916 Illegals From Terror-Linked Countries Apprehended Since 2014

Undocumented immigrants remove items of clothing while being searched by U.S. Border Patrol agents who caught them on December 7, 2015 near Rio Grande City, Texas.
File Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended at least 916 illegal immigrants from countries linked to terrorism trying to sneak into the United States across the Southwest border in 2014 and 2015, according to a Breitbart News tally gleaned from federal data released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

During that period, nearly 370 may have successfully entered the United States, according to U.S. government estimate of “gotaways.”

The number of illegals from terror-linked countries, officially known as Special Interest Aliens (SIAs), arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border has nearly doubled to 462 in 2015 alone, from 255 in 2011, the last year for which the government released data without a FOIA request.

Although thousands of illegals have been apprehended recently at the Southwest border from nearly all countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, only a portion of them are from nations that have been officially linked to terrorism.

At least 867 of the 916 terror-linked illegals who were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border over the last two years are from in and around countries where the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has launched attacks and carried out recruitment operations, including:

Afghanistan (4); Pakistan (65); Egypt (15); Bangladesh (579); Iraq (11); Iran (11); Jordan (5); Turkey (80); Saudi Arabia (25); United Arab Emirates (1); Lebanon (3); Kuwait (6); Somalia (4); Turkmenistan (1); Tajikistan (4); Uzbekistan (7); Philippines (44); and Yemen (2).

The U.S. military warned that there are networks in Latin American that specialize in smuggling in illegals from countries affiliated with terrorism. Moreover, the military has sounded the alarm on jihadi operations in the region carried out by ISIS and the Shiite Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy.

Breitbart News analyzed records for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 released by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in response to various FOIA requests. CBP is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (CBP). The U.S. Border Patrol is an arm of CBP.

The FOIA documents reveal that on average, for nearly every 10 attempted illegal crossings at the U.S. Mexico border, about four people actually got through in 2013, the latest year for which data of successful entries, or “getaways,” has been made public.

Bases on those figures, Breitbart News estimates that nearly 370 illegal migrants from terror-linked countries may have successfully entered the United States in 2014 (182) and 2015 (189).

It is unclear how many of the SIAs were released into U.S. communities during immigration proceedings.

However, a government estimate released in 2006 reveals that nearly half of the terror-linked aliens who are apprehended are subsequently released into U.S. communities. Nearly 85 percent were projected to abscond upon being released.

In 2015 alone, the U.S. government apprehended at least 480 illegals from terror-linked countries in between official ports of entry at or near the Southwest (462), Northern (10), and Coastal (8) borders.

The figures available for the Northern and Coastal borders only cover migrants arrested during four months of 2015 (June 1 thru Sept. 30), which means the overall apprehension figure could be much larger.

In 2014, U.S. border authorities detained 454 migrants from terror-linked countries along the U.S.-Mexico border alone. There was no data available for apprehensions at the other borders.

Illegals from terror-linked countries are officially known as Special Interest Aliens (SIAs). They come from 34 countries located in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa as well as the territories of West Bank and Gaza.

The FOIA records did not include the number of illegals from those territories. However, the data does show that there were four from Israel detained at the Southwest border in 2014 and 16 the following year.

Moreover, at least three from Israel were arrested at the Northern (2) and Coastal (1) borders during part of 2015. The migrants from Israel are not included in Breitbart News’ count of SIAs.

Most Special Interest Aliens apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border during 2014 (284) and 2015 (295) are from Bangladesh. The majority are males between 20 and 50 years old apprehended  in Texas.

The U.S. government has been hesitant to release SIAs apprehension data. The last time those figures were made public was in 2011.

Leaked documents obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed information for 2014, the latest figures available until this report.

The data obtained by Breitbart Texas shows that at least 474 migrants from terror-linked countries were detained at all U.S. borders during most of 2014.

Of those, at least 454 were arrested at the U.S.-Mexico Border alone, according to Breitbart News Analysis.

While the number of SIAs apprehensions along the Southwest border have surged, those near or at the Northern and Coastal borders appear to have dramatically declined since 2011.

According to the latest assessment using a metric that was dropped by the Obama administration, federal authorities controlled less than half of the nearly 2,000-mile long Southwest border and about 2 percent of the estimated 4,000-mile long Northern border as of 2010.

The data extracted from the FOIA records show the following number of SIAs primarily apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border over the last two years:

                                2014           2015                      Coastal                       Northern

Afghanistan                                  4
Algeria                       1                1
Bangladesh              284             295                            1
Egypt                        15                                                2
Eritrea                       6                  4
Indonesia                  5                  1
Iran                           2                  9                                                                  1
Iraq                           4                  7
Jordan                       3                  2                              1                                  1
Kazakhstan                                   1                                                                  1
Kuwait                      3                  3                                                                  1
Lebanon                    2                  1                              1
Malaysia                                       2
Morocco                    2                  1
Pakistan                    17                48                             1
Philippines                28               16                              1
Qatar                          1
Saudi Arabia             16                9                                                                 1
Somalia                      3                 1                                                                 1
Sudan                                                                            1
Syria                          5                  5
Tajikistan                   1                  3
Thailand                    8                  5
Tunisia                                          1
Turkey                     43                 37                                                                3
Turkmenistan            1                                                                                     1
UAE                                               1
Uzbekistan                2                   5
Yemen                       2

Totals:                      454               462                          8                           10



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