Illegal Immigrants With Terrorist Ties Estimated At 30,000 Or More

By some estimates, the number of illegal migrants with ties to terrorist groups who have crossed the border in the past three years could be in excess of 30,000. The estimate comes from government data that suggests when all sources are factored in, as many as 30,000 illegal immigrants could be associated with terrorist human trafficking networks, or be associated directly or indirectly with terrorist organizations.

Additionally, when accounting for recent surges in the number of military age males crossing the border illegally, there could be an additional large increment of foreign actors infiltrating the U.S.

According to Customs and Border Protection data, the total number of those formally listed on the terrorist watch list has increased from 12 during the last year of President’s Trump’s administration to 172 in fiscal year 2023.
Those numbers, however, only count illegal immigrants formally listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list who are captured and released by the border patrol. The data does not include so-called “gotaways,” illegal migrants who are not captured or “encountered” before they enter the U.S.

Border authorities also suggest a huge spike in the number of military age males from locales such as China, Venezuela, and countries in the Middle East who do not appear on the terrorist watch list, but may be associated with the governments of countries intent on doing Americans and the U.S. harm.

In recent weeks, The Department of Homeland Security has identified over 400 immigrants from central Asia smuggled across the border by ISIS human smuggling networks. Only 150 of the identified ISIS associated immigrants have been arrested.

The 400 migrants identified by Homeland Security were released into the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection because they did not appear on the government’s terrorism watchlist and the agency did not consider them threats at the time or their capture.

Recent terrorist attacks in Russia, however, have heightened concerns about ISIS and it’s off shoot ISIS-K.
Earlier last month, ICE arrested eight Tajik men with a suspected ISIS affiliation who did not enter through the same ISIS-affiliated network.

The approximately 400 immigrants identified by Homeland does not include “gotaways.”

NBC News reported in April that an Afghan named Mohammad Kharwin, 48, whose name was on the U.S. terrorist watchlist had been captured and released at least a year earlier because CBP did not have adequate information to properly vet him at the time he crossed. He spent almost a year inside the U.S. before he was arrested in San Antonio in February. He was subsequently released on bond by the court. After the NBC News story went public, Kharwin was arrested again.

The Biden Administration and members of the media suggest that 50,000 migrants with possible terrorist ties is an insignificant percentage of the estimated 10 million people who have entered the U.S. illegally over the past three years.

Others point out that it requires only a handful of people to cause massive destruction and loss of life if they are properly trained, equipped, and intent on doing so.