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Report: Border Patrol encountered 17 individuals on the terror watch list at the southern border in November

In November, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data reveals 17 encounters with individuals on the FBI’s terror watch list between ports of entry at the southern border. This brings the total for Fiscal Year 2024, starting in October, to 30 such encounters. The watch list, officially known as the Terrorist Screening Dataset, includes information on terrorist identities, covering not only known or suspected terrorists but also their affiliates.

FY 2023 saw a record 169 terror watchlist encounters by Border Patrol between ports of entry at the southern border, surpassing fiscal year 2022’s record-setting total (98) and the combined total of the last six fiscal years. While encounters at the ports themselves are significantly higher, with 49 so far this fiscal year compared to 564 last year, the numbers between ports raise concerns.

The Department of Homeland Security’s threat assessment in October highlighted the increasing encounters with individuals on the watch list, warning that terrorists and criminal actors might exploit the elevated flow and complex security environment to enter the United States.

Despite being uncommon, encounters of watchlisted individuals at the borders raise concerns, given the potential for those with dangerous criminal histories or ties to enter the U.S. either as part of migrant groups or by evading Border Patrol as “gotaways.”

The number of terror watchlist encounters gained attention following the Hamas terror attack on Israel, with lawmakers expressing concerns about potential infiltration by terrorist fighters into the U.S.

The recent surge at the southern border has seen over 242,000 migrants encountered in November, marking the highest November on record and the third-highest month overall. Border Patrol, dealing with increased numbers after a record-breaking FY 2023, faced overwhelming situations, particularly in places like Lukeville, Arizona, and Eagle Pass, Texas. Monday recorded a record 12,600 encounters in a single day, and December is expected to exceed 200,000 encounters, surpassing November’s numbers, with agents encountering over 10,000 individuals daily.

According to Fox News, Border Patrol has released more than 386,000 illegal immigrants into the U.S. with notices to appear. This figure excludes those released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and migrants paroled into the U.S. via the CBP One app at ports of entry.

While border security measures and asylum limits are being debated in Washington, an agreement on the White House’s supplemental funding request, including $14 billion for border funding, is not expected before January. Republicans are pushing for greater limits on asylum and the use of humanitarian parole.

By: Montana Newsroom staff

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