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CBP: Encounters with Venezuelan, Cuban, and Nicaraguan Migrants Up 245 Percent from September 2021

Almost three-fourths of all southwest land border encounters were single adults, with 161,381 encounters in September, a 15 percent increase.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released operational statistics for September 2022, which can be viewed online here.

“While failing regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua continued to drive a new wave of migration across the western Hemisphere, the number of Venezuelans arriving at the southern border decreased sharply nearly every day since we launched additional joint actions with Mexico to reduce irregular migration and create a more fair, orderly and safe process for people fleeing the humanitarian and economic crisis in their country,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. “Over the past week, the number of Venezuelans attempting to enter the country fell more than 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launch of the joint enforcement actions. While this early data is not reflected in the latest report, it confirms what we’ve said all along: when there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border unlawfully.

“CBP and DHS will continue to work with our partners in the region to address the root causes of migration, expand legal pathways, facilitate removals, and take thousands of smugglers off the streets. No matter what smugglers say, those who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country will be removed and people should not make the dangerous journey.”

CBP Southwest Border Enforcement Numbers for September 2022

The large number of individuals fleeing failing authoritarian regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba is contributing to an increased number of migrants attempting to cross the border.

  • The number of unique individuals encountered nationwide in September 2022 was 182,704, a 15 percent increase in the number of unique enforcement encounters over the prior month, driven largely by an increased number of asylum seekers fleeing authoritarian regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
    • Of the total unique encounters in September 2022, 77,302 were from Venezuela, Cuba, or Nicaragua, which represents 42% of unique encounters, a 245% increase over September 2021.
    • Of the total unique encounters in September 2022, 58,068 were from Mexico and northern Central America, which represents 32% of unique encounters, a 23% decrease over September 2021.

Unique SW Border Encounters by Select Citizenships

Venezuela / Cuba / Nicaragua Mexico /
N. Central America
Sep 2022 77,302 58,068
% Unique Encounters 42% 32%
% Change from Sep. 2021 245% -23%

Note: Unique encounters include persons not previously encountered in the prior 12 months.
Source: OIS analysis of CBP data.

The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border.

  • In total, there were 227,547 encounters along the southwest land border in September, a 12 percent increase compared to August. Of those, 19 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14 percent for FY2014-2019
  • Almost three-fourths (71 percent) of all southwest land border encounters were single adults, with 161,381 encounters in September, a 15 percent increase compared to August.
  • 74,252 encounters, 33 percent of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42, consistent with the court order. 153,295 encounters were processed under Title 8.
    • 68,402 encounters involving single adults (42 percent of all single adult encounters) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 92,979 processed under Title 8.
    • 5,714 encounters involving family unit individuals (11 percent of all family unit individuals) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 48,365 processed under Title 8.

Unaccompanied Children

  • Encounters of unaccompanied children increased percent, with 11,900 encounters in September compared with 11,341 in August. In September, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 485 per day, compared with an average of 422 per day in August.

Family Unit individuals

  • Encounters of family unit individuals increased by percent from 51,773 in August to 54,079 in September —which is a 38 percent decrease from the peak of 86,631 in August 2021.

CBP Nationwide Total Encounters for FY22TD through September: 2,766,582

Ongoing Migration Management Efforts

CBP continues to enforce U.S. immigration law and apply consequences to those without a legal basis to remain in the United States. Current restrictions at the U.S. border have not changed; single adults and families encountered at the southwest border will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under CDC’s Title 42 Order, consistent with the court order. Those who are not expelled will be processed under long-standing Title 8 authorities and placed into removal proceedings.

Under Title 8, those who attempt to enter the United States without authorization, and who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States (such as a valid asylum claim), will be quickly removed. Individuals who have been removed under Title 8 are also subject to additional long-term consequences beyond removal from the United States, including bars to future immigration benefits.

DHS has been executing a comprehensive and deliberate strategy to secure our borders and build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system. The strategy is based on six pillars: surging resources; increasing efficiency to reduce strain on the border; employing an aggressive consequence regime; bolstering the capacity of NGOs and partner with state and local partners; going after cartels and smugglers; and working with our regional partners. This comprehensive plan leverages a whole-of-government approach to prepare for and manage the current and anticipated increases in encounters of noncitizens at our southwest border. Read more about the DHS Plan for Southwest Border Security and Preparedness page.

