Federal immigration authorities have arrested an illegal immigrant at the southern border who is wanted in Senegal for alleged terrorist activities. The 29-year-old individual, identified as an “unlawfully present Mauritanian or Senegalese citizen,” was apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on October 17. The arrest came two weeks after the individual was encountered by Border Patrol agents near Lukeville, Arizona.
According to ICE, the individual is wanted by Senegalese authorities for criminal conspiracy in relation to a terrorist organization, destruction, degradation and damages in relation to a terrorist organization, direct provocation of an armed crowd, and acts aimed at compromising public safety. After being processed and served with a Notice to Appear in New York City, the individual was released on his own recognizance.
However, a week later, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations agents notified Enforcement and Removal Operations in New York City about the individual’s terrorism charges in Senegal. Subsequently, ICE’s New York City Fugitive Operations team arrested him without incident outside the Federal Plaza immigration court. The individual is now in custody and facing deportation proceedings.
The release of a foreign national wanted on terror charges in another country has raised concerns about potential security threats at the southern border. Border Patrol agents have previously expressed worries about the lack of access to migrants’ criminal history, as many countries do not share their databases with the United States. Republicans have also highlighted the record number of terror watch list encounters and encounters with “special interest aliens” at the border.
The Department of Homeland Security’s fiscal 2024 threat assessment warned about the possibility of terrorists and criminal actors exploiting the complex security environment at the border to enter the United States. However, DHS has emphasized its multilayered border security efforts, including screening and vetting processes.