Terror Threat Is “Real” While Border Remains Open, Says Former CBP Chief

Authored by Stephen Katte via The Epoch Times,

Former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott is sounding the alarm over the state of U.S. borders amid an increasing number of known criminals and terror suspects being caught trying to enter the United States.

Ex-Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott believes there is ‘no negative’ to the United States having secure borders going forward.

In a Nov. 18 interview with “Fox News,” the former border patrol chief warns he believes terror threats are a “real” possibility if the policies around border security remain the same.

According to the latest data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), record numbers of immigrants—more than 200,000 in September—from at least 170 different nationalities have attempted to cross the borders. For context, there are 223 different recognized nationalities worldwide, spread across 195 countries.

In October, the United States Border Patrol (USBP) arrested or encountered more than 1,500 people with known criminal histories, 90 with outstanding warrants, at least 50 known gang members, and 13 terrorists on U.S. watchlists.

“I don’t know what numbers are going to wake America up right now,” Mr. Scott said.

“But the fact that those different nationalities are involved—now, there’s well over 170 different nationalities—it’s overwhelming Border Patrol and the threats are real. We really need to secure our border.”

Former federal officials and experts have said in the past there is a real possibility that hundreds of people on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist have slipped into the United States amid the millions of other illegal immigrants over the past three years.

According to a post from Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, more than 18,000 people have eluded Border Patrol agents while sneaking across the border since Oct. 1.

Warnings About Hamas in the United States

A warning was recently circulated internally among CBP officials warning that terrorists associated with the terrorist group Hamas could try to cross into the United States from Mexico. The warning came amid federal officials seeing an alarming increase in border hoppers listed on the U.S. Terror Screening Dataset, the official name for the terrorist watchlist.

CBP shows that in fiscal year 2023, which ended in October, Border Patrol agents apprehended 172 people on the watchlist from along the southwest border. However, when all ports of entry are added, the total number rises to 736.

Between 2017 and 2019, only 11 people on the terrorist watchlist were caught trying to enter the United States. Some illegal border crossers were also caught with explosives.

Mr. Scott pointed out that it only took a small group to carry out the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. He also claimed that before the Biden administration took power following the 2020 presidential election, border security was being tightened. But then the new administration “undid everything,” creating the current situation.

“The threats are real; there is no negative to a secure border. This chaos that Biden has created, not only does it kill more migrants and more Americans, it’s a direct threat to the border patrol agency, officers, and law document officers along the line,” Mr. Scott said.

“We really need to secure the border, reestablish law and order along our southwest border, and end this chaos that is killing so many.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for further comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there were at least 686 documented deaths and disappearances of migrants from the southern border in 2022, and 1,457 migrant deaths or disappearances across all entry points into the United States. The IOM says that 2022 has now revealed itself as the “deadliest year on record” since the organization started its Missing Migrants Project (MMP) in 2014.

Recently, a border patrol agent was also killed after an ATV he was operating left the roadway and struck a light pole. According to libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, 35 border patrol agents have been killed along the border between 2003 and 2019. Roughly half were the result of vehicle accidents.

U.S. Border Patrol agents keep watch over illegal immigrants in Fronton, Texas, on May 12, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

FBI Director Also Concerned About Border Security

Former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott isn’t the only official voicing concerns about terrorists crossing at U.S. borders. FBI Director Christopher Wray told members of Congress last month that the Hamas/Israel war in the Middle East could spark and inspire attacks on targets within the United States. Specifically, Mr. Wray fears the threat posed by what he described as homegrown extremists.

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East, to carry out attacks here at home,” he said at the time.

“We cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here on our own soil,” Mr. Wray added.

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington on Nov. 15, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Since the start of the conflict, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and “the West.” As a result, overseas U.S. military bases and personnel have been the victims of multiple attacks by Iran-backed militia groups in the last few months. In response, there have been multiple strikes by the United States against facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in eastern Syria.

However, the FBI director did stress that while there is a concern over terror threats, there is no information to indicate that Hamas “has the intent or capability to conduct operations inside the U.S., though we cannot, and do not, discount that possibility.”


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