Oh: Border Patrol apprehended 127 potential terrorists in FY 2023

AP Photo/Christian Chavez

A porous border is a national security risk. So far in FY 2023, Border Patrol have apprehended 127 illegal migrants who appear on the FBI terror watchlist. This number includes apprehensions on both the southern and northern borders.


Fiscal Year 2023 runs October 01, 2022 – September 30, 2023. Border Patrol reported Tuesday that between October 2022 and May 2023, the number surpasses the total number from FY 2022 already, eight months into FY 2023. The apprehensions were at the highest level over the last four years in 2022. So, the fact that the number is already higher just eight months into FY 2023 is not good news. In FY 2023, the total number of apprehensions that matched to the FBI watchlist was 98.

The nationalities of the illegal immigrants were not released. The FBI database includes known and suspected terrorists. Family members and affiliates of the suspected terrorists are often included on the watchlist. The Cato Institute in Washington noted in 2022 that some Colombians on the watchlist are likely not terror threats. Is that a chance we are willing to take, though? Should we take a libertarian think tank’s opinion and hope it is correct in its conclusion? After 9/11/01, aren’t we supposed to be alert and assuming the worst could happen again?

Last August, the Washington Examiner obtained unpublished data from the Department of Homeland Security that showed how the government internally tracked where immigrants with terror ties had traveled from.

That data revealed that in the first six months of 2022, 25 of the 27 known or suspected terrorists arrested by Border Patrol were citizens of Colombia, not countries in the Eastern Hemisphere, where terrorist groups al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and others are based.

“It’s … possible that the individual Colombians apprehended were affiliated with FARC or the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, which have since been delisted as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the State Department, but their individual names are still in the TSDS and haven’t been purged,” Nowrasteh said.

The State Department lists two Colombian groups as foreign terrorist organizations: the Segunda Marquetalia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army, or FARC-EP.


The demographics of the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the border has shifted. It used to be that the vast majority of those illegally entering the United States were Mexicans. That began to change by 2019. Illegal immigrants from the Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – made up the majority of apprehensions. The data shows that in 2021, illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico and the Northern Triangle numbered 1.1 million out of the total 3.4 million. That is 32%, according to CBP data.

The numbers get worse for the terror watchlist when you add in all the ports of entry.

At the air, sea, and land ports of entry nationwide, 337 noncitizens who sought admission in 2023 so far were determined to be on the FBI list — far higher than 127 by Border Patrol.

I’m sure everything is fine. Nothing to worry about here.

The problem is that it’s good that CBP is matching those who illegally enter the United States with the terror watchlist but what about the gotaways? There are millions of gotaways from the years of the Biden border crisis. They run from Border Patrol agents, unlike others who want to be apprehended and turn themselves in because they know it is likely that they will be allowed to stay in the country. The gotaways disappear into the interior of the United States.


As of May, the number of illegal immigrants apprehended during FY 2023 is 1.33 million. The total numbers that will be released this month aren’t out yet. When you hear the Biden administration talk about changes it is making in securing the southern border, and the success it is having, take it with a huge grain of salt.

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David Strom 6:00 PM | February 27, 2024