WASHINGTON – Since January, U.S. customs and border protection officials have arrested two men on the FBI’s terrorism watch list as they attempted to cross the southern border into the United States, the agency said on Monday. .
The two men, aged 33 and 26, were from Yemen, apprehended in the El Centro area, Calif., And are also on the no-fly list which prohibits some people from boarding planes. because of their potential threat to national security.
CBP said it does not publish the total number of immigrants arrested at the southern border whose names were on the FBI’s terrorism watch list or the country’s no-fly list, and did not provided the number encountered in the past year, but said the incidents are “very rare.”
“Although encounters of known and suspected terrorists at our borders are very rare, they underline the importance of the critical work that our agents do on a daily basis to control all those encountered at our borders,” said a spokesperson for the agency.
Data obtained by NBC News showed that in the first half of fiscal 2018, a total of six migrants on the terrorism watch list were apprehended while attempting to cross the southern border illegally. The number had been inflated by the Trump administration, which claimed that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists attempted to cross the US-Mexico border that year.
The Yemeni men were arrested on January 29 and March 30. Both were detained; one in immigration and customs custody and the other in federal custody pending deportation. The agency did not provide the names of the men or the reason they are on the FBI’s terrorism watch list.