Border Patrol. Representation Image.
A Border Patrol car. Representational Image. Creative Commons

A migrant on the U.S. terror watchlist spent about a year inside the country after being apprehended and subsequently released by Border Patrol, NBC News reported.

The Afghan man, Mohammad Kharwin, was released on bond while awaiting for an immigration hearing in 2025. The immigration judge who released him said he wasn't told the man was a national security threat.

Kharwin was detained after the publication of NBC News' article, according to the Department of Homeland Security. He had crossed illegally into the U.S. in March 2023 through California.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wasn't told about potential terrorism ties either. He was able to apply for asylum and work authorization, as well as fly domestically.

Kharwin is among the 1.8 million people considered potential security risks. The database says he is a member of Hezb-e-Islami, or HIG, which the U.S. designated a terrorist organization.

According to the national intelligence director's office, HIG was responsible for attacks in Afghanistan that killed at least nine American soldiers and civilians between 2013 and 2015. It's not considered a top threat when it comes to attacks inside the country.

The outlet added that the percentage of migrants on such watchlists has been slightly lower during the Biden administration compared to Trump's. It was an average of 0.02% for the former and 0.05% for the latter.

CBP had a total of 736 encounters with migrants on the terror watchlist in fiscal year 2023, which ended last September. It was the highest figure in six years, above the 541 from 2019.

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