Since January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has kept the number of migrants encountered at the southern border whose names are registered in the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) from being made public.
Created after the September 11 attacks, the TSDB is a watchlist that documents domestic and foreign individuals who are known terrorists or reasonably suspected to have ties to terrorism. With the southern border being a vulnerable entry point to bad actors, the American people deserve to know how many migrants with security risks have been apprehended.
In August, Representatives John Katko (R-N.Y.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), and August Pfluger (R-Texas) sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting an update on the total number of apprehended migrants registered in the TSDB. The letter addressed the DHS “Law Enforcement Sensitive” designation currently placed on the TSDB data. That label has prevented the terror suspect apprehension totals from being released to the public. Due to the lack of response, these congressmen recently sent a follow-up letter to Secretary Mayorkas, petitioning for the same information.
Their follow-up said, “The total number of individuals trying to cross over the border into the United States is not classified or sensitive information and has been publicly shared in multiple forums previously. The true purpose of a Law Enforcement Sensitive label is to prevent harm from coming to our law enforcement officers and law enforcement-related activities, but it seems that this label is instead being used to protect the reputation of the current political administration.”
Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s lack of transparency regarding national security-related matters at the border has occurred before. In April, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the apprehensions of two Yemeni nationals who were arrested near the Calexico Port of Entry in January. Both foreign nationals were on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List. Shortly after CBP announced the capture of these individuals, the agency deleted the press release detailing their arrests. In the same instance, the administration claimed it removed the announcement of the Yemeni terror suspects over national security concerns.
It’s no secret the Biden administration’s pro-illegal alien policies have attracted large numbers of migrants to the southern border, including those who pose a safety risk. Moreover, according to former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, the number of known or suspected terrorists encountered at the southern border has reached unprecedented levels under this administration.
The American public should be privy to this information. Shielding the total figures of these detained culprits does not serve the nation’s security interests. Instead, it prevents the American people from knowing how vulnerable the southern border has become for dangerous individuals to enter the U.S.