‘Tremendous concern’ that felons, terrorists among millions of ‘gotaways’ entering US, says border chief

News & Politics

In Modlin’s opening statement to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, he explained that many migrants crossing into the U.S. through the Tucson sector are single adult males, not families with small children.

According to Modlin, the Tucson Sector is an “arduous and inhospitable” 262-mile section. He stated that the migrants crossing the border deliberately attempt to avoid detection and capture because many are “previously deported felons” who “pose a serious threat to our communities.”

During the hearing, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R) asked Modlin, “Under the current situation, would it be possible for foreign intelligence assets to penetrate the United States’ interior?”

Modlin replied, “To speculate who could possibly be in the ‘gotaways,’ or the unknowns that we know, would just simply be speculation. All I can tell you is that it is a tremendous concern that anyone goes through the border undetected. But the reality is, we know there are people that are getting by.”

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Customs and Border Protection apprehended 98 individuals in fiscal year 2022 who appeared on the terror watchlist, according to the Post. So far, in the 2023 fiscal year, 38 individuals have been apprehended at the border after they were identified as terrorists, suspected terrorists, or believed to be associated with terrorists.

“We went from what I would describe as ‘unprecedented’ to a point where I don’t have the correct adjective to describe what’s going on,” Modlin stated.

He speculated that the increase in encounters was due partly to migrants believing that the Biden administration supported open-border policies.

“Interviewing [migrants] post-arrest, what became the most common response was that they believed that when the administration changed, the policy changed, and that there was an open border,” Modlin said

The Border Patrol currently employs approximately 19,300 agents but needs 22,000 to keep up with the migrant crisis.

“Agency-wide, we recognize we need more people,” Modlin said. “I certainly know I do not have enough agents within Tucson sector to deal with the flow that we’re dealing with now.”

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