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Rep. Biggs Sends Letter to CBP on Arrest of Aliens on Terrorism Watchlist

April 7, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman Andy Biggs sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) requesting information on the arrest of two Yemeni men identified on the terrorism watch list and the subsequent removal of the press release from the CBP website. The letter reads:

 

April 7, 2021

 

Troy Miller
Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20229

 

Dear Mr. Miller:

On April 5, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a press release stating that “U.S. Patrol Agents assigned to the El Centro Sector arrested two Yemeni men within the last 2 months that were identified on a terrorism watch list.”  This announcement is very troubling.  However, what is more troubling is that the press release was removed from the CBP website. I have seen your explanation for its removal.  However, this episode highlights the need for CBP to provide answers to members of Congress and the public about the current crisis at the border.

In light of this situation, please provide me answers to the following questions:

  • Has CBP arrested aliens who were on a terrorism watch list since January 20, 2021; if so, how many were arrested?
  • Has CBP arrested aliens who were on a terrorism watch list prior to January 20, 2021; if so, how many were arrested in each of the past five fiscal years?
  • Was CBP ordered by the White House or the Department of Homeland Security to remove the press release because the information contained in the press release contradicted White House talking points that there is no crisis at the border?
  • Who ordered CBP to take down the press release?
  • When CBP arrests aliens who are on a terrorism watch list, how does CBP process those aliens?  Are they always detained until they are removed from the country?

Given the national security risks posed by aliens who are affiliated with terrorist groups entering our country, I hope that you will provide me with the requested information as soon as possible and provide Congress with timely updates when aliens on a terrorism watch list are arrested.

Sincerely,

Andy Biggs
Member of Congress