Illegal Migrant Confesses to Serious Crimes

( Millions of migrants have sought to illegally enter the United States through its southern border with Mexico in recent years, including potential terrorists. On March 9, US Border Patrol agents caught one such threat to the homeland, who told officers that he was trained by Hezbollah and seeking to construct a bomb in the US.

US immigration authorities apprehended the 22-year-old migrant, Basel Bassel Ebbadi, near the city of El Paso, Texas. Ebbadi informed officers that he was heading to New York and intended to make a bomb.

Ebbadi claimed to have trained with Hezbollah—a Lebanese militant group that has engaged in hostilities with Israel—for seven years, as well as to have served actively with the group as a weapons guard for four years.

However, Ebbadi subsequently said that he was attempting to leave the group because he had no desire to kill people. Leaving the group is not simple, Ebbadi said, explaining that “you can never get out” of Hezbollah after you join.

Border authorities placed Ebbadi in isolation and reported the case to US Customs and Border Protection’s Tactical Terrorism Response Team. Ebbadi was also set for deportation from the US, although it is unclear to which country he would be returned.

In fiscal year 2023, border authorities documented 172 encounters with individuals on the terror watchlist, up from 98 in the previous fiscal year. Border authorities have encountered 59 individuals on the terror watchlist in the first four months of fiscal year 2024.

On March 11, FBI Director Christopher Wray provided testimony to the US Senate Intelligence Committee, including on threats at the southern border. The FBI is concerned about the potential for terrorists to target “vulnerabilities” at the border, Wray said. Wray added that although there is a heightened threat level, law enforcement officials are not tracking any specific threat.

Border Patrol may have caught Ebbadi before the Hezbollah-linked illegal migrant had a chance to build a bomb, but there is clearly a continuous flow of similar threats into the US.

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