males traveling alone. That is a 6% increase over the entire 2023 fiscal year. A significant part of those causing the increase are coming from Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Those locations have been flagged for combined risks from organized crime and terrorism.

Special Interest Countries, including Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Lebanon, have also seen a dramatic increase in migration. The term “Special Interest Alien” (SIA) defines non-U.S. individuals who may pose a national security risk due to their travel patterns suggesting potential terrorism ties. The need for extensive investigation of every single migrant entering the country has never been greater. Yet, exacerbated by policies under the Biden administration, the current border crisis has overwhelmed the capacity for such thorough vetting.

“When you are apprehending thousands each day, it is a struggle to conduct thorough interviews and investigations on each and every one, even those from Special Interest Countries,” a source explained to Breitbart News.

Further complicating the matter, the U.S. Border Patrol has apprehended 342 illegal border crossers listed on the Terrorist Screening Dataset since 2017, with numbers significantly increasing in recent years. This includes individuals from al-Shabaab, highlighting lapses in security measures that allowed a terrorist to roam free in the United States for almost a year after being released due to a watchlist mismatch. Although later arrested by ICE, this incident underscores potential threats slipping through the cracks.

Historical records show that nine foreign-born terrorists entered the U.S. illegally from 1975 to 2023, with only three crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as children and later plotting an attack on Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 2007.

The recent surge in migration from Special Interest Countries poses a complex challenge to U.S. border security and immigration policy. The Biden administration’s approach to handling this influx has faced criticism for potentially compromising national security by not adequately vetting individuals before their release into the country. The apprehension of a known terrorist post-release highlights the dire consequences of such policy gaps.

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