Thousands of “special interest aliens” from countries in the Middle East have been arrested by Border Patrol agents attempting to cross the U.S. southern border illegally over the last two years, internal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data leaked to Fox News show.

Special Interest aliens are people from countries identified by the U.S. government as having conditions that promote or protect terrorism or potentially pose some sort of national security threat to the U.S. 

That data, confirmed by multiple CBP sources and which reflects apprehensions between ports of entry between Oct. 2021 and Oct. 2023, shows that agents encountered 6,386 nationals from Afghanistan in that period, as well as 3,153 from Egypt, 659 from Iran and 538 from Syria.


Agents also encountered 12,624 from Uzbekistan, 30,830 from Turkey, 1,613 from Pakistan, 164 from Lebanon, 185 from Jordan, 123 from Iraq and 15,594 from Mauritania.

Those numbers do not include encounters by CBP’s Office of Field Operations at ports of entry. It also does not include the numbers who have snuck past agents without detections — sources say there have been over 1.5 million such “gotaways” during the Biden administration.

Meanwhile, FY 2023 broke the record for encounters on the FBI terror watchlist — with 151 people encountered at the southern border between ports of entry, higher than the previous six years combined.

Border Patrol sources tell Fox they have extreme concerns about the people coming across from special interest countries, given they have little to no ways to vet them — unless they have committed a crime in the U.S. or are some sort of federal watchlist, agents have no way of knowing their criminal history as their countries do not share data with the U.S. and so there is nothing to match their name against when they run their fingerprints.

This is a breaking news story; check back for additional updates.