Two Yemeni men on the FBI terror watchlist were arrested trying to cross illegally into California, just weeks after Republican lawmakers warned that such individuals have been trying to breach the southern border.
Reports indicate one of the individuals was arrested on January 29th, while the other was detained just last week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement that the two unnamed men were on a government watchlist for terrorism suspects, as well as a ‘no-fly’ list.
“Part of the Border Patrol’s mission states we will protect the country from terrorists,” Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino announced.
“These apprehensions at our border illustrate the importance of our mission and how we can never stop being vigilant in our everyday mission to protect this great country,” added Bovino.
News of the arrests of individuals on the terror watchlist at the border comes just weeks after Republican lawmakers insisted there was just such a threat being exploited with the Biden administration’s current border crisis.
Last month, CBP reported that four people on the watchlist had already been detained – three of the persons in question were from Yemen, while a fourth was from Serbia.
Yemen is listed in a 2017 State Department report on terrorism as a “terrorist safe haven.”
“Individuals that they have on the watch list for terrorism are now starting to exploit the Southern border,” Rep. John Katko said at the time.
“We need to wake up, we need to understand,” Katko continued as he urged President Biden to admit he’s made a mistake with his lax border security policies.
Democrat lawmakers last month denied reports that individuals on the terror watchlist were trying to exploit the weak southern border under the Biden administration.
Rep. Ruben Gallego was featured in a Washington Post column in which he declared House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans were lying.
“Weird as the Chairman of the subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations and a border state member of Congress, haven’t heard anything about this,” tweeted Gallego (D-AZ).
“Gonna ask for a briefing. Pretty sure he is either wrong or lying.”
McCarthy had warned that illegals crossing the border are “not just people from Mexico or Honduras or El Salvador.”
“They’re now finding people from Yemen, Iran, Turkey,” he explained. “People on the terrorist watch list they are catching, and they’re rushing in all at once.”
Todd Bensman, an analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, estimated in 2019 that around 20 terrorist suspects are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border every year.
Border patrol reports that they are currently detaining around 5,000 people a day at the U.S. Mexico border.
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