A large number of Syrian and Iranian apprehensions have occurred at the border since the start of October.
There have been almost 100 Syrian and 50 Iranian nationals apprehended at the border in the past month, according to statements from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, reported Breitbart.
Amid unrest in the region, both Syria and Iran have been under “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisories since July 13, as the U.S. Department of State has deemed these countries unsafe for Americans to enter because of a heightened risk of kidnapping, unjust detention, terrorism, or armed conflict.
The most recent encounter came on Saturday near the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, when an Iranian national was found traveling into the city with a group of roughly 300 other people.
“We are receiving no advance warning of the arrival of Special Interest Migrants from the region with any specificity,” a CBP official said, according to Breitbart.
“We are left to sort through the grab-bag of migrants in small and large groups to figure out who is in the group and why they are coming,” the official said.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, leaked federal data showed that more than 60,000 encounters with “special interest aliens” (SIA) have occurred in the last two years.
SIAs are defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as any person who “potentially poses a national security risk to the United States or its interests.”
“This does not mean that all SIAs are ‘terrorists,’ but rather that the travel and behavior of such individuals indicates a possible nexus to nefarious activity (including terrorism) and, at a minimum, provides indicators that necessitate heightened screening and further investigation,” DHS said. “The term SIA does not indicate any specific derogatory information about the individual — and DHS has never indicated that the SIA designation means more than that.”
The data specifies the total number of encounters but does not identify how many of these SIAs were released or removed from the U.S., while also not giving a number on how many likely entered the country without being detected.
Similarly, a record number of people from the FBI’s terror watchlist were arrested during the 2023 fiscal year, which ended on September 30.
Throughout the 2023 fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported encounters at the border with 172 people from the watchlist, more than the combined number of encounters from 2017 to 2022, as reported by The Dallas Express.
The CBP website states that the watchlist “is the U.S. government’s database that contains sensitive information on terrorist identities,” and the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center estimates that there are roughly 420,000 individuals on the watchlist.