Federal border authorities apprehending Palestinian migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally are counting them as other nationalities, according to the former chief of Border Patrol and a current agency official who’s familiar with the process.
In addition to the current and former agency officials that confirmed Palestinians aren’t classified as such when they’re apprehended and processed at the border, the DCNF obtained screenshots of Border Patrol’s internal system showing that Palestine is not a category and that searching for it results in “no matches.” Federal intelligence officials have warned that Palestinian terrorists could be crossing the southern border and to be on the lookout for them, according to an internal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) memo first obtained by the DCNF. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Feds Warn That Hamas, Hezbollah Could Be Crossing Southern Border)
Border Patrol agents also confirmed to the DCNF that there are no categories for Gaza or the West Bank in the country of origin classification system.
“There is no written policy on how to record a Palestinian. In my experience, since this falls within the legal borders of Israel, individuals would be documented as Israel and the narrative, which is not easily searchable would likely but not automatically explain that the individual claims to be Palestinian. The narrative is 100% dependent upon what the agent wants to include and what information the agent has time to get,” former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott told the DCNF.
Roughly 1.6 million Palestinians are citizens of Israel while more than 5.7 million are considered to be refugees living in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, according to a May report from the Congressional Research Service.
One agent who’s previously processed Palestinians that possessed passports issued by the Palestinian Authority told the DCNF that they classified them as Israeli.
“I processed some Palestinians before this all popped off,” the agent, who requested anonymity because they’re not authorized to speak publicly, said, adding that they processed them as Israeli even though they had passports issued by the Palestinian Authority.
Two other agents confirmed to the DCNF that they can’t classify Palestinians as such.
“When I looked in our processing module, no such category exists,” a second agent told the DCNF.
“It’s not an option in the processing module,” a third agent told the DCNF.
CBP didn’t respond to multiple DCNF requests for comment.
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