Another FBI watchlist terrorist was apprehended crossing the border, this time one day after Title 42 ended.
The terrorist came from Pakistan and was apprehended in Ajo, according to information provided by unnamed federal sources to The Washington Examiner. The terrorist was captured within a wave of around 700 illegal immigrants crossing in the area.
There has been a significant increase in terror watchlist apprehensions under Biden. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) disclosed on Wednesday that they’d apprehended 16 terrorists along the border in April alone — more than the total apprehensions from the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 fiscal years combined.
According to data from December, terror watchlist arrests have increased over sixfold since Biden took office.
So far this fiscal year, there have been over 1.4 million southern border encounters. That’s nearly 134,000 more encounters than from the same time span from the last fiscal year (October 2021 through April 2022).
That brings the total border encounters under President Joe Biden to over 5.6 million.
The average of these encounters totals over 201,000. If that average sustains through the remaining 21 months of Biden’s first term, there may be over 9.8 million illegal immigrant encounters by the end of next year.
Under former President Donald Trump, there were a total of over 2.3 million encounters. There may be four times as many illegal crossings by the end of Biden’s first term.
Despite the continued onslaught of the border crisis, Arizona’s Democratic leaders have been hesitant to fully back proposed remedies.
Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) last week supported the termination of Title 42, but criticized the Biden administration’s lack of action on meaningful immigration reform and infrastructure.
“While the specific needs and requests of each border community varied, one similarity was clear: the administration has not done enough to meet their needs, and these local officials require additional resources, personnel, and funds to ensure our border stays secure and that the processing of asylum seekers is done in a humanitarian way,” stated Gallego.
That same day, Gallego issued another statement dismissing his Republican colleagues’ border proposals as an unserious “sham” perpetuating “cruel” Trump-era policies. The proposals included detainment of unaccompanied children, and restricting asylum outside of legal ports of entry.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07) complained last August that too many Americans were caught up in the border crisis to notice the religious disrespect of illegal immigrants. Specifically, Grijalva complained that border agents were confiscating illegal Sikh immigrants’ religious items, such as their turbans and bracelets.
“All these festering issues get overwritten because everybody starts screaming about the border and the invasion, and so these go into the background,” said Grijalva. “I don’t think they’re background issues. Border Patrol is the largest law enforcement agency with the least amount of accountability in the country. And that’s the problem.”
Democratic congressional candidate Kirsten Engel supported ending Title 42 last year as part of her prior, failed campaign, and denied the existence of the border crisis.
A top U.S. Border Patrol union representative says the situation along the southwest border “is spinning out of control everywhere,” with the number of illegal border crossings showing no sign of falloff while agency staffing in the field is at dangerously low rates.
“It’s just overwhelming right now,” USBP agent Art Del Cueto told KFYI’s James T. Harris earlier this week. Del Cueto serves as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) and president of NBPC Local 2544 in Tucson.
The staffing problem had become so bad that NBPC publicized the situation earlier this week, reporting only two agents were covering a 50-mile section of border. There would typically have been 15 to 20 agents assigned to the area, according to NBPC.
USBP agents have long complained about being dangerously outmanned in the field. Several agents have been injured just in the Cochise County area over the last year, including an agent assigned to USBP Tucson Sector who was hospitalized March 4 after being attacked as she arrested an undocumented migrant.
The migrant was eventually subdued and taken into custody when other agents arrived on scene.
“Our agents face extreme risks in the field, and those who bring them harm will be brought to justice,” USBP Tucson Sector Chief John Modlin said a few days later. Even USBP Chief Raul Ortiz was forced to weigh in on the situation after the agent’s early morning attack made national headlines.
The March 4 attack drew an immediate reaction from Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, who promised to have the attacker charged in state court if federal prosecutors dropped the ball.
But while USBP command staffers used the attacked agent’s recovery to deflect from the dangerous situation, Del Cueto contends the ongoing practice of pulling field agents from patrol duties to be used instead to process large groups of border crossers in another area demonstrates the lack of sufficient staffing.
