Federal Agents Race to Locate and Arrest Hundreds of Immigrants Smuggled by ISIS-Affiliated Network Across Southern U.S. Border

Federal Agents Race to Locate and Arrest Hundreds of Immigrants Smuggled by ISIS-Affiliated Network Across Southern U.S. Border

Out of the 400 immigrants smuggled into the U.S. by an ISIS-affiliated network, federal agents have already arrested 150.

However, the whereabouts of 50 individuals remain unknown, creating significant concern among authorities.

These migrants crossed the southern border and were initially vetted by U.S. Border Patrol.

However, since they weren’t on the government’s terrorism watchlist, they couldn’t be detained at the time, according to NBC News.

Although there is no current specific terror threat linked to these individuals, their connections to ISIS, which recently carried out an attack in Russia, are troubling.

In the past few months, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detained 150 of these migrants on immigration charges rather than terrorism-related violations.

Former FBI counterterrorism section chief Christopher O’Leary highlighted the urgency of locating the remaining individuals.

He noted that using immigration charges is a common strategy to apprehend individuals who may pose a threat.

Broader Context and Ongoing Efforts

Some of the 400 migrants have already been deported, while the rest are dispersed across 17 states, with arrests expected soon.

These individuals are believed to be from countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Russia, all known for connections to ISIS and ISIS-K.

Recent Incidents and Security Challenges

In early June, eight Tajikistan men were detained in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles for possible ISIS ties.

In April, an Uzbek man living in the U.S. for over two years was arrested in Baltimore after his home country alerted U.S. authorities about a potential threat.

Broader Immigration Trends

The southern border has seen over 2.2 million migrant encounters from October to May.

This includes asylum-seekers hoping to stay in the U.S. and those entering illegally who are then deported.

The number of crossings this year is expected to surpass the 3.2 million encounters recorded in 2023.

Strategic Weaknesses

O’Leary emphasized that the high volume of people crossing the southern border presents a weak point in U.S. defense.

ISIS and affiliated groups are exploiting this vulnerability to infiltrate the country.

The U.S. continues its efforts to address this critical security challenge.

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