Sixteen people on the FBI’s terror watch-list — mixed in with record-breaking numbers of migrants illegally entering the United States — were stopped along the U.S.-Mexico border last month, authorities said.
According to data reported by Fox News, those numbers raised the total amount of such encounters at the southern border this year to 69, which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents expect to continue increasing and shatter last fiscal year’s 98 encounters.
CBP Office of Field Operations authorities reported that the agency had encountered at least 214 people on the Terrorist Screening Database along both the southern and northern border ports of entry in the current fiscal year.
It was not immediately known the identities of the 16 terror watch-list individuals.
In the fiscal year 2022, authorities apprehended 380 such individuals.
Between 2017 and 2020, the news outlet reported that authorities apprehended eight terror watch-list members between ports of entry. In 2021, agents encountered 15 individuals named on the FBI’s list.
The rise in terror watch-list arrests at the border pairs with surge of as many as 4.9 million migrants who have crossed into the United States under the administration of President Joe Biden, according to data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
CPB authorities encountered more than 2.3 million migrants in fiscal year 2022, with more than 80,000 migrants entering through El Paso between August and December last year.
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The New York Post reported that CBP authorities apprehended 128,877 people who crossed the border illegally in January and another 128,913 in February; the agency has attributed new measures recently implemented for the slight drop in encounters.
“The new border enforcement measures kept February’s overall encounter numbers nearly even with January,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller.
Fox News reported that the outlet obtained the data within hours after Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told House Homeland Security Committee officials during a hearing in McAllen, Texas, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have operational control of the border.
DHS officials repeatedly claim the agency enforces laws that secure the national borders to combat cartels and smugglers.
“Despite inheriting a dismantled immigration system and facing unprecedented migration that is affecting nations throughout the Western Hemisphere, this administration has surged resources to the border, reducing the number of encounters between ports of entry, disrupting more smuggling operations than ever before, and interdicting more drugs in the last two years than had been stopped in the five years prior,” a spokesperson told Fox News.
Biden administration officials have accused Republican lawmakers of not approving border funding requests from the federal government. However, GOP officials argue the president’s policies are the primary cause of the border crisis.