Different areas along the nearly 2,000 mile border between the U.S. and Mexico have different challenges, Del Cueto told Harris. For instance, the USBP Tucson Sector is responsible for a mostly remote and rural terrain.
As a result, the area leads the U.S. with a disturbingly high number of “gotaways,” the name given to undocumented border crossers who evade apprehension and do not turn themselves in for immigration processing.
According to Del Cueto, the cartels know of USBP’s staffing challenges. As a result, they realize getting agents to chase down crossers in certain remote areas provides a distraction which allows drugs or higher paying crossers to be moved through other areas.
Staffing issues are forcing agents in the field to wait longer for transport vehicles to arrive, while at other times they must do the processing and transporting themselves. This removes boots on the ground, and “that’s when you start seeing a lot of other groups come through,” he explained.
Del Cueto calls it a “cop out” when people complain USBP and its parent agency Customs and Border Protection are not asking U.S. Department of Homeland Security to spend more money for technology along the border.
“Technology is fantastic, it helps us see where the groups are but at the end you need the boots on the ground to actually make the arrests,” he told Harris.
The cartels are very organized and “are not dumb,” Del Cueto said, adding that they will continue to do things “as long as they kept seeing this Administration not have any true consequences for these people committing crimes.”
“The agents that are still here in Tucson, they have their hands full,” Del Cueto said. “Their backup is far away. They are having a really hard time.”
Terri Jo Neff is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or send her news tips here.
Terrorists appear to be making the most of the ongoing border crisis, according to the latest illegal immigrant encounter data from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).
Terror watchlist arrests have increased over sixfold since President Joe Biden took office. CBP apprehensions increased from 15 in the 2021 fiscal year to 98 in the 2022 fiscal year. Since October, there have been 38 arrests of illegal immigrants on the terror watchlist. From 2017 to 2021, four years, CBP only arrested 26 from the terror watchlist.
CBP told Fox News that they estimate approximately 1.2 million “gotaways,” in addition to the over 4.6 million illegal immigrants that have been apprehended at the southern border.
December’s total apprehensions nearly doubled last year’s record for that month; it also marked the highest single month of apprehensions on record.
Nearly 70 percent of the 2022 fiscal year illegal immigrants were single adults (nearly 64 percent in the 2021 fiscal year). Family units accounted for 23 percent of the 2022 fiscal year southwest border encounters.
At this rate, there may be over 9.2 million illegal immigrants by the end of Biden’s first term.
The illegal immigrants aren’t the only increase in border activity since Biden took office. Drug trafficking has also reached historic highs.
The drug traffickers have gotten creative with their outsized shipments, disguising their cargo as commercial goods like rocks and cotton candy.
Harder drugs are taking precedence over others, as reflected by CBP drug seizure statistics. This includes fentanyl, meth, and cocaine. Marijuana dropped off in seizures around 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Arizona last Thursday. Although Biden designated Harris as the “Border Czar,” Harris did not visit the border while in Arizona. Rather, the vice president came to the state to discuss “clean” energy.
When asked why she and Biden weren’t taking more steps to secure the border, Harris said that Congress needed to act. Harris also indicated that it wasn’t important for her to visit the border during last Thursday’s trip, since she went in June 2021.
“The reality is, the people in Washington, D.C., the people who walk around the halls of Congress need to do something,” said Harris.
A week prior to her visit, Harris told reporters that the border was one of her highest priorities.
Illegal immigration may hit another all-time monthly high for the Biden administration. That’s in addition to the current historic record of over 4.1 million encounters, excluding “gotaways.”
Over the last few weeks, Border Patrol (BP) has observed a sharp increase in illegal border crossings in the Tucson Sector. Chief John Modlin highlighted the encounters of “large groups” throughout the week. In all, Modlin documented seven large groups totaling over 1,000 illegal immigrants.
The first week of December, Modlin reported that these large groups accounted for hundreds of migrants at a time.
The week after Thanksgiving, the Tucson Sector reported over 5,700 apprehensions.
The heightened migration surge doesn’t just include those seeking refuge from cartels and oppressive governments. On an almost weekly basis, BP officials document the arrests of illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions.
