Just 12 Non-U.S. Citizens on Terror Watchlist Apprehended at Southern Border

By Shani Saxon Jan 08, 2019

As the nation prepares itself for Trump’s televised address on immigration tonight (January 8), his administration is busy making a case for a wall on the nation’s southern border. CNN reports that Vice President Mike Pence sat down with "Good Morning America" today and—as part of his justification for the proposed wall—said, "Nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means in the last year."

But that statement was misleading. According to CNN, an "administration official familiar with data from Customs and Border Protection," says that roughly a dozen non-United States citizens who are also on the terror watchlist were identified at the southern border between October 2017 and October 2018. The same official also says that the number of known or suspected terrorists attempting to cross the southern border went from "zero to a small increase over the last couple of years."

In fact, a 2017 State Department report said there is "no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States." 

Per the CNN report, of the roughly 12 people on the terror watchlist identified at the southern border, half were stopped at a legal port of entry, and the other half were apprehended attempting to cross elsewhere. 

fact sheet released Monday night (January 7) by the Department of Homeland Security said that while it’s true that "3,755 known or suspected terrorists tried to enter or travel to the U.S. in fiscal year 2017," that number refers to entry points and visa applications from around the world—not solely at the southern border.