GOP senator demands Biden admin brief Congress on terror watchlist border encounters: ‘There is an invasion’

FIRST ON FOX: Legislation being introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., would require the federal government to report to Congress details about terror watchlist encounters at the southern border – coming amid renewed concerns about the terror threat at the border. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would require the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to report monthly not only the number of terror watchlist encounters, which are already posted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but also an additional breakdown. That would include where the individuals were encountered, details on why they were on the watchlist, any such ties they have to a terrorist organization, national origin and previous criminal convictions. CBP MEMO SOUNDS ALARM ON HAMAS, HEZBOLLAH FIGHTERS POTENTIALLY USING SOUTHERN BORDER TO ENTER US Other information would include how they traveled to the U.S., details about their detention and if they have been deported into the U.S. or released, and how many faulty watchlist hits have occurred. The bill comes as new CBP statistics show a record number of people encountered at the southern border between ports of entry in FY 23, more than the last six fiscal years combined. “There is an invasion at our southern border. Every day that the Biden administration continues their open border agenda, Americans’ national security is at risk,” Marshall said in a statement. “Month after month, we have seen historic numbers of migrants on the FBI’s terror watchlist infiltrating our country’s border. The threat the individuals on this list pose to Americans’ safety is too great for us to do nothing.” There were 169 people encountered on the terror watchlist at the southern border in FY 23. With encounters between ports at the northern border included, the total for fiscal year 2023 was 172. The encounters between ports of entry are eclipsed by those who are encountered at the ports themselves. Overall, there were 564 encounters at ports, just slightly higher than fiscal year 2019, when there were 538. The watch list, now officially called the Terrorist Screening Dataset, is the U.S. database that contains information on terrorist identities and includes not only known or suspected terrorists but also affiliates of watch-listed individuals. It is unclear how many of the encounters at the border are from affiliates – which can include family members – and how many, if any, are from groups like Hamas or ISIS, or may be from left-wing revolutionary groups. BORDER PATROL STOPS RECORD NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON TERROR WATCH LIST AT SOUTHERN BORDER “Encounters of watchlisted individuals at our borders are very uncommon, underscoring the critical work CBP Agents and Officers carry out every day on the front lines,” the agency states on its website. “DHS works tirelessly to secure our borders through a combination of highly trained personnel, ground and aerial monitoring systems, and robust intelligence and information sharing networks.” Republicans have renewed their concerns about the border crisis since the attacks on Israel by Hamas, citing fears that fighters could be trying to enter the U.S. via the southern border.  HIGH MIGRANT NUMBERS BREAK MULTIPLE RECORDS IN NEW BLOW TO BIDEN BORDER STRATEGY In a Friday memo by the agency’s San Diego Field Office’s intelligence unit, obtained by Fox News, the agency warns that individuals “inspired by, or reacting to, the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border.” “Foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune may attempt to obfuscate travel to or from the U.S. to or from countries in the Middle East through Mexico.” A CBP spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the agency “has seen no indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the United States.” “It is the policy of CBP to neither confirm nor speak to potentially improperly disclosed information or internal documents marked as law enforcement sensitive or for official use only,” the spokesperson said. “In general, CBP provides frontline personnel a wide range of context for situational awareness in order to ensure they remain vigilant in fulfillment of our homeland and border security missions. Situational awareness briefs are not threat assessments.”
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