(SAN DIEGO READER) – Among the several dozen Pakistani and Afghan men who have entered the U.S. illegally, coming into San Diego from Tijuana, two were found to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a letter sent by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter to the Department of Homeland Security.
Muhammad Azeem and Muktar Ahmad, both in their 20s, surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol agents in September, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. One was listed on the Terrorist Screening Database for “associations with a known or suspected terrorist. The other was a positive match for derogatory information in an alternative database,” according to Hunter’s letter.
Azeem and Ahmad are among dozens of men — described by Border Patrol agents as “military age and carrying U.S. cash” who began entering the U.S. through a Tijuana-based human-smuggling pipeline in September.
Pakistanis and Afghans crossing the border illegally in the San Diego sector are pretty unusual, according to Border Patrol statistics. In 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained fewer than 400 Pakistanis throughout the entire United States — at the ports of entry, airports, and along the border between ports.
Between October 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015, the San Diego sector of the Border Patrol detained 18 Pakistanis and 1 Afghan, according to Border Patrol statistics. Between October 1 and mid-November of last year, 2 Afghans and 22 Pakistanis reportedly surrendered to Border Patrol agents.
“We have detained more Pakistanis and Afghans in the first month of this fiscal year than we did all last year,” assistant chief Richard Smith confirmed in November.
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