Border Patrol agents intercepted a dozen individuals on the FBI’s Terrorist watchlist at the U.S. Mexico border in August, breaking records for this fiscal year as agents deal with a large influx of migrants at the border.
New data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) this week shows that Border Patrol agents encountered 12 individuals in August whose names were on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), which includes information about individuals who are known or suspected to be involved in terrorist activities.
The total encounters of individuals on the terror watchlist for this fiscal year have increased to a significant high, tripling the figure of the past five fiscal years combined.
The total number of apprehensions of individuals on the TSDB list in Fiscal Year 2022 increased to 78 with August’s interceptions, compared to two arrests in the Fiscal Year 2017, six in the Fiscal Year 2018, zero in the Fiscal Year 2019, three in the Fiscal Year 2020, and 15 in the Fiscal Year 2021.
The number reported by the CBP data might only be a small percentage of the individuals that attempted to cross the border and were caught by Border Patrol agents. Many other individuals on the list could have crossed the border along with the more than 500,000 gotaways—undocumented migrants who crossed the border without being caught—reported by the CBP this fiscal year.
The rise in encounters with individuals on the terror watchlist comes as an unprecedented number of migrants attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Border agents have encountered a total of 2,150,639 undocumented migrants this year, surpassing the 2 million mark for the first time in U.S. history, according to Department of Homeland Security data released this week.