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Afghan on terror watchlist arrested at southern border with group of illegal immigrants

By Sarah May
|
May 15, 2023

A still-unidentified Afghan national included on the FBI terror watchlist was apprehended attempting to cross into the United States with other migrants on Wednesday, as the New York Post reports, spurring heightened criticism of the Biden administration's approach to the situation.

The incident occurred near Otay Mesa in San Diego, California, and a scan of the individual's fingerprints indicated that he was part of the Terrorist Screening Database, something which set an FBI investigation into motion.

Scant Details Released

As Fox 5 in San Diego reports, the terror suspect's identity remains unknown, as does the conduct for which the individual ended up on the watchlist.

Also unclear is the manner in which the individual was taken into custody or how he or she reached the border near San Diego.

The local sector of Customs and Border Protection refused detailed comment in response to an inquiry from the local Fox affiliate station but did issue a statement on the matter.

“We are vigilant in our efforts to detect and assess possible threats, and we work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe,” the statement read.

Local Official Reacts

Jim Desmond, San Diego County supervisor, reacted to the alarming apprehension in a statement issued on Sunday, as Fox 5 further noted.

Observing that the attempted entry into the country appeared to have taken place prior to Friday's expiration of Title 42 expulsion rules, Desmond declared, “This should serve as a stark reminder to President Biden and the federal government on the critical need for maintaining a strong border.”

Desmond also opined that the federal government must begin prioritizing the implementation of an immigration system centered on security, efficiency, and the widespread use of background checks on those seeking entry into the country.

“As a nation, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to protect the safety and security of our citizens. A strong and orderly border process is crucial in preventing individuals with nefarious intentions from entering our country,” Desmond asserted.

Issa Weighs in

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-48) offered his take on the incident, suggesting that it – and other similar events – are the natural consequence of President Joe Biden's unwillingness to enforce the law in this realm, as the Post noted.

Issa explained, “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,” the Republican lawmaker added, lamenting, “[t]hey know they'll never have to leave.”

Suggesting an impending reckoning for what he says are the reckless policies of the current administration, Issa concluded, “The nation knows what's going on, and this president has only begun to be held accountable for what he has done.”

Concerning Trend

As disturbing as last week's apprehension may be to millions of Americans, it was not exactly an outlier in terms of recent history at the border, as the Post notes.

Customs and Border Patrol indicated in March that no fewer than 69 individuals on the aforementioned terror watch list had been caught attempting to cross the southern border since October of 2022.

At that rate, the outlet adds, fiscal year 2023 is on pace to surpass 2022, which had a total of 98 watch list apprehensions.

Standing in stark contrast to those numbers is the tally from fiscal year 2021, which came to a mere 15 such arrests at the southern border, but whether those dramatic differences will prompt any sort of course correction from the administration, only time will tell.