Posted on September 5, 2023

Feds Flagged Nearly 75,000 Illegal Migrants as Potential National Security Risks

Jennie Taer, Daily Caller, September 1, 2023

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) flagged 74,904 illegal migrants nationwide for potentially posing risks to national security between October 2022 and August, according to CBP data obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Certain illegal migrants are deemed to be “special interest aliens” because they may have travel patterns that “possibly have a nexus to terrorism” or may come from countries with such ties, according to a 2019 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet. Border Patrol agents encountered 25,627 “special interest” illegal migrants in fiscal year 2022, compared to 3,675 encounters in fiscal year 2021, according to internal agency data previously obtained by the DCNF; however, this data doesn’t account for all CBP encounters of special interest aliens.


Illegal migrants can be deemed special interest aliens based solely on their country of origin, such as Turkey or Uzbekistan {snip}

The FBI is currently searching for a group of more than one dozen Uzbek migrants that federal authorities released into the country after they used an ISIS-tied smuggler to cross the southern border illegally.


Special interest aliens are different from illegal migrants whose names appear on the terror watchlist, according to DHS. Individuals whose names appear on the terror watchlist as potential terrorists are “reasonably suspected to be engaging in, has engaged in, or intends to engage in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and/or terrorist activities.”

CBP has seen a surge in individuals on the terror watchlist attempting to enter the U.S. in recent years. Border Patrol recorded 149 individuals trying to enter the country illegally so far in fiscal year 2023, which is up from 98 in all of fiscal year 2022 and 16 in fiscal year 2021, according to agency data.