For fiscal year 2022 (FY2022: Oct. 2021 – Sept. 30 2022), the number of illegal immigrants apprehended with one or more prior criminal convictions swelled to over 12,000.
The last time that the country experienced similar numbers was during the final months of the Obama administration and the first few months of Trump’s administration (over 12,800 in FY16). Throughout Trump’s administration, these numbers dropped steadily by several thousand every year: FY2017, over 8,500; FY18, about 6,700; FY19, over 4,200; FY20, over 2,400.
For FY2021, there were over 10,700 criminal illegal immigrants apprehended. At this trend, there could be around 14,000 criminal illegal immigrants arrested for FY23.
Percentagewise, the most notable increases in criminal conviction types concerned those convicted of homicide or manslaughter.
Despite the continuing surge of illegal immigration, President Joe Biden commented ahead of his first-ever visit to Arizona during his term that the border wasn’t important.
Based on the current average monthly encounters, there will be over 8.8 million illegal immigrants coming into the country by the end of Biden’s term. That’s more encounters than former Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George Bush’s last two years combined.
The Biden administration closed out its 2022 fiscal year with close to 2.4 million border encounters: the highest ever recorded in one year.
According to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data released last Friday, the administration also made history with its total September encounters: over 227,500. This total doesn’t reflect estimated “gotaways”: those who escape without apprehension.
With this historic influx of illegal immigrants came an unprecedented number of terrorists. Nearly 100 illegal immigrants apprehended were on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). As Fox reporter Bill Melugin noted, that’s nearly quadruple the number of terrorists caught crossing illegally from the past five years combined.
A key part of the border crisis is the burgeoning fentanyl crisis. Last month alone, CBP seized enough fentanyl to kill over 220,000 people. Their other seizures indicate that Biden’s lax border policy is lucrative for the cartels: over $4.1 million worth of drugs, firearms, and pesticides, as well as over $11 million worth of narcotics.
CBP data reflects the reality that hard drugs overtook marijuana as the preferred substance of smugglers. Last month, CBP reported over 1,800 pounds of fentanyl seized: over 14,100 pounds for the 2022 fiscal year, and close to 21,600 pounds since President Joe Biden took office. That’s well over double of what was seized between January 2019 and December 2020: just under 10,000 pounds.
While fentanyl trafficking skyrocketed, the overall number of drugs seized by weight decreased. From January 2019 to December 2020, CBP seized just under 1.4 million pounds of drugs (most of which was marijuana, meth, cocaine, fentanyl, then heroin, in that order). From January 2020 to present, CBP seized just under 590,000 pounds of drugs (again, most of which were marijuana, meth, cocaine, fentanyl, then heroin, in that order).
Biden named Vice President Kamala Harris the border czar last March, but Harris did little to address the crisis. It took her three months to visit the border after that, visiting El Paso, Texas in late June, although GOP members of Congress criticized that Harris visited a Border Patrol station miles away from the border crisis playing out along the Rio Grande.
According to a Los Angeles Times tracker of Harris’ schedule, analyzed by the New York Post, the vice president didn’t hold an immigration event in nine months as of May.
Last week, Arizona sued the Biden administration after the Department of Interior (DOI) ordered the state to remove shipping containers and razor wire closing up the border wall gaps. The DOI accused Governor Doug Ducey of committing trespass. Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director Jacklynn Gould promised that the Biden administration was making headway on closing the border themselves.
“That trespass is harming federal lands and resources and impeding Reclamation’s ability to perform its mission,” stated Gould.
In response, Ducey said that his obligation to Arizonans was greater than to the federal government.
“The safety and security of Arizona and its citizens must not be ignored,” stated Ducey. “Arizona is going to do the job that Joe Biden refuses to do — secure the border in any way we can. We’re not backing down.”
On Monday, Ducey announced that the state continued adding onto the border wall over the weekend — starting the day the state sued the Biden administration.
“Arizona isn’t afraid of a challenge. We will not back down. We will protect our state,” tweeted Ducey.