(The Center Square) – An Afghan national on the federal Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) was apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California.
The TSDA is the federal government’s database that includes sensitive information about terrorist identities. It originated as a consolidated terrorist watch list “to house information on known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watch-listed individuals,” CBP states.
The Afghan national apprehended in California was identified after a fingerprint scan showed he was in the TSDA. Information about his identification hasn’t been released.
In January, The Center Square reported on 38 known or suspected terrorists apprehended in the first three months of fiscal 2023 and in March, newly reported CBP data showed the number was nearly 10 times greater.
Data as of May 15 shows the number of foreign nationals believed to be known or suspected terrorists illegally entering the U.S. is even higher.
In fiscal 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations agents apprehended 67 KSTs at ports of entry and 98 between ports of entry at the southern border, totaling 165. At northern border ports of entry, they apprehended 313. Combined, CBP OFO agents apprehended 478 KSTs in fiscal 2022.
Fiscal year to date, OFO agents have apprehended 45 KSTs at ports of entry and 80 between ports of entry at the southern border, totaling 125. At the northern border, the numbers are still higher: 205 at ports of entry and two between ports of entry. So far, that’s 332 this fiscal year who’ve been apprehended trying to enter the U.S.
Law enforcement officers have expressed concerns about the unknown number who’ve illegally entered and haven’t been caught.
In response, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, who represents the district where the Afghan was apprehended, issued a statement, saying, “Biden’s open borders aren’t just a gateway to five million illegals, record human and child trafficking and the deadliest drug crisis in our history. Biden’s reckless policy is also an open invitation to even the most wanted terrorists in the world to come to America.
“They know they’ll never have to leave. The nation knows what’s going on and this president has only begun to be held accountable for what he has done.”
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas continues to claim the border is closed and that agents are prepared and able to handle the influx of people. DHS also expanded the use of America’s first ever CBPOne App to allow people to apply to enter from other countries while not even on U.S. soil. He’s also directed thousands of federal personnel to “scale up processing efforts.”
This is as south Texas is experiencing an ongoing record influx of people in the past few weeks. A group of 15,000 Haitians demanded entry and 15,000 Venezeulans were released entering through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and another 23,000 are reportedly en route to Del Rio, Texas.