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160 people on the terror watch list stopped at US border in 2023— the highest number ever

Federal law enforcement stopped 160 people listed on the terror watch list from entering the US illegally at America’s borders this fiscal year — the highest number ever — government statistics reveal.

The worrying number is a huge increase on the 98 of potentially dangerous assailants nabbed last year as thousands of people continue to flood into the country both legally and illegally, often with little to show by way of identifying papers.

The names and identities of those on the list is a closely guarded secret as revealing them could cause diplomatic incidents with rogue states, tip off terrorists and cartels about US border strategy or invite retribution thus posing a grave threat to national security, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Terrorists and criminal actors may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States,” the DHS admitted in its annual Homeland Threat Assessment report.

The number of people on the watch list trying to enter the country through the US’s northern border with Canada and southern border with Mexico has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office.

Many have tried to hide among the unprecedented numbers of people arriving at international borders, which included 2.5 million arriving at the border this year, 2.7 million last year and 1.9 million in 2021, according to US Customs and Border Protection, for whom the fiscal year ends in September.

In 2021, only 16 people on the terror watch list were detained at the border. Before that, the numbers were as low as two or six flagged in a whole year.

However, in the last decade the scope of the terror watch list has grown, including people who are associates of those who are threats — including family members of suspected terrorists.

“We expect continued high numbers of migrant encounters over the next year because traditional drivers of migration to the United States remain unchanged and frustration with waiting for legal migration pathways may grow,” the report reads.

The list is so tightly regulated even members of Congress have had trouble accessing any information from it in the past, according to CBS News.

However, some scant details about suspected terrorists at the border do surface. In March, an unnamed Afghani national was nabbed infiltrating the southern border in Otay Mesa near San Diego, Calif.

Every person who arrives at the border undergoes biometric and biographic screening and vetting, which can lead to flags when matched to the terror watch list.

Customs and Border Protection has also expanded information-sharing agreements with international partners “to enhance their ability to prevent, detect, and investigate trafficking and other crimes,” the DHS said Thursday.

Every person who arrives at the border undergoes biometric and biographic screening and vetting, which can lead to flags when matched to the terror watch list.

Despite the record amount of terror watch list suspects stopped, government officials claimed the numbers are still low.

“Encounters of known or suspected terrorists attempting to cross the Southern Border are uncommon. These encounters represent significantly less than 0.01% of total encounters per fiscal year in recent years.”

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