In the past two years, the United States Border Patrol has confronted a significant influx of “special interest aliens,” hailing primarily from the Middle East, raising concerns about national security.
These individuals originate from countries identified as either promoting or protecting terrorism.
Defining “Special Interest Aliens”
“Special interest aliens” are individuals from countries the U.S. government has classified as posing a potential national security threat due to conditions that promote or protect terrorism.
According to internal data obtained by Fox News from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a staggering 72,823 special interest aliens were encountered at the U.S. borders between October 2021 and October 2023.
Origins of Special Interest Aliens
Breaking down the numbers, we find that 6,386 came from Afghanistan, 3,153 from Egypt, 659 from Iran, and 538 from Syria. Additionally, there were 13,624 from Uzbekistan, 30,830 from Turkey, 1,613 from Pakistan, 185 from Jordan, 164 from Lebanon, 139 from Yemen, 123 from Iraq, and 15,594 from Mauritania.
Border Patrol’s Concerns
Border Patrol officials have expressed concerns about their inability to vet individuals from these “special interest countries properly.”
Without previous criminal records in the U.S. or placement on federal watchlists, identifying these individuals is exceedingly challenging due to the lack of data sharing with their home countries.
The CBP lacks data on the number of special interest aliens turned away, deported, or released into the U.S. with immigration hearing court dates pending.
The reported 72,823 special interest aliens do not account for the millions of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers encountered at U.S. ports of entry.
Nor does it include the “gotaways,” estimated at 1.5 to 1.7 million, who have entered the country since 2021.
Homeland Security’s Warning
The Department of Homeland Security’s latest threat assessment, published in September, warns of an increasing number of individuals on federal watchlists attempting to enter the U.S.
The assessment shows the risk of terrorists and criminal actors exploiting the elevated flow of migrants.
Ongoing Immigration Crisis
This information arrives amid the backdrop of an ongoing immigration crisis at the southern U.S. border, with over 260,000 encounters reported in September alone, setting a new monthly record.
The Bigger Picture
The influx of special interest aliens highlights the complexity of immigration and border security challenges faced by the United States.
National Security Concerns
Given the origins of these special interest aliens and the potential threats they may pose, national security remains a top priority for U.S. authorities.
The Role of Border Patrol
The role of the Border Patrol in safeguarding the nation’s borders and enforcing immigration laws has become increasingly crucial in light of these developments.
The Call for Enhanced Vetting
These revelations underscore the urgent need for improved vetting procedures and information sharing with countries of concern.
Homeland Security’s Responsibility
The Department of Homeland Security’s responsibility to protect the United States from potential threats is paramount, and this issue necessitates increased vigilance.
Implications for U.S. Policy
The issue of special interest aliens underscores the need for comprehensive immigration policy reforms to address the evolving security landscape.
The presence of over 70,000 special interest aliens from terrorism-promoting countries within the U.S. since 2021 demands careful consideration, improved security measures, and a comprehensive approach to immigration policy to ensure national security and border integrity.
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