Border enforcement officials apprehended more than three dozen people named on the federal terrorism watchlist at the US-Mexico frontier in the final three months of 2022 — after a record number of terror suspects were caught in the 12 months ending Sept. 30 of last year.
According to US Customs and Border Protection, 38 people identified as known terrorists, suspected terrorists, or associates of both were stopped while attempting to cross into the US between official points of entry since Oct. 1.
In fiscal year 2022, CBP apprehended 98 people whose names appeared on the terror watchlist trying enter the US illegally. That number is on pace to top 150 in fiscal year 2023.
The watchlist was established after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as a federal database of known terrorists who are not US citizens, according to the FBI. It has since expanded to include suspected terrorists and their known affiliates.
Between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2020 only 11 people on the terror watchlist were arrested trying to enter the US from Mexico.
In fiscal year 2021, there were 15 arrests related to the terror watchlist before spiking to 98 between Oct. 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022.
The dramatic increase in crossings of known or suspected terrorists comes as illegal immigration continues to explode in the US under President Biden.
The latest numbers from CBP indicate that there were 251,487 border encounters in December — the first time on record that number has topped 250,000.
Those figures also do not include any so-called “gotaways” — people spotted by Border Patrol or seen on camera but not apprehended after crossing the border.
Sources told Fox News Digital over the weekend that CBP has tracked about 1.2 million “gotways” since Biden took office, half of them in 2022 alone. It’s unclear if any of the “gotaways” were on the terror watchlist.
In calendar year 2022, authorities encountered 2.2 million people at the southern border — more than four times the number of people who arrived at the US border in 2020.
Biden has been facing growing pressure from his critics on the right — and even from some members of his own party — to tackle the escalating border crisis.
In early January, the president visited the southern border in Texas for the first time since becoming president.
Biden’s brief trip was dismissed by fed-up Border Patrol agents as too little, too late.
Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been shipping busloads of migrants to liberal strongholds like New York City and Washington DC to put pressure on Democratic leaders, handed the president a letter harshly criticizing his policies pertaining to border protection.