by Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)
Another foreign national who entered the US illegally and was released into the country by the Biden administration had an extensive criminal record and was wanted in Venezuela for terrorism financing.
According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in April 2021, Border Patrol agents arrested a Venezuelan national for illegal entry near San Luis, Arizona. He was charged with inadmissibility under US immigration law and issued a notice to appear before an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).
When served notice to appear, he was released on parole to the US pending the outcome of his scheduled immigration hearing.
In August 2021, four months after he was released in the US, a criminal court in Valencia, Venezuela, issued an arrest warrant for him on “accusations of persistent fraud, money laundering and collaboration in connection with the financing of organized crime and terrorism”. The only reason for his arrest was a Venezuelan international criminal warrant that alerted ERO Chicago officials to his fugitive status.
Two years after he was first apprehended in Arizona by Border Patrol agents, he was arrested again on August 8, 2023, by the Fugitive Operations Team of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago. News release By CBP ERO.
“ERO Chicago is committed to apprehending those who mistakenly believe they may be here to commit crimes and unlawfully evade justice,” said Ladian Francis, ERO Chicago’s acting field office director. “Those who are engaging in fraud and financing terrorism must be held accountable for their crimes – especially those who have flagrantly violated our federal immigration laws.”
When ERO Chicago officials began searching for the Venezuelan man, they confirmed that he was living in ERO Chicago’s area of responsibility. Agents located him without incident and took him into custody, they said. The Venezuelan national is currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
This is not the first time a foreign national with ties to terrorism has been released by an inspector general in the US recently reports found that a known, suspected terrorist was allegedly released by Yuma Station Border Patrol agents in Arizona because “multiple mistakes were made due to ineffective practices and procedures to resolve inconclusive matches with the terrorist watch list.”
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The only reason she was caught was because she was flagged during Transportation Security Administration airport screening in California when she tried to board a plane to Tampa, Florida.
The OIG found that he had been released into the US without first confirming that he was on the Terrorist Screening Dataset, otherwise known as the Terrorist Watch List.
A Yuma official admitted to the OIG that the reason she was released was because agents were too busy controlling the flood of illegal aliens into the country at the station at full capacity, meaning there was no room to keep her. Was, and he was released.
Despite being overwhelmed by historically high illegal border crossings, agents are still catching known and suspected terrorists, according to agents cbp data, As of July 18 this fiscal year, when the data was last updated, the Office of Field Operations agents intercepted 61 KSTs at ports of entry along the southwest border. Border Patrol agents apprehended 140 between ports of entry.
The KST apprehensions on the South West Border are much less than the apprehensions on the Northern Border, which total 324 FYs so far.
Combined on both the borders, 525 known, suspected terrorists have been apprehended till July in this financial year.
syndicated with permission from Center Square,