2022-2023 Data: 75k Illegal Immigrants Have Terrorist Ties


A Border Patrol agent searches an undocumented immigrant apprehended near the Mexican border on May 27, 2010 near McAllen, Texas.
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


According to data parsed by The Daily Caller, approximately 75,000 illegal immigrants were flagged by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for potentially having ties to terrorism or being a threat to national security in the 10 months leading up to August 2023.

The immigrants were labeled as “SIA Encounters,” with SIA standing for “Special Interest Alien.” The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines an SIA as a “non-U.S. person” who could possibly “pose a national security risk to the United States or its interests.”

READ: FBI Searching for Over a Dozen ISIS-Linked Migrants in the U.S.

The DHS explains that “Often such individuals or groups are employing travel patterns known or evaluated to possibly have a nexus to terrorism. DHS analysis includes an examination of travel patterns, points of origin, and/or travel segments that are tied to current assessments of national and international threat environments.”

However, it is important to note that not all SIAs are considered terrorists. The travel and behavior of certain individuals “indicates a possible nexus to nefarious activity (including terrorism) and, at a minimum, provides indicators that necessitate heightened screening and further investigation.”

READ: Report: Biden Immigration Policy Could Lead to ‘Another 9/11’

These figures represent a significant increase from the 25,627 special interest encounters reported in fiscal year 2022, and the 3,675 encounters in fiscal year 2021. Illegal immigrants can automatically be categorized as SIAs based on their country of origin, for instance, Turkey or Uzbekistan, due to these countries’ status as a “source and transit country.”

The DHS did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller regarding the SIA figures. The CBP and the DHS are currently under intense scrutiny due to the drastic increase in border crossing encounters under the Biden administration.

A former immigration judge, Andrew Arthur, claimed in late August 2023 that the DHS was intentionally not disclosing the number of illegal immigrants who have been released into the United States each month. He stated, “The only reason why ICE and OFO [Office of Field Operations] would refuse to disclose that information is to hide the fact that it is releasing more than 100,000 aliens per month into the United States and to conceal the effects of those migrant releases on communities across the United States.”

Border encounters in fiscal year 2023 are expected to match the near 2.4 million that were seen in 2022. There were just over 1.7 million encounters in 2021, while in 2020, under President Trump’s administration, there were a little more than 450,000 encounters.


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