The recent reports on the porous border highlight the national security risks associated with unchecked illegal migration. Border Patrol’s apprehension of 127 individuals who appear on the FBI terror watchlist in FY 2023 is deeply concerning. This number includes apprehensions on both the southern and northern borders, indicating that the problem is not confined to a specific region.
What’s even more alarming is that the number of apprehensions in FY 2023 has already surpassed the total from the previous fiscal year, just eight months into the year. The fact that this figure is at its highest level in the last four years is a clear indication of the worsening situation. Out of the total apprehensions in FY 2023, 98 individuals matched the FBI watchlist, although their nationalities were not disclosed.
While it’s true that not all individuals on the watchlist may pose a direct terror threat, it is crucial not to take chances when it comes to national security. The aftermath of the September 11 attacks taught us to remain vigilant and consider worst-case scenarios. Relying on the opinion of a libertarian think tank, such as the Cato Institute, may not be sufficient when the potential risks are so high.
Previous data from the Department of Homeland Security revealed that a significant number of known or suspected terrorists arrested by Border Patrol were Colombian citizens, not individuals from terrorist hotspots in the Eastern Hemisphere. Although some of these individuals may be affiliated with delisted organizations, their names still appear on the watchlist.
Additionally, the demographic makeup of illegal immigrants crossing the border has shifted over the years. While Mexicans used to make up the majority, individuals from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have now surpassed them. In 2021, over 1.1 million illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico and the Northern Triangle were apprehended, accounting for 32% of the total.
The situation becomes even more troubling when considering all ports of entry, including air, sea, and land. At these points, 337 noncitizens seeking admission in 2023 were found to be on the FBI watchlist, a significantly higher number than the 127 reported by Border Patrol alone.
It is essential to acknowledge that these figures only account for those who are apprehended, leaving a significant number of “gotaways” unaccounted for. These individuals evade Border Patrol and disappear into the interior of the United States. With the number of illegal immigrants apprehended during FY 2023 reaching 1.33 million as of May, the magnitude of the problem cannot be ignored.
While the Biden administration may claim success in securing the southern border and implementing changes, it is crucial to approach these statements with skepticism. The evidence suggests that the border crisis is far from under control, and the risks to national security continue to grow. A porous border poses a direct threat to the safety and well-being of the American people, and it is imperative that comprehensive measures be taken to address this pressing issue.