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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.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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