Afghan Migrant On Terror List Released By Immigration Judge, Free To Roam USA

An Afghan man and illegal immigrant who’s on the FBI terror watchlist has been twice apprehended in the United States only to be released by a federal apparatus that continues to make a mockery of the very notion of “border security.”  

Mohammad Kharwin, 48, was first arrested in Southern California in March 2023 after he’d illegally entered the United States from Mexico, according to NBC News, which was first to report the story. Border police suspected Kharwin was on the watchlist, because one unspecified attribute matched his entry on the list.

Masses of migrants camped in San Ysidro, California in 2023. Mohammed Kharwin was initially processed in the same vicinity. (7SanDiego)

However, for lack of additional corroborating data, he was processed and released, just like hordes of other illegal migrants before and since. He was instructed to periodically call an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer, but was free to apply for asylum and permission to work in the United States. He was also free to board domestic flights.  

This February, the FBI alerted ICE that they suspected Kharwin had links to a terrorist group and could pose a danger. That prompted ICE to track him down in San Antonio and arrest him on Feb. 28. 

Buckle in, because the story’s about to get a lot worse. On March 28, Kharwin had an immigration hearing in Pearsall, Texas. The ICE prosecutors told the judge that Kharwin was a flight risk who should be detained without bond. However, they didn’t tell the judge that he posed a potential risk to national security, and declined to show the judge information revealing why the FBI is concerned about him. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was impeached by the House in February over his border performance (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kept in the dark, the unnamed immigration judge ordered that Kharwin be released, but demanded an above-average-for-illegal-immigrants $12,000 bond. Kharwin immediately paid it and off he went, without any court-mandated restrictions on his travel within the country. He is supposed to appear for another hearing next spring. ICE hasn’t appealed the ruling and, in NBC‘s reporting, there’s no indication authorities are seeking him. 

According to the watchlist, the FBI believes Kharwin is a member of an Afghanistan group called Hezb-e-Islami (HIG), which has been designated by the United States as a terror group. 

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, HIG is a “virulently anti-Western insurgent group” that sought to overturn the Western-backed Afghan government before its fall in 2021. 

HIG was responsible for attacks in Afghanistan that killed at least nine American soldiers and civilians between 2013 and 2015. The group is not seen as a top threat in terms of attacks inside the U.S.

Believe it or not, there are some 1.8 million names on the FBI’s terror watchlist, and, as has been observed in the colossal rolling clusterf**k at Guantanamo Bay, the US government sometimes misidentifies people — with positively godawful results. That said, the FBI could well be correct about Kharwin, and the handling of his March immigration hearing is certainly a cause for concern. 

Migrants near Eagle Pass, Texas await processing in December 2023 (John Moore/Getty Images via Fox10)

There have been similar cases where watchlisted men have been processed and released. In February, we detailed the case of a man who allegedly is/was a member of the Somali terror group al-Shabaab. He was also caught in southern California in March 2023 and set free to roam the country.  

In 2023 the Border Patrol caught 172 suspects from the terror watchlist attempting to enter the US illegally. According to former DHS officials, the constant deluge of illegal migrants through the southern border has made it easier for bad actors to enter the country. According to NBC‘s analysis of government data, about 0.02% of encountered illegal immigrants are on the terror watchlist — making them needles in a Biden-enlarged haystack. 


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