Pakistani, Yemeni Nationals Arrested near Border in Southwest Texas

by RANDY CLARK 25 May 2021

EAGLE PASS, Texas — On Tuesday, Border Patrol agents arrested two special interest aliens from Pakistan and Yemen. Both were encountered shortly after their illegal entry during the early morning hours. The pair was taken to a nearby station for processing and interviews, according to a law enforcement source speaking on the condition of anonymity.

These arrests come after a similar interdiction of two special interest aliens earlier this month by the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office 40 miles from Eagle Pass in La Pryor, Texas. In that incident, two Pakistani nationals were encountered in a failed human smuggling attempt. The latest case has been referred to the FBI for further review.

The arrest of special interest aliens is not a common occurrence along the southwest border. The Department of Homeland Security listed 21 countries as “special interest” in 2018. According to a law enforcement source working for Customs and Border Protection, less than 1 percent of all apprehensions along the southwest border meet the definition.

According to the Department of Homeland Security: generally:

[G]enerally, a Special Interest Alien is a 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. DHS analysis includes an examination of travel patterns, points of origin, and/or travel segments that are tied to current assessments of national and international threat environments.

This does not mean that all SIAs are “terrorists,” but rather that the travel and behavior of such individuals indicates a possible nexus to nefarious activity (including terrorism) and, at a minimum, provides indicators that necessitate heightened screening and further investigation.

The term SIA does not indicate any specific derogatory information about the individual – and DHS has never indicated that the SIA designation means more than that.

Illegal border crossings are on the rise in Eagle Pass, part of the Del Rio Sector of the Border Patrol, which is experiencing levels of illegal migrant arrests that are the highest in history.

This case remains under investigation.