FBI Scrambling to Track Down Migrants Brought to the US by ISIS-Tied Smuggler
The FBI is on a mission to locate more than 12 migrants from Uzbekistan who were released into the United States after receiving assistance at the nation’s southern border from a smuggler associated with the Islamic State group, as reported by CNN on Tuesday.
These migrants were granted entry into the United States after seeking asylum earlier this year, according to the report.
Their smuggler is believed to be an independent contractor working for the Islamic terrorist organization.
A classified intelligence report was circulated among Biden administration Cabinet officials during a morning briefing book, and urgent meetings were held between top national security and administration officials, as revealed by CNN.
Disrupting a Human Smuggling Network
“Intelligence reporting alerted us to a human smuggling network working to facilitate the travel of Uzbek nationals to the United States,” stated National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“As with all identified human smuggling networks — which seek to prey on the vulnerable and evade nations’ legal systems — the U.S. government immediately took steps to successfully disrupt it,” Watson told the DCNF.
“There was no indication — and remains no indication — that any of the individuals facilitated by this network have a connection to a foreign terrorist organization or are engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in the United States,” she assured.
The group of migrants managed to pass through federal custody undetected and were released after crossing the southern border, without raising any alarms, according to CNN.
The FBI sought assistance from the Turkish government, resulting in the arrest of the smuggler and other members of the smuggling network, as stated in the report.
Surge in Illegal Immigration
In recent years, federal authorities patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border have witnessed a surge in illegal immigration.
In fiscal year 2022, the Border Patrol recorded over 2.2 million migrant encounters, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Between October 2022 and July, the agency has already recorded 1.6 million migrant encounters, as reported by CBP.
The Border Patrol has also experienced a significant increase in the arrests of individuals on the terror watchlist, rising from 15 in fiscal 2021 to 98 in fiscal 2022, and reaching 146 in the first 10 months of fiscal 2023, according to federal data.
Former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott emphasized that the overwhelming nature of the surge provides an opportunity for bad actors to enter the United States, stating, “Anybody that doesn’t think that serious threats to this country are sneaking in right now is naïve.”
The DCNF reached out to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security for comment, but there was no immediate response.
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