DHS Identifies Over 400 Immigrants Linked to ISIS-Affiliated Smuggling Network

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
DHS has 400 migrant identities.

The Department of Homeland Security has identified over 400 immigrants connected to an ISIS-affiliated smuggling network as “subjects of concern.” While over 150 have been arrested, ICE is actively searching for the remaining individuals. Despite no immediate threat detected, heightened scrutiny and national security measures are in place. Read more about the ongoing efforts and expert insights.

In a recent development, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has flagged over 400 immigrants who entered the United States from Central Asia and other regions as “subjects of concern” due to their connection with an ISIS-affiliated human smuggling network. This information was revealed by three U.S. officials in a report to NBC News.

Arrests and Ongoing Search

Out of the 400 individuals, more than 150 have been apprehended. However, the whereabouts of over 50 remain unknown, prompting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to intensify efforts to locate and arrest them on immigration charges. “In this case, it was the information that suggested a potential tie to ISIS because of some of the individuals involved in [smuggling migrants to the border] that led us to want to take extra care,” stated a senior Biden administration official. The official emphasized the importance of exercising authority in the most expansive and appropriate way to mitigate any potential risk.

No Immediate Threat Detected

Since ICE began the arrests several months ago, no information has surfaced indicating that these individuals pose a direct threat to the U.S. homeland. Many of the migrants were initially released into the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they were not on the government’s terrorism watchlist, and there were no immediate concerns raised at the time of their entry.

Heightened Concerns and Background Checks

Recent terrorist attacks in Russia have heightened concerns about ISIS and its offshoot ISIS-K. In response, DHS has intensified scrutiny of migrants from countries where ISIS-K has been active, including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Russia.

Expert Opinions and National Security Measures

Christopher O’Leary, a former FBI counterterrorism section chief now with The Soufan Group, expressed alarm over the unknown whereabouts of some individuals. “The fact that the whereabouts were unknown is clearly alarming,” O’Leary said. He noted that ICE’s approach to arrest these individuals on immigration charges is a common strategy to mitigate potential threats, even in the absence of evidence indicating they are plotting an attack. “They are in violation of that law. And if you need to take somebody off the street, that’s a good approach to do it,” O’Leary added.

Government’s Response

The Biden administration has reiterated its commitment to national security, emphasizing a cautious and comprehensive approach in dealing with potential threats. The ongoing efforts by ICE and other agencies underscore the priority placed on safeguarding the U.S. homeland while adhering to legal and humanitarian standards.

This development highlights the complexities and challenges faced by the DHS and other security agencies in addressing national security concerns while managing immigration and border security in an era marked by evolving threats. As the situation unfolds, the government continues to adapt its strategies to ensure the safety and security of the nation.