U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 11 Iranian citizens after they illegally entered the United States from Mexico.
“There were five women, ages 28, 30, 35, 35 and 37, who were arrested,” said a KPNX report. “Four men, ages 24, 31, 36 and 43, were taken into custody along with two boys, ages 10 and 2. These people had previously lived in Iran.”
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told KPNX that it was not yet clear as to why the group was attempting to illegally enter the United States. The Iranians have yet to be fully processed and interviewed. The group was arrested and taken to Yuma Station for processing.
“Yuma Sector agents regularly encounter people from all over the world, including Special Interest Countries,” the U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement said. “Agents adjudicate each arrest in accordance with law and policy in order to secure our nation’s borders.”
Iran is classified as a “special interest country.” Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar defined “special interest countries” as “basically countries designated by our intelligence community as countries that could export individuals that could bring harm to our country in the way of terrorism.”
The Department of Homeland Security describes “special interest aliens” as “non-U.S. person who, based on an analysis of travel patterns, potentially poses a national security risk to the United States or its interests. Often such individuals or groups are employing travel patterns known or evaluated to possibly have a nexus to terrorism.”
The DHS encountered more than 3,000 special interest aliens at the southern Border in 2018.