Departing Border Patrol chief says terror suspects crossing into U.S. ‘at a level we’ve never seen before’

The numbers of suspected or unknown terrorists crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico have become unprecedented in the months since Joe Biden took over as president in January and reversed most of former President Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies, the outgoing chief of the U.S. Border Patrol said.

Rodney Scott noted in a message to his former agency’s 19,000 agents as he retired Aug. 14 their national security function has gained renewed importance even though the administration’s focus has been on migrant families and children who are also crossing illegally into the U.S. in record numbers, the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday.

“Over and over again, I see other people talk about our mission, your mission, and the context of it being immigration or the current crisis today being an immigration crisis,” said Scott in a video message to his agents that was obtained by the media outlet.

“I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.”

The acronym refers to terrorist suspects in the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database.

“Your peers or you are taking criminals, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and like I said before, even TSDB alerts off the streets and keeping them safe from America,” Scott continued, according to the Examiner.

“Even if we processed several thousand migrants that day and even if thousands of them were allowed into the U.S., you still took those threats off the street, and I think that’s worth it. So please don’t ever undersell how important your mission is,” he urged agents.

The migrant surges seen over the past several months are coming mostly from impoverished Central American countries, but the numbers are staggering. In July alone, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said immigration authorities had encountered more than 212,000 migrants, which of course does not include those who snuck in illegally without being detected. As such, the Border Patrol has been forced to pull about 40 percent of its agents off of field security patrols so they can help take care of and transport the influx of migrants, leaving fewer agents on the line.

Smugglers are taking advantage of the reduction. Human traffickers will often send over larger groups of migrant families and children to divert available agents’ attention away from smaller groups of illegals as well as contraband such as drugs being smuggled in another area where there are no agents.

Earlier this year after Biden was sworn in, Customs and Border Protection officials told lawmakers that four people on the terror watchlist had been detained since October — three from Serbia and one person from Yemen.

Republicans have regularly lambasted the Biden administration’s lax border enforcement, blaming the president’s reversals of nearly all of Trump’s policies on the chaos along the border now.

House Homeland Security Committee ranking member John Katko (R-N.Y.), a former federal prosecutor who worked out of El Paso, Texas, told the Examiner that the Mexico-based smuggling cartels are “masterfully” exploiting the lax security.

“People they’ve caught in the last few days [in Border Patrol’s El Paso sector] have been under the terror watchlist,” Katko noted. “Individuals that they have on the watchlist for terrorism are now starting to exploit the southern border.”


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Jon Dougherty


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