CBP data shows skyrocketing apprehensions of terror suspects, gang members, and convicted criminals

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


In Fiscal Year 2022, U.S. border agents apprehended 78 people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally who are listed on the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) — commonly referred to as the “terrorist watchlist” — as well as 15,558 foreign nationals with criminal convictions, and 697 known gang members, according to CBP data.

The numbers show that 78 is three times the total apprehensions of potential terrorists combined over the past four years, The Center Square pointed out in a recent report on the data revelations.

While border agents apprehended a staggering 15,558 foreign nationals with criminal convictions so far in FY 2022, they also arrested 9,431 individuals listed in the National Crime Information Center database (NCIC) who are currently wanted by other law enforcement agencies.

The 697 known gang members who were apprehended while attempting to cross into the U.S. at the southern border included numerous members of the dangerous MS-13 gang known for its extreme brutality.

The spike in the number of terrorist-related arrests coincides with a major demographic shift in the nationalities of migrants trying to enter the U.S. through the southwest border, where agents have reported a surge in encounters with citizens from Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Twenty-five of the 27 known or suspected terrorists apprehended at the border within the first six months of FY 2022 are Columbian citizens, according to a June report by The Washington Examiner.

In the midst of the largest border crisis in U.S. history, coupled with major CBP staffing shortages and overcrowded processing centers that have resulted in agents being forced to release thousands of unauthorized migrants, many fear the number of dangerous terror suspects and criminals pouring into the U.S. at its southern border is likely much higher than reported. 

Outgoing Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott told his staff of 19,000 agents last month that their national security mission must be a top priority, warning that suspected terrorists were crossing the border “at a level we have never seen before.” 

Scott made the remarks days ahead of his Aug. 14 requirement. The Biden administration allegedly forced the career law enforcement official out of his position after he publicly criticized the administration’s lax border policies, the Washington Examiner reported. Before leaving, he made a video for his agents.

Over and over again, I see other people talk about our mission, your mission, and the context of it being immigration or the current crisis today being an immigration crisis. I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.

“Your peers or you are taking criminals, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and like I said before, even TSDB alerts off the streets and keeping them safe from America,” Scott said. “Even if we processed several thousand migrants that day and even if thousands of them were allowed into the U.S., you still took those threats off the street, and I think that’s worth it. So please don’t ever undersell how important your mission is.”