Government Report Faults Border Crisis for Premature Release of Suspected Terrorist

‘Increased flow of migrants’ and ‘multiple mistakes’ due to Biden’s historic mass migration crisis have weakened national security By Todd Bensman on July 5, 2023
Todd Bensman
Center for Immigration Studies
July 5, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas – In an unusual, scathing, and much-redacted public report, the Department of Homeland Security’s independent Office of Inspector General has released the results of an investigation into one of several U.S. releases of border-crossing immigrants who flagged positive on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist.

The report – titled “CBP Released a Migrant on a Terrorist Watchlist, and ICE Faced Information Sharing Challenges Planning and Conducting the Arrest” –describes a cavalcade of multi-agency mistakes that led to the April 19, 2022, release of an unnamed migrant who, after crossing two days earlier among the 30,000 a month then pouring through an unfinished, canceled section of Trump administration border wall near Yuma, Ariz., initially flagged – inconclusively – as a suspected terrorist.

But the report states that because border agents “were busy processing an increased flow of migrants” who were clogging the area’s central processing center at the time, agents released the suspect into the interior before the inconclusive alert could be resolved, which normally would happen quickly under established inter-agency routines.

Instead, under the pressure of processing historic numbers of illegal aliens pouring through the Yuma Sector all that spring (28,681 that April, compared to 298 the same month in 2020), Border Patrol released the suspect with most of the rest on personal recognizance, a GPS tracking device, and an honor-system promise that they voluntarily report in later to an ICE office in the cities they chose to settle in.

Mass releases of illegal border-crossers from central processing centers (CPCs), which as quickly as possible hand out “notice to report” or “notice to appear” authorization papers, sometimes with electronic monitoring devices, have been customary all along the southern border since President Biden took office in January 2021, without letup to the present day, and is commonly understood as the main cause of the border crisis.

Only after CPC officers released this suspect to board a commercial flight from Palm Springs, Calif., to Tampa, Fla. – where pre-check routines confirmed the watch list hit – did agencies eventually realize the alien was a positive match on the Terrorist Watchlist. But it was too little, too late.

Not until after two more weeks of foul-ups did ICE agents track down and, on May 6, 2022, finally arrest the suspected terrorist in Tampa.

Although the OIG report does not name the suspect for ostensible privacy reasons, the case details bear close resemblance to details in a May 23, 2022, Fox News report by Adam Sabes and Bill Melugin, which described how DHS border agents inadvertently released Colombian national Isnardo Garcia-Amado and then arrested him two weeks later in Florida.