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Afghan Migrant on Terror Watchlist Released Again by US Officials

An Afghan migrant, believed to have connections to the terrorist organization Hezb-e-Islami (HIG), has raised security concerns after being arrested, released, and then rereleased by U.S. federal authorities. 

Mohammad Kharwin, aged 48, was apprehended in the vicinity of San Ysidro, California, in March 2023 for unlawfully crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. 

Despite concerns about his potential inclusion on the U.S. terrorist watchlist, he was initially released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP agents did not have enough evidence to verify Kharwin’s identity as the person suspected to be on the watchlist. 

Credits: DepositPhotos

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He was processed, and his biometric data was collected before release, following standard CBP procedures. 

Kharwin was subsequently enrolled in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Alternatives to Detention Program, which allows him to travel unrestricted within the United States until his immigration hearing.

In February 2024, Kharwin was arrested after the FBI alerted ICE to his potential terror connections. 

During his court proceedings, ICE prosecutors did not reveal any classified information connecting Kharwin to HIG. 

In March 2024, a Texas immigration judge released him on bond despite concerns regarding his national security threat level.

Credits: DepositPhotos

The case highlights the difficulties that U.S. officials encounter when trying to identify and apprehend migrants who could potentially pose risks to national security. 

Similar cases have occurred in the past, where individuals suspected of terrorism have been released into the United States as a result of procedural errors. 

Communication and classification of information continue to pose challenges despite ongoing efforts to prioritize national security threats.

Jason Houser, the former Chief of Staff of ICE, highlighted the significance of strong procedures for dealing with individuals believed to have connections to terrorism. 

He emphasized the necessity of efficient detention and monitoring systems. 

The Department of Homeland Security claims to have advanced in detecting individuals involved in terrorism. 

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However, there are still concerns regarding the possibility of terrorist networks infiltrating the country through the southern border.

The discussion surrounding border security and terrorism intersects with political discourse, as former President Donald Trump emphasized the issue during his campaign. 

Both the Trump and Biden administrations have encountered individuals on the terror watchlist who are attempting to migrate, although the frequency of these encounters has differed. 

The Biden administration is under scrutiny for handling these cases and the overall effectiveness of current vetting systems.

The broader context of immigration reform and border security funding complicates addressing these challenges. 

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Bipartisan efforts in Congress have come to a halt, leaving the implementation of comprehensive reforms in a state of uncertainty. 

Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens highlights the need to address vulnerabilities at the southern border to mitigate potential national security threats.

As the discussion unfolds, increasing concerns are being raised regarding the possibility of migrants evading border enforcement. 

This has led to alarm over the potential exploitation of border vulnerabilities. 

Mohammad Kharwin’s case highlights the complex interplay between immigration policies, national security concerns, and the operational difficulties encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Monica Balmes is a talented copywriter with a passion for creating engaging and informative content.