Border Patrol agents stopped 17 people on the FBI’s Southern Border terror watch list in December, bringing the total number of people arrested at the Southern Border for the current fiscal year to 38.
The latest Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures for December, released on Friday, revealed that border patrol have arrested 17 people at the southern border whose names match the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) — the information on Contains the identities of those known or reasonably suspected to be involved in terrorist activities.
December figures bring the total number of arrests on terror watch lists between ports of entry since the start of fiscal year 2023 on October 1-38.
There were 98 terror watch list arrests in FY22, 15 in FY21 and only three in FY20 at the southern border between ports of entry.
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SASABE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 23: A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands on a cliff and searches for migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border wall near the town of Sasabe, Arizona, Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Photo by Salwan Georges/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
At ports of entry on the northern and southern borders, CBP’s Office of Field Operations has met 125 people in the TSDB so far this fiscal year. There were 380 arrests in FY2022, 157 in FY21 and 196 in FY20.
While the numbers encountered by Border Patrol represent only a tiny fraction of the more than 251,000 migrants encountered at the southern border in December, it has not only raised concerns among Republicans about some of the people trying to enter the United States — it has also how many might slip past overwhelmed border guards.
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CBP sources told Fox News this week that there were more than 70,000 escape attempts in December, similar to November. In the 2022 financial year there were almost 600,000.
Republicans have pointed to the massive numbers at the border, including escape attempts, to dispute the Biden administration’s claim that the border is “safe.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, said this week that it is dealing with a mass migration that has “swept our hemisphere.”
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“The threats and challenges we face are evolving, becoming more diverse and dynamic. But we can meet this moment if and only if we work together,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at the US Mayors’ Conference.
He also said that DHS is “implementing a comprehensive strategy to secure our borders and build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system operating in a broken system that is in dire need of legislative reform.”
But Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have promised to scrutinize government policies in the wake of the new numbers and to target “this refusal to enforce law and order at the border.”
“We look forward to having Secretary Mayorkas soon before the committee to provide answers and accountability for the significant threat this border security policy has posed to our homeland security posture,” Chairman Mark Green said in a statement Friday.
Adam Shaw is a political reporter for Fox News Digital, covering immigration and border security.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at Twitter.