Number of Individuals on Terrorist Watchlist Caught Trying to Illegally Cross U.S.-Mexico Border Skyrockets

Terence P. Jeffrey | September 1, 2022 | 3:11pm EDT
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The U.S.-Mexico border at San Luis, Arizona, on Aug. 19, 2022. (Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images)
The U.S.-Mexico border at San Luis, Arizona, on Aug. 19, 2022. (Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The number of individuals on the U.S. government’s terrorist watchlist discovered attempting to illegally sneak across the U.S.-Mexico border has skyrocketed during President Joe Biden’s time in office, according to data published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The number has risen from only 3 in fiscal 2020, the year before Biden was inaugurated, to 66 in the first ten months (October through July) of fiscal 2022.

In fiscal year 2017, the Border Patrol “encountered” only 2 non-U.S. citizens who were on the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS)—commonly known as the terrorist watchlist—as they tried to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border between the ports of entry.

 

In fiscal 2018, the Border Patrol encountered only 5 non-U.S. citizens, who were on the terrorist watchlist, and who were trying to illegally enter the United States between the ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In fiscal 2019, the Border Patrol did not encounter a single non-U.S. citizen, who was on the terrorist watchlist, and who was trying to illegally enter the United States between the ports on entry on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In fiscal 2020, the Border Patrol encountered only 3 non-U.S. citizens, who were on the terrorist watchlist, and who were trying to illegally enter the United States between the ports of entry.

In fiscal 2021, when President Biden took office, the number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist who were encountered by the Border Patrol trying to enter the United States between the ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border rose to 15.

So far in fiscal 2022—from October through July—it has risen to 66.

That is 22 times what it was (3) in all of fiscal 2020.

“The Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) – also known as the ‘watchlist’–is the U.S. government’s database that contains sensitive information on terrorist identities,” the Border Patrol says in its website. “The TSDS originated as the consolidated terrorist watchlist to house information on known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals.”

In addition to encountering individuals on the terrorist watchlist who try to enter the United States illegally between ports of entry, the CBP’s Office of Field Operations also encounters individuals on the terrorist watchlist who try to enter the United States through the ports of entry.

This year, the number of those encounters dropped as the number of encounters with those trying to sneak across the border between the ports of entry increased.

In fiscal 2017, CBP encountered 116 individuals on the terrorist watchlist trying the border at a port of entry. In fiscal 2018, they encountered 155; in fiscal 2019, it was 280; in 2020, it was 72; in 2021, it was 103; and, so far in 2022, it has dropped to 60.

 
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