Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection detailing FY 2010 apprehension statistics for illegal alien smugglers and illegal aliens from countries considered to be a high threat to the United States because of their suspected ties to terrorism.
Among the highlights from the documents, obtained by Judicial Watch pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request originally filed on January 26, 2011:
* U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 463,382 individuals smuggled across the border, including 8,905 smugglers. (3,027 of the smugglers apprehended were deemed “deportable.”)
* U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 59,017 “Other Than Mexican” illegal aliens through October 7, 2010.
* Among the nations represented in apprehension statistics are the four countries currently on the State Department’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” Cuba (712), Iran (14), Syria (5) and Sudan (5), as well as Somalia (9), Afghanistan (9), Pakistan (37), Saudi Arabia (5) and Yemen (11).
* Overall, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 663 “Aliens from Special Interest Countries.” These countries are deemed “special interest” because of their suspected ties to terrorism.
* The countries yielding the highest “Other Than Mexican” apprehensions include: Guatemala (18,406), El Salvador (13,723), and Honduras (13,580).
Press reports thrust the issue of suspected terrorists crossing the border into the spotlight in May 2010 when the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert to authorities in Texas to be on the lookout for a member of the Somali-based terrorist group Al Shabaab, who was suspected of hatching a plot to cross into the U.S. through Mexico. The warning followed an indictment unsealed earlier that month in a Texas federal court accusing a Texas Somali man of running a “large-scale smuggling enterprise” charged with bringing hundreds of Somalis across the Mexican border. Many of these illegal aliens were suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations. However, until now, the Obama administration offered little information regarding the overall scope of this growing national security problem.
“We should not be surprised if terrorists take advantage of our porous borders in light of the Obama administration’s lax approach to border security,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “When you have an administration that pushes illegal alien amnesty, permits illegal alien sanctuary policies, and attacks states like Arizona for seeking to enforce the rule of law, it sends a signal to our enemies to cross the border illegally and to do their worst. The Obama administration continues to allow our borders to spiral out of control. These numbers are simply astonishing. Our country cannot secure our borders soon enough!”