The number of foreigners on the U.S. terrorist screening list attempting illegal entries into the United States has surged by a whopping 900% since President Joe Biden assumed office, a trend that security experts content threatens national security.
In fiscal year 2023, there were 140 apprehensions of individuals on the terror list trying to cross between ports of entry, a significant rise from the 2022 record of 98 and the mere 16 in Biden’s first year in office. In comparison, only three such crossings occurred in the final year of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Fred Fleitz, a seasoned CIA analyst and former chief of staff to the National Security Council under Trump, issued a stern warning, saying that the lax border security has opened a gateway for potential criminals from South America and a myriad of other countries.
Concerns are also shared by Mark Morgan, the previous acting commissioner of the Customs Border Protection agency, who suggests, “We literally could have the next terrorist sleeper cell in United States planning a terrorist attack, and we would have no idea.”
The dramatic increase in such border crossings has put Congress on high alert, spurring an investigation. Lawmakers are particularly troubled by the 1.5 million “gotaways,” individuals who have crossed illegally without any encounter or subsequent biometric or biographical checks.
Highlighting the grave risk, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY), and Mark Green (R-TN) voiced fears that the “known gotaways” likely include illegal immigrants with terrorist links. These congressmen, who chair three of the most influential committees: Judiciary, Oversight, and Homeland Security, also expressed worry over an ambiguity in Homeland Security Department’s language, indicating that some illegal immigrants with terror ties may not have been deported.
Their fears were reinforced by a recent case where an illegal alien with known terrorist ties was released by the Biden administration, and it took a fortnight to recapture him. The Homeland Security inspector general report attributed the incident to “CBP’s ineffective practices and processes,” emphasizing the urgent need for more effective and stringent measures at the borders to prevent potential terrorists from infiltrating the United States.