(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he "just recently" asked the Border Patrol "to focus" on illegal immigrants coming from "other hemispheres," including the Middle East.
"In terms of the Southwest border, I just recently asked for them to focus on immigrants coming illegally from other hemispheres, from the Middle East and so forth, to detect them and block them before they even get to the homeland, working with governments in South America, Central America to prevent that from happening," Johnson told "Fox News Sunday."
"You're correct that we're seeing illegal migrants coming from Africa, coming from the Middle East," Johnson told host Chris Wallace. "And we're doubling down on preventing that happening before they even reach the Southwest border."
Johnson also told Wallace, "We're stronger when it comes to preventing against a 9/11 style attack. We very plainly have a serious threat environment when it comes to the lone wolf actor, those who self-radicalize. That's a relatively new phenomenon that we've got to protect against."
In Fiscal Year 2015, the latest year for which data is available, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol apprehended 337,117 illegal aliens between ports of entry (compared with 486,651 in FY 2014); and another 255,342 inadmissible aliens showed up at ports of entry and were either arrested or returned to their home countries.
Of the 337,117 apprehensions nationwide, 322,694 (95.7 percent) of those apprehensions were of individuals from Mexico (188,122), Guatemala (57,160), El Salvador (43,564) and Honduras (33,848). However, the Fiscal Year 2015 CBP Border Security Report does not give the nationality of the remaining 14,423 people apprehended between ports of entry.
The federal government's fiscal year ends in October, and full-year data on overall illegal immigration numbers and patterns for fiscal 2016 will be released after that.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security released its detailed 2014 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, showing that 679,996 people were either apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol or arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Fiscal Year 2014.
Of those 697,996 Border Patrol apprehensions and ICE administrative arrests, 3,308 were African nationals; 11,131 were Asian; 3,915 were European; 648,576 were North American; 12,174 were South American; 369 were from Oceania (Pacific Ocean islands); and 523 were listed as "unknown" nationality.
That FY 2014 Yearbook also includes the individual countries from which those 697,996 people tried to enter the U.S.
To name a few: 66 of the illegal or inadmissible aliens were from Afghanistan; 223 were from Iran; 117 from Lebanon; 36 from Libya; 350 from Pakistan; 226 from Saudi Arabia; 169 from Somalia; 61 from Syria; 243 from Turkey; 67 from Yemen; and 523 people's home countries were were "unknown."