Terror Watchlist Afghan Migrant Caught At US-Mexico Border

According to an internal government memo, federal agents apprehended an Afghan citizen on the terror watchlist on February 5th after he illegally crossed the southern border into California.

According to the document, agents from the Border Patrol apprehended 30-year-old Arif Tanhah at the Jacumba Hot Springs in San Diego.  They found that Tanhah was a positive match on the US terror blacklist as an associate of a terrorist group. According to notes describing his conversation with a federal agent, the illegal immigrant claimed that he never had links to the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

A report shows the interview notes revealed that the Afghan citizen confessed to being detained in 2011 after a raid on his family’s house in Afghanistan by U.S. commandos and Afghan troops. He evaded and refused to answer the federal agent’s question about why the raid happened.

An ICE source confirmed that Tanhah is now being held in detention until his case is heard. He reportedly showed a legitimate fear of returning to Afghanistan.

Tanhah told border authorities that he paid $20,000 to come to the US and that his primary source of financing is a brother in Kuwait.

In 2020, he was refused admission to Europe. Tanhah claimed ignorance of the reason.

In 2023, 172 people on the terrorism watchlist were apprehended by the Border Patrol as they attempted to enter the United States unlawfully. According to government records, the Border Patrol encountered fifty people on the terror watchlist between October and December.

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official states that on February 6, they apprehended a person who had links to a Colombian terrorist group and had unlawfully crossed the southern border.

A Pakistani individual whose name was on the terror blacklist for one day was also recently freed by federal immigration officials after unlawfully crossing the southern border into California, according to an ICE document.

A member of a Somali terrorist organization was apprehended by ICE in Minnesota on January 20. This individual had been previously released from custody after unlawfully crossing the southern border in San Ysidro, California, last March.  After almost a year in the US, the Terrorist Screening Center verified that the 27-year-old Somali was a proven member of al-Shabaab.