In the past two years, the southern border has faced overwhelming numbers of illegal border crossers—including those who have been identified as threats to the U.S. 

More than 250,000 illegal aliens have entered the U.S. from foreign nations that U.S. Customs and Border Protection do not specify on their public data portal. 

However, recently revealed internal CBP data shows from October 2021 to October 2023, Border patrol agents have apprehended more than 70,000 special interest aliens between the ports of entry. 

Special interest aliens are from countries identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as having conditions that promote or protect terrorism or potentially pose some national security threat to the U.S.

“SIAs are not regarded as terrorists but, because they arrive as almost complete strangers from nations where avowed anti-U.S. terrorist groups are prevalent, homeland security protocols dating to a 2004 CBP Memorandum and still largely in effect call for SIAs to be tagged and detained until they can go through extra security screening,” explains Senior Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies Todd Bensman. 

Bensman says that under normal circumstances, SIAs undergo face-to-face interviews, background checks against classified databases, and analysis of their statements as well as belongings.

However, over the past three years, it has become increasingly clear that CBP is not operating under normal circumstances. 

Here are the internal CBP numbers of SIAs provided by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz:

  • 6,386 from Afghanistan 
  • 3,153 from Egypt 
  • 659 from Iran 
  • 538 from Syria
  • 13,624 from Uzbekistan 
  • 30,830 from Turkey 
  • 1,613 from Pakistan
  • 164 from Lebanon 
  • 185 from Jordan 
  • 123 from Iraq 
  • 15,594 from Mauritania

“The Biden administration’s failure to secure the southern border has jeopardized our national security, as terrorists from war-torn countries in the Middle East continue [to] breach our southern border,” said Cruz regarding the numbers. 

Cruz  has introduced a new amendment to the national security supplemental bill that he says “includes a comprehensive plan to secure the U.S.-Mexico border by investing resources in both border and interior enforcement.”

According to Cruz:

It would provide physical and technological border improvements, manpower assistance to Border Patrol and ICE Enforcement Removal Operations, and protection to families seeking entry at the border as well as unaccompanied alien children. Additionally, Sen. Cruz’s amendment punishes visa overstays, reforms immigration parole, asylum, and the legal immigration workforce issues, and prevents uncontrolled alien flows into the United States. 

Texas has attempted to mitigate the Biden administration’s border crisis, but the new measure that creates a criminal offense for illegal entry into the state is still awaiting the governor’s final approval. Additionally, the American Civil Liberties Union has already promised to sue the state over the measure—meaning it could be tied up in litigation for years before it is implemented.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.