International Travel and Trade

One of CBP’s core mission objectives is to enhance the nation’s economic prosperity, including through the facilitation of lawful trade and travel. CBP continues to protect America’s national and economic security by facilitating legitimate trade while rigorously enforcing U.S. customs laws and regulations.

Count September 2020 September 2021 % September 2021 Change from September 2020 September 2022 % September 2022 Change from September 2020 % September 2022 Change from September
2021
Air 1,414,845 4,963,588 251% 9,220,975 552% 86%
Passenger Vehicles 3,982,356 5,386,698 35% 7,592,093 91% 41%
Pedestrians 1,878,709 2,350,654 25% 3,310,092 76% 41%
Commercial Trucks 1,042,599 1,048,777 0.6% 1,065,812 2% 1.6%

Since travel restrictions were eased on November 8, 2021, CBP has processed increased numbers of arriving travelers without any significant delays. The new rules allow travelers who are non-U.S. persons to seek to enter the United States for non-essential travel via land ports of entry and ferry terminals, provided they are fully vaccinated and have appropriate documentation. The updated guidelines also allow most non-immigrants (non-U.S. citizens and other covered persons) who are fully vaccinated to travel by air to the United States, regardless of the reason for travel.

CBP will continue to track traveler numbers and wait times over the next few months and continue to adjust as needed to make the travel experience more efficient. In the meantime, travelers can plan by doing the following:

  • Have a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document, such as a passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • Possess proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the CDC website.
  • Verbally attest to their travel intent and COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Be prepared to present any documents requested by the CBP officer.

Accountability and Transparency

As part of the agency’s continuing effort to promote organizational accountability and transparency, CBP announced the release of its Report on Internal Investigations and Employee Accountability: Fiscal Year 2020. For FY2020, CBP leadership directed the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Human Resources Management (HRM) to generate a joint report combining information regarding allegation intake and misconduct investigations with information regarding disciplinary outcomes. CBP is committed to being a leader in law enforcement accountability and transparency by providing multiple ways to report incidents as well as timely, accurate, and appropriate information regarding CBP-related deaths, use of force incidents, and other critical incidents resulting in serious injuries. The Accountability and Transparency page provides the public with statements, policies, reports, and other important information concerning critical incidents and related OPR reviews and investigations.

Trade Stats/Seizures – Protecting the American Consumer

CBP works diligently with the trade community and port operators to ensure that merchandise is cleared as efficiently as possible. CBP works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve border security. There are several programs by which CBP works with importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers to advance information about the shipments and expedite the inspection process at the ports of entry. CBP is available to conduct exams and is ready and willing to expand hours of operations if necessary to meet the growing demand for imported goods.

In September 2022 alone, CBP processed more than 2.8 million entry summaries valued at more than $291 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $8.2 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. In September, trade via the ocean environment accounted for more than 39.94 percent of the total import value, followed by air, truck, and rail.

In September 2022, CBP targeted 491 entries valued at more than $158.6 million for suspected use of forced labor in the production of imported goods, including goods subject to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and Withhold Release Orders.

Intellectual property rights violations continue to put America’s innovation economy at risk. Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threaten the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, the livelihoods of American workers, and the health and safety of consumers.

In September 2022, CBP seized nearly 1,623 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $205 million.

CBP completed 80 audits that identified $58.4 million in duties and fees owed to the U.S. government, stemming from goods that had been improperly declared in accordance with U.S. trade laws and customs regulations. CBP collected over $37.4 million of this identified revenue.

Drug Seizures

CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continue to interdict the flow of illicit narcotics across the border. Nationwide, CBP drug seizures (Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Marijuana) by weight were down 39 percent in September compared to August. Seizures were as follows:

  • Cocaine seizures decreased 81 percent
  • Methamphetamine increased 43 percent
  • Heroin seizures increased 73 percent
  • Fentanyl seizures decreased 19 percent

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics can be found on the Drug Seizure Statistics page.

Agriculture Stats/Seizures – Securing American Agriculture

In September 2022, CBP agriculture specialists helped protect America’s agriculture, natural resources, and economic prosperity.

  • CBP issued 6,959 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States.
  • CBP conducted 85,777 positive passenger inspections and issued 615 civil penalties and/or violations to the traveling public for failing to declare prohibited agriculture items.

Read more at CBP

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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