New data released by Customs and Border Protection revealed that Border Patrol agents apprehended 16 people on the FBI’s terror watch list last month. The individuals on the agency’s Terrorist Screening Database were arrested while attempting to illegally cross the Mexico border into the United States in February.
Since the start of CBP’s fiscal year 2023, which started in October, 69 people on the FBI’s terror watch list have been captured at the southern border. So far this year, CBP’s Office of Field Operations has encountered 214 terror watch list individuals at the northern and southern ports of entry.
The terror watch list encounters at the southern border are on track to outpace last year’s 98 apprehensions.
Between fiscal years 2017 and 2020, only eight individuals on the FBI’s terror watch list were arrested. In the fiscal year 2021, another 15 individuals were apprehended at the southern border.
CBP’s latest data revealed more than 150,000 total encounters at the southern border in February, approximately the same number of migrants encountered in January.
In fiscal year 2022, there were a record-breaking nearly 2.4 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, fiscal year 2023 is on track to outpace last year with over 1 million encounters already.
CBP acting Commissioner Troy Miller reported that CBP launched a new app to enable migrants to schedule an appointment at a port of entry.
Miller stated, “The new border enforcement measures kept February’s overall encounter numbers nearly even with January.”
“The app cuts out the smugglers and decreases migrant exploitation,” Miller added. “CBP continues to make improvements to the app to address feedback we have received from stakeholders.”
The agency’s latest data was released hours after Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told lawmakers that the Department of Homeland Security does not have control of the southern border.
Republicans have repeatedly called on the Biden administration to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and put an end to the surge of illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
The administration blamed Republican lawmakers for rejecting a border funding request in December of $5 billion. Republicans argued that the border crisis is due to failing policies and not a lack of funding.
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense is spending $130,000 per day to store and maintain unused border wall panels instead of using the material to secure the remaining gaps in the border.
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