CBP Releases Southern Border Numbers for July

August 16, 2022
A photo of Yuma, Arizona — a town along the U.S. southwest border

New Numbers

The latest data from encounters at the U.S. southwest border reveals an onward march to a record year.
What To Know — Why It Matters


  • Under the Biden administration, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) uses the umbrella term "encounters" in its monthly report.

  • This includes many different scenarios "encountered" by CBP agents — such as an individual trying to cross the border illegally, allowed to stay pending pursuit of asylum, or being quickly expelled under a provision re: public health safety during a pandemic (commonly referred to as Title 42).

  • Not all "encounters" lead to arrests, detentions, or expulsions — but some do.

“We’re apprehending people left and right.”

Border Patrol agent Jesus Vasalvilbaso. While border patrol had fewer encounters in July than June, it was still the 2nd-highest figure recorded for July in 20+ years. Of the 199,976 total encounters, roughly 1 in 4 (74,573, or 37%) were expelled under Title 42, while about 6 out of 10 (125,403) were processed under immigration law (Title 8) — allowed to stay in the U.S. pursuing asylum, detained, or removed w/ no legal basis to remain.

"I won’t give up. I have nothing here.”

Rafael Ruiz, a 54-year-old Mexican, has attempted crossing the border three times and says he will continue to attempt crossing; Ruiz represents the majority of those encountered as single adults. More than 1 in 5 people total had a previous encounter within the past year; CBP says this "higher-than-usual" rate is due partly to the "large number of expulsions during the pandemic." While people were quickly expelled, they did not face other punishments/deterrents (a fine, jail time, etc.) and The Wall Street Journal reports this has led to repeated attempts.

"While the encounter numbers remain high, this is a positive trend and the first two-month drop since October 2021."

CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. Although there was a decrease in encounters during July, the number of people attempting entry into the U.S. is still amid historic levels. Big Picture: The number of total yearly encounters for fiscal year 2022 is now set to surpass more than 2M encounters — the highest number of yearly encounters ever recorded.

The U.S. govt. has expanded its ad campaign in other countries to dissuade people from attempting illegal entry into the U.S. Meanwhile, border states have attempted to call attention to the resources needed to combat the influx of both people and drugs. Arizona has begun filling gaps in the border wall with shipping containers; Texas has begun bussing some of those allowed to stay in the U.S. to New York City and Washington, D.C.

CBP Releases July 2022 Monthly Operational Update (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Southwest Land Border Encounters (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The U.S. Immigration Debate (Council on Foreign Relations)

More on the southwest border from June 2022: Another Historic Year (SmartHER News)

Record Numbers of Migrants Arrested at Southern Border, With Two Million Annual Total in Sight (The Wall Street Journal)

by Jenna Lee,