U.S. border officials have arrested two Yemeni men on a terrorist watch list in recent months in separate incidents as they illegally crossed the border with Mexico, CBP said on Monday.
The men, arrested in January and March near a port of entry in California, were on a U.S. government watch list for terrorism suspects and a no-fly list, CBP said in a statement from hurry.
A group of Republican lawmakers who visited the border in El Paso, Texas in March said border officials told them during the trip that some people caught crossing the border were on a list monitoring of American terrorism. Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden for relaxing some restrictions put in place by former President Donald Trump as the number of border crossings has increased in recent months.
MORE: @CBP on arrests in # Yemen | I men on the terrorism watch list
“Our border security efforts are extensive and include several levels of rigorous screening that allow us to detect and prevent people who pose a risk to national security or public safety from entering …” says spox @VOANews
Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) April 5, 2021
One of the men, 33, was arrested on January 29 after allegedly attempting to cross the border illegally near a port of entry in Calexico, Calif., CBP said.
Border officials found a cell phone SIM card under the insole of the man’s shoe, the agency said.
The second man, 26, was arrested on March 30 in the same neighborhood.
A CBP spokesperson said in a written statement that it is very rare for border officials to encounter terrorist suspects at U.S. borders and that the arrests underscore the agency’s critical control efforts.
The agency did not provide the names of the men.
The watch list is maintained by the Terrorism Detection Center of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The list contains “the identity of those known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity,” according to the FBI.
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