New border security caucus forms as record number of apprehensions at northern border continues
by Bethany Blankley for the Center Square
(The Center Square) – Nearly 300 suspected terrorists have been apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. in the first few months of fiscal 2023 as 28 members of Congress formed a new caucus to address the crisis at the northern border, where record numbers of foreign nationals continue to illegally enter from Canada.
The Northern Border Security Caucus, formed by U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly, R-Pennsylvania, and Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, is expressing concerns about “the increased human and drug trafficking, along with the decrease in Border Patrol agents and lack of security, along the U.S.-Canada border.”
They did so as U.S. Customs and Border Protection released apprehension data for February, which appears to publicly report for the first time those on the terrorist watch list (Terrorist Screening Dataset) who were apprehended at ports of entry and between ports of entry. Historically, it didn’t make the distinction or publicly report ports of entry apprehensions.
The TSDS includes information about known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) “but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals,” CBP says.
In January, The Center Square reported on 38 known or suspected terrorists apprehended in the first three months of fiscal 2023. But the newly reported CBP data shows the number is nearly 10 times greater.
This fiscal year through February, 70 KSTs were apprehended between ports of entry at the southern (69) and northern (1) borders, according to the data.
During the same timeframe, agents apprehended 214 KSTs at ports of entry: 176 at the northern border and 38 at the southern border.
Combined, fiscal 2023 through February, agents apprehended 284 KSTs – with the majority apprehended at the northern border.
In just five months, agents apprehended nearly as many KSTs as they did at northern border ports of entry in fiscal 2022 – 313 – up from 54 KSTs apprehended at them in fiscal 2021.
Zinke argues the northern border has been left “unprotected and vulnerable to criminals, cartels and terrorists” because far more agents “are dealing with [President Joe] Biden’s crisis on the Southwest border.”