Border Patrol agents caught 12 illegal immigrants in November whose names popped on the terrorism watchlist, according to new data revealed this week by the Department of Homeland Security.
That’s up from nine terrorism suspects nabbed in October and brings the total to 21 through the first two months of the fiscal year.
That is well above the pace of last year, which set a record with 98 terrorism suspects nabbed.
By contrast, from 2017 to 2020 — roughly matching the years of the Trump administration — Border Patrol agents caught a total of just 11 terrorism suspects at the southern border.
The new numbers were revealed just as President Biden prepares to make his first trip to the border as president on Sunday. He is expected to tout his plan to welcome some migrants through a newly created immigration system while embracing Trump-era tools to block others from gaining a foothold in the U.S.
Border experts say the rising number of terrorism suspects detected is worrying because it signals more are probably getting through. They say those getting caught either made a mistake or didn’t know they were on the watch list.
November saw Border Patrol agents make 206,239 arrests of people crossing the southern border illegally — a record for the month.