By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — A Saudi Arabian man described by a U.S. Border Patrol chief as a “potential terrorist” was apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally near Yuma, Ariz.
He was apprehended wearing a New York county ambulance jacket.
Yuma Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Chris Clem announced the apprehension on Twitter with an accompanying blurred photo of the man.
“Yuma Sector agents apprehended a potential terrorist who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico Thursday night,” Mr. Clem wrote. “The 21-year-old migrant from Saudi Arabia is linked to several Yemeni subjects of interest.”
Border Patrol hasn’t released any more details about the “Yemeni subjects of interest.” The Saudi national will be processed for an expedited removal from the U.S., per federal immigration law.
The Saudi was apprehended wearing a jacket from the Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps, an ambulance service near Syracuse, N.Y.
The group posted a statement on its Facebook page from EMS chief Thomas Meyers, along with an image of the man posted by Border Patrol saying he has no affiliation with the group.
“This individual is not, and has never been, affiliated with Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps,” Mr. Meyers said in the Facebook post. “It is unknown to us how he obtained one of our discontinued jacket styles, and we are in the process of investigating this. We again assure the public that we have no affiliation or knowledge of this individual.”
The apprehension of the Saudi man comes two weeks after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey directed a surge of resources to an area near Yuma, where Border Patrol agents have been inundated with illegal immigration.
“It’s clear the Biden administration has created a December Disaster at our border,” the governor said. “As a result of piecemeal policy and a lack of federal involvement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been inundated. We simply cannot stand by and watch this catastrophe unfold. We are taking action at the state level to protect Arizonans and our communities.”
Gov. Ducey directed the Arizona National Guard to send an additional 24 personnel, six vehicles, four ATVs and one light utility helicopter to help law enforcement on the ground. The Department of Public Safety and the National Guard have also deployed tactical resources to the areas where U.S. Border Patrol and intelligence indicate the most threatening incursions are occurring.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich remarked on the arrest.
“While we are thankful that this potential terrorist was apprehended by our courageous border agents, we must remember that there are tens of thousands of migrants with unknown identities and intentions who regularly escape undetected into our communities,” Mr. Brnovich said.
“We need to take decisive action to secure our border and prevent terrorists, gang members, and hardened criminals from accessing our ports of entry. That’s why my office is fighting in court to hold the Biden administration accountable to the rule of law.”
Mr. Brnovich wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, expressing his concern over potential terrorists entering the U.S. illegally through the southern border. He invited President Biden to visit the southern border to hear first-hand from law enforcement officials tasked with defending how “the situation is absolutely unsustainable.”
State troopers, Arizona Guardsmen and women, and the Arizona Department of Homeland Security say they’re working together to combat increased crime along the Southern Border. By adding resources, Border Patrol agents are better equipped to focus on criminal interdiction instead of being forced to primarily process the constant stream of mainly pouring through “the gap,” an opening in the border wall in the Yuma Sector.
In November, Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended more than 173,000 foreign nationals attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, a record for the month. In the Yuma Sector, agents reported 22,708 encounters with people entering the U.S. illegally, slightly more than Tucson Sector’s 21,485 encounters, according to Border Patrol data.
Yuma falls within the Yuma Sector of Border Patrol. It’s located in Arizona’s southeast corner, covering roughly 181,670 square miles of primarily desert terrain divided between California and Arizona. Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents are tasked with securing 126 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border stretching from the Imperial Sand Dunes in California to the Yuma-Pima County line.
The entire sector includes Yuma, La Paz, and Mojave Counties in Arizona, the Eastern-most areas of Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties in California and the entire state of Nevada.