Fact Check

Were 11 Iranians Arrested at US-Mexico Border?

Citizens from special interest countries illegally crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico is not that uncommon, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Published Feb 5, 2021

Cross bars make up the border fence along the Colorado River that acts as the US/Mexico border in Yuma, Arizona, on February 15, 2017. 
Attention Editors, this image is part of an ongoing AFP photo project documenting the life on the two sides of the US/Mexico border simultaneously by two photographers traveling for ten days from California to Texas on the US side and from Baja California to Tamaulipas on the Mexican side between February 13 and 22, 2017. You can find all the images with the keyword : BORDERPROJECT2017 on our wire and on www.afpforum.com / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) (Jim Wattson/Staff)
Image Via Jim Wattson/Staff
On Feb. 1, 2021, nearly a dozen Iranian citizens were arrested after attempting to illegally cross into the United States from Mexico.

In early February 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it had arrested a group of 11 Iranian citizens who had illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States on Feb. 1.

The arrest was made when CBP agents encountered five women and six men near the small metropolitan area of San Luis, Arizona, according to law enforcement officials. It was determined that the group had illegally crossed the international border into the U.S. and were arrested and taken to the Yuma Border Patrol Station, a facility responsible for securing 61 linear miles of international boundary with Mexico. CBP did not disclose where the group was being detained and Snopes has contacted the agency to clarify. We will update the article accordingly.

According to a news release issued by the CBP on Feb. 3, Iran is considered a “special interest country” by the Department of Homeland Security. The Middle Eastern nation has been described by the U.S. Department of State as the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.”

However, it is not immediately clear if the arrested individuals have any link to terrorist organizations, and the CBP said that citizens from special interest countries illegally crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico is not that uncommon.

“Yuma Sector agents regularly encounter people from all over the world, including Special Interest Countries,” wrote the agency. “Agents adjudicate each arrest in accordance with law and policy in order to secure our nation’s borders.”

During the 2020 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020), Yuma border enforcement arrested eight Iranian nationals with another 14 individuals arrested from across all border patrol sectors, totaling 22 apprehended individuals. To date, Yuma sector agents have arrested 14 nationals from Iran during the 2021 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2020.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.