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Deconstructing Trump's claims on building a wall

CNN's Anderson Cooper looks at different arguments President Trump has used to justify shutting down the government in the name of a border wall.

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 5:34 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 5:55 AM

Roughly a dozen individuals who are not US citizens and are on the terror watchlist were encountered by federal officials at the US southern border from October 2017 to October 2018, according to an administration official familiar with data from Customs and Border Protection.

The number of individuals encountered at the southern border is a very small percentage of the total known or suspected terrorists who tried to enter or travel to the US in fiscal year 2017. That much larger number has been touted by the administration as it seeks to gain support to build a wall on the border.

The official adds there are not significant numbers of known or suspected terrorists crossing the southern border but the number went from "zero to a small increase" over the last couple of years.

But the official said that while the number of potential terrorists trying to cross the border is minimal, the Department of Homeland Security is concerned that terrorists could try to exploit immigration patterns.

It was not immediately clear how many US citizens who are on the terror watchlist were encountered at the border in the same period.

A State Department report for the year 2016 said, "There are no known international terrorist organizations operating in Mexico, no evidence that any terrorist group has targeted U.S. citizens in Mexican territory, and no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States."

Of the approximately dozen individuals, around half were prevented from entering the country at a legal port of entry on the southern border and the other half were apprehended crossing the border illegally between ports of entry.

The official did not provide details of whether any of the individuals are currently in US custody. The official noted that just because someone is believed to have a tertiary affiliation doesn't mean there is a prosecutable crime for the Department of Justice to pursue, but it's enough to make sure the individual doesn't make it into the US and for the US to pursue repatriation.

DHS has said -- and reiterated in a fact sheet released Monday night -- that 3,755 known or suspected terrorists tried to enter or travel to the US in fiscal year 2017. But those numbers are for all entry points and visa applications around the world, not just at the southern border.

CNN has reported that the number is misleading when provided in the context of the southern border, as it primarily reflects individuals who were blocked from entering the US when they applied for visas or sought to travel to the US, including by air.

Both the official and DHS also distinguish between individuals on the terror watchlist and what the department calls "special interest aliens," who come from hostile countries or ones with terrorist activity and take irregular routes to the southern border.

Nielsen said some 3,000 "special interest aliens" came to the southern border last year.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect that the individuals encountered at the border on the terror watchlist were non-US citizens.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297321

Reported Deaths: 6805
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19814231
Hinds18949395
Harrison16886282
Rankin12842265
Jackson12750234
Lee9720163
Madison9516204
Jones8035148
Forrest7289138
Lauderdale6872228
Lowndes6061140
Lamar593381
Lafayette5767114
Washington5232130
Bolivar4630124
Oktibbeha443095
Panola433698
Pearl River4212132
Warren4144115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405995
Monroe3996129
Union397174
Neshoba3848171
Lincoln3624104
Hancock352978
Leflore3400121
Sunflower320986
Tate303974
Pike302697
Scott296171
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292066
Itawamba290675
Coahoma283069
Tippah280065
Copiah279959
Simpson277581
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255641
Leake254172
Covington250280
Grenada248878
Adams235778
George232745
Newton232753
Winston222179
Jasper214145
Tishomingo213266
Attala206971
Chickasaw201954
Holmes182870
Clay179452
Stone173429
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170773
Calhoun158628
Smith153833
Yalobusha145736
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123235
Lawrence121421
Carroll119425
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99824
Claiborne99030
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91423
Quitman77514
Franklin76420
Choctaw70117
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
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