EXCLUSIVE: Afghans, Syrians, Pakistanis Apprehended in West Texas near Border

A Border Patrol agent watches as a group of migrants walk across the Rio Grande on their way to turn themselves in upon crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. U.S. government data shows that 42% of all families encountered along the border in May …
AP Photo/Eric Gay

DEL RIO, Texas — According to a source within Customs and Border Protection, migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India were arrested Wednesday. Border Patrol agents encountered them after crossing the Rio Grande as they tried to elude apprehension in dense brush.

The incidents began early Wednesday when agents arrested a group of seven. Agents tracked footprints away from the Rio Grande, ultimately finding the migrants on a private ranch.

Four identified themselves as citizens of Afghanistan, two from India, and one from Pakistan. As the day unfolded, five more significant interest migrants were apprehended, raising the number of migrants from significant interest countries to 12 in a single day—including four Syrians.

Two of the migrants, an Afghan and Pakistani, according to the source, were previously detained in Mexico by immigration authorities. They managed to escape a Mexican Institute of Migration (INM) detention facility in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, last week.

The source says encountering significant interest migrants from such a wide variety of countries in one day is not normal. The source is concerned that reduced patrols caused by a significantly higher flow of migrants means some significant interest aliens may be successfully avoiding capture.

Since October 31, the source says 20 additional significant interest migrants have been encountered in the Del Rio Sector alone. These arrests included 16 citizens of Eritrea, 3 Uzbek nationals, and 1 Iranian.

The designation of special interest migrant is related to the travel pattern and conditions within the home country, rather than specific threats. According to DHS, the designation of special interest migrant is different than the designation of an individual migrant known or suspected of terrorism. The terms “Special Interest Migrant” and “Known or Suspected Terrorist” (KST) are not interchangeable.

As reported by Breitbart, the Border Patrol is facing a monumental increase in migrant traffic that is straining the agency’s ability to perform even the most basic patrol functions. Since the start of the Fiscal Year on October 1, more than 50,000 migrants have escaped apprehension nationwide.

The arrests of the significant interest migrants came on the day the Secretary of Homeland Security issued an updated National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin. The bulletin addressed the current heightened threat environment across the United States as several holidays approach:

The Homeland continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment as it approaches several religious holidays and associated mass gatherings that in the past have served as potential targets for acts of violence. These threats include those posed by individuals and small groups engaged in violence, including domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.

Further, foreign terrorist organizations and DVEs continue to attempt to inspire potential followers to conduct attacks in the United States, including by exploiting recent events in Afghanistan. As of November 10, 2021, DHS is not aware of an imminent and credible threat to a specific location in the United States.


Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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