NEW: ICE Detains Iranian National With Terror Ties at US-Canadian Border

By Susie Moore | 2:52 PM on December 29, 2023

AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson

With all the focus of late on the southern border and the record number of illegal crossings taking place there, it may be easy to overlook the U.S. border with Canada. But there are illegal crossings happening in the north, too. On Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the recent apprehension of a Canadian fugitive — who also happens to be an Iranian national with known terror ties — and who attempted to enter the U.S. illegally...twice.

Bill Melugin

NEW: An Iranian national with ties to terrorism crossed illegally into the U.S. from Canada near Niagra Falls & was arrested by Border Patrol. ICE just announced they have removed him back to Canada, where he is a permanent resident & “national security priority” who is wanted by…

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1:21 PM · Dec 29, 2023

The Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Buffalo announced that the man, wanted by Canadian authorities in relation to assault charges, first attempted to enter the U.S. at the Rainbow Bridge Pedestrian Walkway on October 10. (If the location sounds familiar, it's because that's the crossing where the infamous (unrelated yet tragic) vehicle explosion took place in November.

The man was refused entry at that time but made a second attempt to gain entry to the U.S. two days later, this time at the Whirlpool Bridge Port of Entry. ERO Buffalo subsequently served the man with a removal order and then removed him to Canada on December 21 and turned him over to Canadian law enforcement authorities.

ICE issued a statement regarding the situation on Friday, which can be read in its entirety below.

ERO Buffalo uses the Safe Third Country Agreement to remove Iranian national, national security priority

Fugitive wanted by Canadian authorities for assault

BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Buffalo removed an unlawfully present Iranian national with ties to terrorism, Dec. 21.

The Iranian national is also a permanent resident of Canada and a national security priority who is wanted by Canadian authorities on assault charges.

The fugitive attempted to enter the United States on Oct. 10 by presenting himself to U.S. immigration authorities at the Rainbow Bridge Pedestrian Walkway in Niagara Falls. Customs and Border Protection officers refused him entry into the United States and returned him to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) the same day. Two days later, on Oct. 12, U.S. Border Patrol arrested him as he unlawfully entered the United States from Canada on or around the Whirlpool Bridge Port of Entry in Niagara Falls without being admitted or paroled by a designated immigration official.

On Nov. 8, ERO Buffalo served the unlawfully present man with an expedited removal order. On Dec. 21, ERO Buffalo removed him to Canada based on the Safe Third Country Agreement and turned him over to law enforcement authorities with CBSA.

“The strong law enforcement partnership between ERO Buffalo and Canadian law enforcement authorities is imperative to increasing national security and preventing dangerous individuals from fleeing justice,” said ERO Buffalo Field Office Director Thomas Brophy. “The Canadian resident’s return to Canada to face charges is due to the dedicated officers on both sides of the border, working in tandem, to provide public safety for our communities.”

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from DHS and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

As one of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) three operational directorates, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.

No additional details regarding the man's identity or the nature of his reported terror ties have been released as of this writing. However, his detention highlights the dangers of a porous border, whether to the north or the south.