In the first six months of fiscal year 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents apprehended six migrant aliens at the southern border whose names were included on the government’s list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data obtained by NBC News.
In total, CBP stopped 41 people at the southern border whose names appeared in the terrorist-screening database from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. The other 35 were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Border Patrol agents, who are separate from CBP, apprehended five migrants whose names appeared in the terrorist database in the first half of fiscal year 2018, though it’s unclear whether those migrants were attempting to cross the northern or southern border.
The report appears to contradict White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s Friday claim that CBP apprehended roughly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists in fiscal year 2018. Sanders cited the influx of terrorist migrants in defending the administration’s decision to shutdown the government over Democrats’ refusal to include more than $5 billion in funding for a southern-border wall in spending legislation that would have kept the government open until early February. Despite Sanders attempt to tie border wall construction to terrorism prevention, more than 3,700 of the suspected terrorists apprehended by CPB in 2018 were apprehended at airports, according to CPB data.
The shutdown, which began on Dec. 22 and is now the third-longest such event in the nation’s history, will become the longest if Congress fails to pass spending legislation the president is willing to sign by Saturday.