The U.S. faces heightened national security concerns as over 70,000 ‘special interest aliens’ from countries of concern have been detained at the southern border in the past two years.
Serious Concerns for Safety
In the last two years, the US southern border has witnessed the arrival of more than 70,000 individuals labeled as ‘special interest aliens,’ a term that raises serious concerns among border officials and highlights the potential threats of terrorists infiltrating the country.
Defining “Special Interest Aliens”
These ‘special interest aliens’ encompass citizens from countries with a history of terrorism or political instability.
Nations With Extremist Connections
They mostly hail from places such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria, all with well-documented connections to extremist activities.
NATO Ally Turkey
However, a significant portion of these individuals originate from NATO ally Turkey and the West African nation of Mauritania, which grapples with ongoing extremist violence.
A Hidden Concern
It’s important to note that these figures represent only those individuals detained between ports of entry and do not account for those who may have entered the country undetected.
Vetting Challenges at the Border
The lack of vetting capabilities for individuals from these ‘special interest countries’ raises substantial concerns.
Border Patrol’s Deepening Concerns
Border Patrol sources express their unease, highlighting the inability to thoroughly vet these migrants.
Unless they have prior criminal records in the United States or are on federal watchlists, there is little information to verify their identities, primarily because many of their home countries do not share data or records with the US.
‘Special Interest Aliens’
The classification of ‘special interest aliens’ relies on the individuals’ country of origin, rather than specific intelligence about particular persons.
Creating Complications With Refugees
Federal agencies use this term to define those coming from countries that either support terrorism or represent a potential national security threat.
The situation becomes more complex when countries affected by terrorism are also the places from which populations seek refuge.
The Growing Surge at the Southern Border
In the context of the southern border, the numbers of detainees have surged significantly.
Preliminary data from the previous month reported approximately 210,000 apprehensions, marking the third-highest figure on record.
A Disturbing Trend
This trend has been steadily growing, with the numbers reflecting a continuous challenge for border security.
Moreover, the 2023 fiscal year, concluding at the end of September, recorded over two million illegal migrants intercepted at the border, making it the second-highest annual figure on record.
As such, the southern border remains a central issue for the United States.
Biden Backs Down
The Biden administration has recently changed its stance on one of its key commitments.
In a significant shift, the Department of Homeland Security decided to waive 26 federal laws to resume the construction of sections of the border wall initiated during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Biden – Reversing Border Policy?
This move contradicts the previous administration’s approach, which critiqued and ceased wall construction when President Joe Biden assumed office.
National Security Implications
The situation at the southern border continues to be a point of contention and challenge, with significant implications for national security, immigration, and policy decisions.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vic Hinterlang. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.