DHS says 'privacy' of migrants on terrorist watchlist is greater than public's right to know

"I did not ask for any names, IDs, addresses, anything that would breach privacy, nor did I ask for any law enforcement sensitive information," Fox News reporter Bill Melugin wrote in a post on X. "I simply requested *only* the nationalities of people arrested on the list, so the public can have an understanding of where in the world they are coming from."

By Misty Severi
Published: May 16, 2024 10:15pm

The Department of Homeland Security declined to share the nationalities of people on the terror watchlist who entered the United States illegally with a reporter on Wednesday, claiming their right to "privacy" outweighs the public's right to know.

Fox News reporter Bill Melugin filed a Freedom of Information Act request that only sought the nationalities of the individuals, not including more identifying information such as their names or location. The denial of the request occurred on the same day that at least one illegal immigrant reportedly on the terror watchlist was apprehended while attempting to infiltrate the Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia.

“The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information," the department told Melugin in a letter, he wrote in a post on X. "Any private interest you may have in that information does not factor into the aforementioned balancing test.”

Melugin pushed back on the rejection in a post to social media on Thursday, defending his request for the information and claiming that most of the rejection had nothing to do with what he was asking for. He also vowed to appeal the decision.

"I did not ask for any names, IDs, addresses, anything that would breach privacy, nor did I ask for any law enforcement sensitive information," Melugin said. "I simply requested *only* the nationalities of people arrested on the list, so the public can have an understanding of where in the world they are coming from."

The rejection comes as the United States faces an unprecedented border crisis, where record numbers of migrants have entered the country illegally. The crisis has resulted in at least 736 known or suspected terrorists being released into the country in fiscal year 2023. In this fiscal year, at least 210 known or suspected terrorists have been apprehended and then released into the country as of March 22.

https://justthenews.com/government/s...ics-right-know