Border Patrol agents in South Texas arrested nearly 300 Bangladeshi nationals for illegally crossing the border from Mexico during the first six months of Fiscal Year 2018. Border Patrol officials say the Bangladeshis make their way to Texas via a cartel-connected smuggling pipeline.
In two separate incidents over the weekend, Border Patrol agents in the Laredo Sector arrested nine young men from Bangladesh. They crossed the Rio Grande River boundary from Nuevo Laredo to South Laredo, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from Laredo Sector officials.
The Laredo Sector leads the nation in the apprehension of Bangladeshi nationals who illegally cross the border. So far this year, the Laredo Sector arrested 200 Bangladeshis — all men who are mostly between the ages of 18 and 35, officials told Breitbart Texas in an interview earlier this month.
Officials in the Rio Grande Valley Sector confirmed to Breitbart Texas that their agents apprehended an additional 76 Bangladeshi nationals for the current fiscal year. This brings the total in South Texas to 276.
“When we talk about the different groups that are crossing into an area, what we’re trying to draw attention to is a more comprehensive look at our threat picture,” Acting Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens told Breitbart Texas during a recent phone interview. “We need to stay away from just focusing on the family units and Unaccompanied Alien Children that are coming from Central America and Mexico. What the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol are dealing with on a daily basis is so much more complex than that.”
“You have to look not only at the numbers of folks coming across in our Area of Responsibility (AOR),” Owens explained, “but also, who they are and where they’re from because that very much affects how we meet the threat.”
Bangladesh has been described by many as a hotbed of terrorist activity. In March 2017, the British government issued a travel advisory for Bangladesh to its citizens warning of potential terror attacks. The warning cited several incidents of terrorist activity in the months leading up to the travel advisory’s issuance.
In 2016, CNN and The Economist spotlighted terrorist activity in Bangladesh. And, in February 2017, the Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change wrote, “Bangladesh is alternately heralded as a beacon of tolerance and secularism in the Muslim-majority world or a hotbed of Islamist militancy.”
Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Gabriel Acosta told Breitbart Texas on Thursday that the Bangladeshi nationals do not pick their point of entry into the U.S. “That is determined by the transnational criminal organization (TCO) that works with the smugglers from the country of origin, into South America, up through Central America, and into Mexico,” Acosta explained. “They are paying upward of $27,000 each to be smuggled into the U.S.”
Acosta said the Bangladeshis are not trying to be sneaky in crossing the border, nor are they trying to avoid detection and arrest. “They have been coached by the TCO on what to say and how to make a ‘credible fear’ claim,” he stated.
Border Patrol officials contact members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force each time a Bangladeshi national is arrested, Acosta said. From there, they are turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for processing.
Assistant Chief Acosta explained further. “Because of the ‘credible fear’ law and the coaching received by the Bangladeshis from the TCOs, ERO officers will issue a notice to appear for a future immigration hearing. “In many cases, we will never see them again,” he said.
In December 2017, Breitart News’ John Binder reported that more than 140,000 Bangladeshi nationals have entered the U.S. since 2005. This is more than the entire population of Dayton, Ohio, he wrote. Most of these entered through the “chain migration” system President Donald Trump is seeking to end.
One of those, 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, allegedly injured himself and three others when he exploded a homemade bomb in New York City, Breitbart News reported.
Ullah reportedly told police, “They’ve been bombing in my country and I wanted to do damage here.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.