Former President Trump said the Biden administration is only citing the “immediate need” to build a border wall because President Biden is watching the United States be “invaded” by illegal migrants, warning that “terrorists” are “already” inside the country.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday said there was an “acute and immediate need” to waive dozens of federal laws in order to build a border wall in south Texas where illegal migration has surged. DHS justified the move due to “high illegal entry” — more than 245,000 migrant encounters have been recorded in the Rio Grande Valley Sector this year.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital shortly after the DHS announcement, the former president — who leads the 2024 Republican primary field by a massive margin — blamed Biden for halting construction of the border wall and causing the crisis at the southern border.
“Biden sees our country is being invaded,” Trump said. “What is he going to do about the 15 million people from prisons, from mental institutions, insane asylums, and terrorists that have already come into our country?”
The number of people arrested in FY 2023 between ports of entry by Border Patrol at the southern border who are on the FBI’s terror watchlist hit a new record this year, with 151 arrests in FY 23, compared to 98 in FY 2022 and 15 in FY 21. At the ports of entry at the northern and southern border, there have been 505 people encountered by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations.
The watch list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) is the government’s database that “contains sensitive information on terrorist identities.” The watch list originated to house information on known or suspected terrorists, but “has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals,” CBP says.
While the number is relatively small, compared to the millions of migrants encountered at the borders in recent years, Republicans and former border officials have raised concern about the numbers of those on the terror watch list who are getting past Border Patrol agents. There were at least 599,000 illegal immigrants who escaped Border Patrol custody in FY 2022, after more than 390,000 in FY 2021.
“What has happened to our country?” Trump said, adding that the Biden administration needs to “go back to Trump policies.”
“He has to reinstate Remain in Mexico and Title 42,” Trump said. “He has to do all of the other things that we were doing.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital Wednesday night that “President Trump is always right.”
“That’s why he built close to 500 miles of powerful new wall on the border and it would have been finished by now,” the spokesperson said. “Instead, Crooked Joe Biden turned our country into one giant sanctuary for dangerous criminal aliens.”
The comments come after Department of Homeland Security posted an announcement Wednesday night on the U.S. Federal Register which outlines construction in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.
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