(CNS News) – When asked why so many people on the terrorist watchlist are being encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border compared to previous years – 78 so far this fiscal year – Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said it was because “we have an open border,” and that “it’s going to get worse.”
At the Capitol on Sept. 20, CNS News asked Senator Tuberville, “According to Customs and Border Protection, in fiscal year 2020 it encountered three people on the terrorist watchlist trying to cross the Southwest border between the ports of entry. Last year, it encountered 15. In the first 11 months of this fiscal year it had encountered 78. Why do you think there has been an increase?”
Tuberville replied, “Because we have an open border. They know to come and, you know, they all make plans all over the world -- ‘hey, we can get in’ -- no matter who you are. So, they’re coming by the droves and it’s going to get worse.”
As CNS News has reported, “The 78 Border Patrol encounters with people on the terrorist watchlist reported in the first eleven months of this fiscal year is 5.2 times the 15 encounters that occurred through all of fiscal 2021.
“In fiscal 2017, according to the CBP data, the Border Patrol only had 2 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watchlist between the ports of entry on the Southwest border. In fiscal 2018, it was 6. In fiscal 2019, it was zero. In fiscal 2020, it was 3. In fiscal 2021, it was 15. Then, in October through August of this fiscal year, it was 78.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) holds sensitive information on terrorist identities. Although TSDS originally contained information on only known or suspected terrorists (KSTs), it now includes individuals that pose a potential threat to the U.S.