What will it take for the Biden administration to finally start taking the crisis at the southern border seriously? It’s a question many have asked as the issue, which began shortly after President Joe Biden took office, has continued to worsen.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has resorted to busing migrants to Washington, D.C. and New York City. Arizona Doug Ducey has followed suit. So far, the Abbott Express has sent over 6,000 illegal immigrants to these cities to force them to deal with the consequences of the open borders policies they support.
Republicans and Democrats have criticized the administration for its failure to stem the flow of migrants to the southern border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have had hundreds of thousands of encounters with illegals trying to enter the country legally and illegally. The agency has been stretched thin by the effort – which has also emboldened Mexican cartels and their human smuggling operations.
Now, a new report shows that a troubling number of individuals tied to terrorist organizations have been apprehended at the border. This raises another disturbing question: How many are eluding the authorities and successfully sneaking into the country? Will it take a terrorist attack on American soil carried out by someone who crossed the southern border to finally motivate the White House to take action?
A report from CBP revealed that Border Patrol agents detained ten people who are on a terror watch list in July. “The report, detailing CBP enforcement statistics for Fiscal Year 2022, highlighted a number of details of CBP’s work, including more than 1.8 million total Border Patrol encounters. Those encounters included the apprehension of a total of 66 people who are on the Terrorist Screening Dataset,” according to Fox News.
“Encounters of watchlisted individuals at our borders are very uncommon, underscoring the critical work CBP Agents and Officers carry out every day on the frontlines,” the report read.
The 66 people apprehended at the border in Fiscal Year 2022 is more than double that were caught over the past five years combined.
Overall, there have been 1,822,160 encounters with migrants at the border in Fiscal Year 2022, which is a sharp increase from last year, which saw 1,662,167 encounters. It is also four times the number of encounters that occurred in 2020 when Border Patrol had 405,036 encounters.
This is shaping up to be an even more severe problem than it seemed previously.
Two weeks ago, Republican senators warned about the threat of terrorists sneaking into the country through the southern border. From the Washington Times:
The senators pointed to data showing the Border Patrol has nabbed 56 people whose names were flagged in the terrorism database since Oct. 1 — a record. They said if that many are being caught, more are getting through.
“Given the unprecedented number of ‘got-aways’ – 500,000 that we know about since last October – it is a near certainty that other individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database have entered the United States undetected, via our open southern border,” the senators, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The lawmakers suggested that this issue could be even more serious in the wake of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayan al-Zawahiri in a U.S. drone strike. The leader had called for terrorist attacks on American soil.
Indeed, in May, the FBI uncovered a plot to smuggle terrorists into the country to assassinate former President George W. Bush. Their plan was to bring in these operatives over the porous southern border to carry out their plot.
After the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, al Qaeda has been trying to grow its numbers. But the group, along with the Islamic State (ISIS), has been increasing its activity in Africa.
It might seem like the apprehensions of 66 terrorists at the southern border isn’t that high of a number. But the fact that it only took 18 people to pull off the 9/11 terrorist attacks demonstrates that the issue could be more serious than it seems. Additionally, as the senators warned, there could be plenty more operatives who evaded the authorities at the border and are residing in the country at this very moment.
Hopefully, it won’t have to come to America experiencing another terrorist attack for the members of Biden’s team to wake up. The administration announced it would resume construction of the border wall near Yuma, Arizona. But more measures will be needed if the government is going to safeguard Americans from foreign threats.