An El Salvadorean gang member was among the migrants detained by the Border Patrol in the early hours of Wednesday, the agency said, as concerns remain about the number of people sneaking into the United States.
The unnamed 28-year-old was described by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as 'a documented MS-13 gang member,' Fox News reported.
The gang was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s, and then mixed with California prison gang culture and was exported to El Salvador. There are currently believed to be around 10,000 MS-13 members in the United States, out of 1.4 million known gang members in the country.
Donald Trump described the group, known for its savagery, as 'animals' and frequently referenced them when discussing migration.
The arrest of the MS-13 member comes days after the CBP issued a press release detailing the detention of two Yemenis on a terror watch list earlier this year, and will fuel Republican concern at the current influx.
The arrest was made on Wednesday when an agent from the San Diego sector was searching for 'a group of illegal entrants' in a mountainous area around 12:45am.
The agent spotted a half-dozen men 'near the border wall'.
Four were from El Salvador, including the MS-13 member.
One was from Honduras, and another from Mexico.
All were detained, and sent back to their home countries.
Migrants have arrived at the U. S.-Mexico border in higher numbers over the past few months, including over 170,000 people in March alone, the largest single-month total in well over a decade.
A large number are unaccompanied minors, which has forced the administration to open its 10th temporary housing facility to accommodate these young arrivals.
The vast majority of adults are immediately sent back to Mexico.
The border patrol say they are currently detaining around 5,000 people a day.
On Monday the CBP announced that two unnamed Yemeni men on the terror watch list - one 33, the other 26 - had been detained over the last three months in the Calexico area of California.
The captures were made by CBP agents assigned to the El Centro Station.
CBP said in a statement on Monday that the two men were on a U. S. government watchlist for terrorism suspects, and were also named on a 'no-fly' list.
'Part of the Border Patrol's mission states we will protect the country from terrorists,' said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino.
'These apprehensions at our border illustrates the importance of our mission and how we can never stop being vigilant in our everyday mission to protect this great country.'
The news was seized upon by Republicans, who are using the current surge in migrant arrivals to attack Joe Biden, and who have always warned that terrorists could be among those entering illegally and evading detection.
The U. S. government does not release data on terrorist detentions along the border with Mexico: in 2018 the figure was given as six by Axios, and around a dozen by CNN.
In January 2018, a joint report by the Homeland Security and Justice departments stated that Homeland Security had 2,554 'encounters' worldwide with people on a watch list who were trying to travel to the U. S.
Of them, 2,170 were trying to come by air, with 335 by land and the rest by sea.
In 2019, Trump declared during a Rose Garden speech: 'We have terrorists coming through the southern border because they find that's probably the easiest place to come through. They drive right in and they make a left.'
Todd Bensman, an analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors less immigration and stronger defenses against terrorist infilt... (Read more)
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