US Border Patrol agents stopped 16 people on the FBI’s terror watch list who illegally crossed into the country from Mexico, authorities said this week — with new data showing border arrests this year are on pace to surpass 2022’s record.
The total number of encounters at the US-Mexico for fiscal year 2023 is now 69 and will likely exceed the 98 encounters documented last fiscal year, according to data released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Last month, agents at the southern border stopped 16 people who were on the FBI’s terror watch list, CBP said.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations has encountered 214 people on the Terrorist Screening Database at ports of entry at both the northern and southern border this fiscal year. During the fiscal year 2022, there were 380 apprehensions.
The number has jumped considerably compared to 157 in the fiscal year 2021 and 196 in the fiscal year 2020. Between 2017 and 2020 there were eight terror watch-list arrests between ports of entry and in 2021 there were only 15.
The Biden administration has presided over a record surge in illegal immigration — with nearly 2.4 million illegal border-crossing arrests in fiscal year 2022.
Migrants encountered on the Terrorist Screening Database are only a small fraction of the overall number of migrants — more than 150,000 in February — stopped at the US border. With the database numbers in mind, Republicans have urged Biden to better secure the border.
That number shot up from 1.7 million in fiscal 2021 but was less than the 500,000 arrests in 2020 and nearly 1 million in 2019. So far, 2023 is set to outpace that record, with over 762,000 Southwest border apprehensions recorded by CBP through January.
While numbers appear to be higher overall, there wasn’t much of a jump in total apprehensions between January when there were 128,877 people who crossed the border illegally and in February, when there were 128,913 total.
“The new border enforcement measures kept February’s overall encounter numbers nearly even with January,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller.
According to Miller, CBP has launched a new app to allow migrants the ability to schedule an appointment at a Port of Entry to request a humanitarian exception to the Title 42 public health order.
“The app cuts out the smugglers and decreases migrant exploitation,” Miller said. “CBP continues to make improvements to the app to address feedback we have received from stakeholders.”