Although the number of encounters with illegal crossers has dropped significantly at the southwest border, an individual on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terror watchlist was apprehended. 

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection sources, 40-year-old Carlos Obed Yepez-Bedoya was apprehended by Texas Department of Public Safety agents on February 21. Yepez-Bedoya was attempting to cross the Texas-Mexico border in Eagle Pass. 

CBP sources confirmed with Fox News that the Colombian national is registered on the FBI’s terror watchlist but have not said why. 

According to the internal Border Patrol memo obtained by The New York Post, Yepez-Bedoya will be prosecuted for illegal entry into the country and will be processed for expedited removal from the U.S. back to his home country of Colombia. 

Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez told The New York Post that the incident has emphasized the need for border security measures.

“This underscores the need for border security measures as potential threats to both public safety and national security are evident and exploit security vulnerabilities,” said Olivarez.

“The federal government has failed to enact border security measures, and the state of Texas, through Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, will continue to take unprecedented action to help secure the border,” he added.

In Fiscal Year 2023, the number of encounters at the Southwest border hit a record high of 2.4 million individuals. Already in Fiscal Year 2024, border patrol agents have encountered more than 900,000 illegal aliens. 

In addition to the high number of encounters, terror-watchlisted individuals have become more eager to cross the border. In FY23, 172 terror-watchlisted people were encountered at the border. Now in just four months—between October 2023 and January 2024—there have been 59 individuals encountered. 

Texas attempted to curb illegal immigration by implementing a new state law that would create a state crime for entering Texas illegally. The law also authorizes Texas law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those who cross the border illegally anywhere in Texas. 

However, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the law from taking effect until at least March 13, following an emergency request from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.