At least 40 individuals on the US terrorist watchlist have been nabbed while trying to enter the country in the last month, according to US Customs and Border Protection.
In October, nine people whose names are flagged on the terror watchlist tried to sneak over the US border illegally, circumventing border walls or crossing at a point between official points of entry and later being detained by the US Border Patrol.
An additional 31 suspected terrorists were stopped at usual ports of entry by customs agents — 25 at the US-Canadian border and the six at the southern border.
Sources have previously raised concerns to The Post how members of MS-13 and other gangs and cartels could be slipping into the country disguised among the asylum-seeking migrants who arrive in their thousands daily.
The terror watchlist started as federal database of known terrorists who are not US citizens established after 9/11, according to the FBI.
In the last decade, the list has grown to include those who could be a potential threats to the US or who are associates of those who are threats. The list is tightly regulated and names are not made public for national security reasons. Even members of Congress have had trouble accessing it in the past, according to CBS News.
CBP says in its 2022 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, some 98 people on the terror watchlist had been apprehended after trying to evade authorities and sneak across the border.
As record numbers of people cross the border into the US, those figures have exploded. The previous year Border Patrol caught 16 individuals on the terror watchlist. In 2020 and 2019, only three suspected terrorists were caught by Border Patrol agents in each year.
Before that, Border Patrol apprehended no more six terror suspects per year.
Many suspects on the list will never find out they are on it, as they are rejected from entering the country for different reasons.
In 2022, Border Patrol encountered over 2 million people at the southern Border of the US. That’s more than four times the number of people who arrived at the US border in 2020.
With almost 100 people on the watchlist apprehended, lawmarkers wonder how many more could be among those who were “gotaways” — spotted by the Border Patrol or seen on camera but not apprehended after crossing the border. Sources told Fox News they estimated as many as 599,000 migrants crossing the border and evading authorities in 2022.
Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) grilled Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week about how many of the thousands of those who got away could have been on the terror watchlist.
“By definition they are gotaways,” responded Mayorkas.
“How can you say the border is secure,” Pfluger asked. “The American people aren’t buying it.”
“The American people are demanding that you secure the border,” said Pfluger to Mayorkas. “You have testified under oath today that it is secure. It is not.”