After Customs and Border Patrol announced on Monday that they had apprehended two Yemini men at the US southern border as being on both the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List as well as the No-Fly List, CBP issued a press release, but then quickly deleted it.
The press release lays out many of the details of both of the unnamed men’s capture at the border. The now deleted press release mentions the first apprehension as being on January 29th, 2021 when agents assigned to the El Centro Station arrested a 33-year-old man for illegally entering the United States. According to the press release, “Agents apprehended the man approximately three miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry and transported him to the El Centro Processing Center for immigration and criminal history screening.”
From there, it was established the 33-year-old man was on both the No-Fly List as well as the Terrorism Watch List. According to the CBP press release, the man was found to have been carrying a SIM card for a cell phone in the insole of his shoe. CBP then transferred custody of the man to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
The press release also discussed the capture of a 26-year-old illegal alien from Yemen on March 30th, 2021, who was also screened and found to appear on both the Terrorism Watch List and the No-Fly List at the same El Centro Station. The 26-year-old Yemini man, was also captured just two miles from the Calexico Port of Entry. According to the now deleted press release, the younger man is still being held in federal custody, pending removal.
Curiously, or perhaps not so curiously, CBP removed the press release that had been posted on Twitter within 24 hours. Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee called both DHS and CBP out on the deletion via a tweet, “[email protected] & @CBP Why did you take down your previously public tweet & press release announcing that two people on the terror watch list were apprehended exploiting President Biden’s open border policies? Transparency in name alone is not transparency.”
Neither DHS nor CBP have commented on the deletion of the press release.
The Biden administration has repeatedly minimized the historic surge at the southern border, referring to the crisis as a “challenge”. Press Secretary Psaki has often blamed former President Trump’s policies for the overwhelming amount of illegal migrants attempting to cross over the border. Psaki has also downplayed the recent capture of the two Yemini men, stating that while it’s rare to apprehend illegal migrants who appear both on the No-Fly List and the Terrorism Watch List, the recent capture of the Yemini men is “a reflection of them [DHS] doing their jobs.”
Just last month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, along with other Republicans traveled to El Paso to assess the crisis at the southern border “firsthand”.
McCarthy explained that House Republicans joined the U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso on a tour, where they were briefed by the agents who “conveyed to us that they have apprehended individuals from not only Mexico and Central America, but also countries including China, Iran, Yemen, and Turkey.”
Fox News reported on Wednesday the outlet recently obtained a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William Burns wherein Rep. McCarthy requested a “classified briefing regarding certain individuals apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol” reportedly for not only himself, but also to include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Vice President Harris, citing her recent appointment to lead the Biden administration’s efforts on the border crisis.
In the letter obtained by Fox News, McCarthy calls out the deletion of the CBP press release writing, “Just yesterday, in a now-deleted, publicly-released statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the arrest of two Yemeni individuals caught illegally crossing the border in the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, hundreds of miles from El Paso. Like the cases we were briefed on in El Paso, these El Centro suspects were on the Terrorism Watch List.”
McCarthy added, “While I am grateful to the Border Patrol for doing all they can, I have great concern about the number of bad actors that have escaped arrest and are residing in the United States. We simply have no way of knowing if other terrorists have crossed the border undetected.”
Press Secretary Psaki was asked on Wednesday why VP Harris has failed to make one trip to the southern border, but has made time to pick up desert in Chicago. Psaki answered, saying VP Harris was in Chicago to discuss COVID and the importance of getting the vaccine and “Like many Americans, she got a snack. I think she’s allowed to do that.” Psaki obviously didn’t address the question of why VP Harris has made zero effort to understand the surge at the southern border, including having not yet spoken with leaders of Honduras or El Salvador.
Also on Wednesday, House Republicans, including Rep. Jim Jordan, California Rep. Tom McClintock, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, Indiana Rep. Lisa Sparks, Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, Jackson County Sheriff AJ “Andy” Louderback, Head of the Custom and Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, Scott Frasier with the Texas Farm Bureau, and Susan Kibbe with the South Texan’s Property Rights Association, held a press conference to express their concerns on the outrageous amount of illegals attempting to make way into the United States.