Throughout fiscal year 2022, USA arrested at least 25 Colombian “terrorists” trying to enter the country illegally through the southern border.
(Read here: Illegal migration to the US is increasingly internationalized, what is happening?)
That according to a newspaper report Washington Examiner citing data from Internal Security Department (DSI) that was leaked to them.
(See also: Arrests of Colombian Migrants at US Borders Reach 116,000)
So far this year, 78 people whose names appear on the Terrorist Screening Dataset were stopped trying to cross the US-Mexico border between ports of entry this fiscal year.
The Biden admin is playing games with our national security & it must STOP NOW.https://t.co/PLCgtN2eNb pic.twitter.com/F1UKTzJrzT
— House Homeland GOP (@HomelandGOP) September 20, 2022
This week the DSI together with the border patrol published the official data on arrests at the border during the month of August and the accumulated number of arrests so far in the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.
The statistics also included the number of arrests of people who are included in the ‘Terrorist Screening Dataset’ (TSDS) or “terrorist list”which includes the names of individuals who are members or They have links with terrorist organizations worldwide.
In total, the DSI mentioned the arrest of 78 people that appeared in the TSDS, but without indicating their nationalities. However, the documents obtained by the Examiner identify 25 of the 27 “terrorists” arrested in the first six months of the year as Colombians.
The 78 arrests of people linked to terrorism is already a disproportionately high number compared to previous years. To put it in context: in 2021 only 15 were arrested; in 2020, three; in 2019, none and in 2018, six individuals.
But it is possible that some of these people had links with the FARC – demobilized – or with groups that have already been eliminated from the list of terrorist organizations.
The figures were used by Republicans to raise their criticism against the President Joe Biden for the management of border security, just when a record number of illegal arrests has just been announced on this border, more than 2 million in the 11 months of the fiscal year.
blond framea senator from Florida, said that the number of terrorists who have sneaked into the country is probably higher and even hinted that it may be a deliberate strategy by other countries to infiltrate the United States and harm it from within.
“If you are a terrorist, then you do not turn yourself in to the authorities, so that number of 78 is just a small sample of people who have ties to terrorist organizations in the Middle East, but also in this hemisphere. There are people from the Eln and the Farc, two communist and narco-terrorist groups that operate in Colombia and Venezuela, also linked to this. In fact, I think it’s the largest group of terrorists we’ve ever stopped.Rubio said.
According to the Senator, “what we don’t know, and we must find out, is if there is a strategy here. Is Venezuela or other countries deliberately sending these people to do harm in the United States? We don’t know, but we think it may be so.”
Even without concrete answers, there are other possible explanations for the high number of Colombians linked to terrorism arrested this year on the southern border.
One of them is that it matches the number record number of Colombian migrants who have begun to emigrate illegally to the United States in recent months.
According to DSI and Border Patrol figures, so far in fiscal year 2022, more than 116,000 Colombians at the bordercompared to 10,000 detainees in 2021 and less than 3,000 in 2020.
That is, from 2020 to date there has been an increase of more than 4000 percent. Therefore, the probability that among those 116,000 now appear 25 people who were on the terrorist list is very possible.
The other thing, argues Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, is that they are on the list by mistake.
Currently there are three Colombian groups that are on the list of terrorist organizations in the United States: Second Marquetalia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the ELN.
The first two were included at the end of last year to replace the FARC, after it was determined that this group had already demobilized as part of the peace process.
And, in theory, only people who have ties to these groups should be listed as terrorists on the TSDS.
“But it is possible that some of these people had links with the FARC -demobilized- or with the United Self-Defense Forces of ColombiaAUC, groups that have already been removed from the list of terrorist organizations, but their names still appear in the TSDS because they have not been purged from the system,” Nowrasteh told the Examiner newspaper.
In any case, it is a new development that once again puts the name of Colombia in the eye of the hurricane and could complicate relations with the new government of Gustavo Petro.
SERGIO GOMEZ MASERI