At a hearing by the House Homeland Security Committee on "global threats," questions from Congressman Mark Green, chairman of the Committee, exposed FBI Director Christopher Wray's concern about the level of threat that the country is exposed to at this moment.
"We were already in an elevated threat environment even before October 7th , and it's gone to a whole other level since October 7th," Wray said.
Green recalled that in the fiscal year 2023, more than 600,000 gotaways - illegal immigrants who evaded the Border Patrol - were reported and that the total number, since the beginning of the Biden administration, could exceed two million. After mentioning the numbers, the Committee Chairman asked Director Wray if he could assure the American people that known or suspected terrorists, including those from Hamas or other terrorist groups, are not among those hundreds of thousands who escaped.
To which the FBI director replied: "Certainly the group of people that you're talking about are source of great concern for us. That's why we're aggressively using all 56 of our joint terrorism task forces."
The worrying number of illegal immigrants on the terror watch list
Rep. Green also asked Wray about people on the terror watch list who have crossed the border: "In four years before this, there were only 11 and suddenly there are 294 in the past few years, why?"
"I can't really speak to that issue. It's not in my lane(...) I can tell you that the threats that come from the other side of the border are very much consuming all 56 of our field offices, not just in border states," Wray responded.
After the response, Congressman Green asked him if what he meant by that statement was that every state in the country had become a border state. Wray said the threats were affecting every state in the country.
After the hearing ended, Rep. Green wrote the following message on his X account (formerly Twitter): "I do not say this lightly; this is one of the most dangerous times in the history of the United States."
According to figures from different ports of entry, in fiscal year 2023, 172 people on the terror watch list illegally crossed borders into the United States; for fiscal year 2022, the figure was 98; while in 2021, the first full fiscal year under the Biden administration, 16 people were captured.