ISIS-linked migrant was living in the U.S. for more than two years before his arrest
05/10/2024 // Olivia Cook // Views

An Uzbekistani migrant with alleged ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had been living in the U.S. for over two years prior to his arrest.

NBC News recently reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents recently detained Jovokhir Attoev, 33, in Baltimore over his ties to the terrorist group. Citing two officials, the network's Julia Ainsley said Border Patrol had previously apprehended the Uzbekistani in Arizona back in February 2022. At the time, neither Customs and Border Protection nor ICE uncovered any concerning information about Attoev.

Consequently, he was released on bond while in the U.S. and lived there since. In May 2023, Tashkent issued an international notice for Attoev's arrest over his ISIS ties. But it wasn't until March of this year – during a review of the migrant's asylum application – that U.S. officials connected him with the notice from the Central Asian nation.

ICE agents subsequently arrested Attoev on April 17 in Baltimore, with lawyers for the agency expected to argue for his continued detention to gather more information regarding his alleged ties to ISIS. He is currently in custody in Pennsylvania and awaits trial in immigration court in New Jersey next week.(Related: ICE data: Illegal immigrants have less than 5% chance of getting deported under current Biden administration policies.)

NBC News previously reported the case of another migrant taken into custody, Mohammad Kharwin, whose name was included on the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). Maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the TSDB contains the names of 1.8 million individuals considered potential security risks. Kharwin was released last month due to insufficient information connecting him to the terrorist watch list at the time of his crossing.

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Former DHS officials: Follow-up vetting on migrants is a must

Former officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who spoke to NBC News raised concerns about the effectiveness of follow-up vetting on migrants who have already crossed the border. Elizabeth Neumann, former DHS assistant secretary for counter-terrorism and threat prevention, was one of them.

According to her, there has been a decrease in counter-terrorism budgets following the decline of ISIS. However, Neumann noted the resurgence of ISIS as a threat following the fall of the Afghan government in 2021. Thus, the former DHS official called for the passage of bipartisan border security legislation and increased funding for counter-terrorism efforts.

Meanwhile, a DHS spokesperson affirmed the agency's commitment to screening and vetting individuals entering the U.S. to identify potential national security threats. They emphasized that appropriate actions are taken if individuals with potential concerns are identified post-entry.

Despite concerns, the percentage of migrants with terrorist ties crossing the border remains extremely low. An analysis by NBC News showed a lower percentage during the Biden administration compared to the Trump administration. In fiscal year 2023, CBP encountered 736 migrants on the terrorist watch list at U.S. borders, the highest in six years.

It remains unknown whether migrants on the watchlist or named in international notices for suspected terrorist ties were released into the U.S. during the Trump administration.

Head over to for more similar stories.

Watch this news report from Russia Today about ISIS mostly attacking U.S. adversaries.

This video is from the Andreash channel on

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