Terror Suspects Continue Pouring Over Open Border

As the Biden administration’s disastrous open borders policies continue to threaten America’s national security, federal immigration authorities have encountered a disturbing pattern. As examples of the dangerous trend, two recently apprehended illegal migrants — a Pakistani man and an Afghan national — have been found to be on the national terror watch list.

The Pakistani national’s case is particularly troubling. After illegally entering the U.S. in November, he was quickly apprehended by Border Patrol in California. Even though he was immediately identified as being on the terror watch list, he was released under an “Order of Release on Recognizance” without any supervision. Luckily, he was recaptured after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in San Diego flagged his mandatory detention requirement.

Similarly, Arif Tanhah, an Afghan national, was arrested last week after crossing the border illegally. He has been identified by law enforcement officers as a “known associate” of a terrorist organization. Tahnah reportedly made a long trip through multiple foreign nations to reach the southern border before simply walking into the U.S.

These cases are part of a larger, more concerning pattern. In fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol apprehended 172 individuals on the terrorist watch list attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, a significant increase from previous years. This rise in encounters with terror watchlisted individuals is a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with unregulated border crossings.

The implications of these breaches are not just theoretical. They pose a real and immediate danger to national security. The backlog of records checks, exacerbated by the sheer volume of people crossing the border, has been identified as a critical vulnerability. As one Department of Homeland Security official noted, the delay in confirming someone as a Known Suspected Terrorist is a “huge problem,” highlighting the challenges in preventing terrorists from entering the United States.

The recent arrests in Minnesota of a member of the Somali terror group al-Shabaab and in California of an individual with ties to a Colombian terrorist organization further underscore the breadth of the challenge. These cases represent a fraction of the potential threats that slip through the cracks of the current immigration enforcement regime.