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6 Middle Eastern men arrested crossing Mexico-Arizona border

In this file photo from Friday, Jan. 19, 2007, Border Patrol agent Sean King looks for foot traffic at the Arizona-Mexico border on Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 in Sasabe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, file)

PHOENIX — Six Middle Eastern men were arrested Monday after they allegedly tried to illegally cross the Arizona-Mexico border, the Border Patrol said.

The five Pakistanis and one Afghan were with two Mexican smugglers when they were caught. Agents ran background checks on all the Middle Eastern men and no “derogatory information” was found.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also interviewed the men before they were handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A statement from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said state officials will pursue a greater amount of vigilance when it comes to border security.

“This latest incident only reinforces the need to take our national security seriously on all fronts,” the statement read. “News like this is very troubling, especially in light of new threats on the United States from ISIS in a video released in just the last 24 hours.”

The statement continued on to say members of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are coming to Arizona on Nov. 23, when Ducey will make his case for enhanced security along the Arizona-Mexico border.

“Our state is grateful to the law enforcement officials and agents on the ground who made these apprehensions, but more vigilance is needed at all levels,” the statement read. “It’s clear, our nation needs to up its game and improve border resources if we are going to protect our homeland.”

On Wednesday, five other men were detained in Honduras on suspicion of using stolen passports. They were possibly planning to enter the United States by crossing the Mexican border, an official said.

Officials said the five Syrians were not detained in connection with terrorism.

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