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United States border officials are reporting a shocking trend of known or suspected terrorists trying to cross the Canadian border, far outpacing the numbers caught at the border with Mexico.

Last year, the number of people with known or suspected terrorist ties apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the northern border reached record levels. 

In fiscal year 2023, the northern border saw 484 individuals detained, surpassing the previous record of 313 in fiscal year 2022 and there’s no indication that the trend is slowing down. 

According to the latest CBP data, 143 known or suspected terrorists were arrested in the first six months of the 2024 fiscal year. 

This figure surpasses the 92 individuals caught at the Mexico border underscoring a shifting focus on border security concerns.

These figures highlight a troubling trend of increasing attempts by terrorist suspects to exploit the northern border for entry into the United States. 

Federal intelligence reports have long warned of potential terrorist threats using established smuggling routes into the U.S. but the Canadian government has done little to address the issue. 

CBP intelligence suggests that foreign violent extremists may exploit these routes to evade detection. Additionally, the northern border has seen significant drug smuggling activities connected to criminal groups with ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, as well as human smuggling operations.

A U.S. database known as the Terrorist Screening Dataset identifies and tracks these individuals. Created as a watchlist for known or suspected terrorists, the dataset has evolved to list those who pose potential threats to the U.S., including affiliates of those on the watchlist. 

Despite enhancements in border security on the part of the US over the past decade, including the deployment of over 2,200 additional agents and 3,700 officers at various points of entry, resources aren’t catching up to the gravity of the situation.

According to former CBP chief Mark Morgan, the northern border’s vulnerabilities are exacerbated by the ease with which individuals can enter Canada, which often does not require a visa, thereby facilitating potential terrorist entries into the U.S. Morgan pointed out that cartels are increasingly exploiting this route, flying individuals into Canada to then cross into the U.S. 

The Canadian government recently reintroduced visa requirements for Mexican citizens after facing pressure to do so by U.S. counterparts. 

“The northern border is under-resourced by far compared to the southwest border,” Morgan told the outlet The Center Square. 

“Data from 39 months shows terrorist watch-listed individuals are coming here every day and they aren’t stopping.”