Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona, arrested a 21-year-old Saudi Arabian national crossing into the United States on Thursday. The agency reportedly determined the man was a positive match linked to several Yemeni subjects of interest.
According to the Border Patrol, the migrant will be processed for an expedited removal to his home country. The migrant was arrested near County 8 ½ Road west of Yuma. The area has been inundated with crossings recently. Migrants from a multitude of countries are now choosing Yuma as an entry point.
Nationals from Saudi Arabia are listed by the Department of Homeland Security as Special Interest Aliens (SIA). The designation is related to the travel pattern and conditions within the migrant’s home country, rather than specific national security threats. According to DHS, a special interest alien is different than the designation of a migrant known or suspected of terrorism. “Special Interest Alien” and “Known or Suspected Terrorist” (KST) are not interchangeable.
The migrant arrested on Thursday is considered a “potential terrorist” by the Border Patrol, most likely indicating the migrant is a KST tag. DHS defines the category for suspected terrorists under this designation as “an individual who is reasonably suspected to be engaging in, has engaged in, or intends to engage in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and/or terrorist activities.”
The appearance of SIAs along the southwest border is occurring more frequently, according to a source within Customs and Border Protection. In November, Border Patrol Agents in Del Rio, Texas, arrested 12 SIAs from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, and India in one day.
The recent influx of migrants into Yuma has prompted Mayor Douglas Nicholls to issue an emergency proclamation. Nicholls asserts the spike is overwhelming federal authorities and creating a humanitarian crisis.
The emergency proclamation makes the city eligible to receive state and federal funding for aid, relief, and assistance.
The Border Patrol has not released any additional details related to the Saudi Arabian incident.
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.