CBP Releases Southwest Border Data for September and EOY

October 24, 2022
A photo of a desert area


The highest number of encounters at the U.S. southern border – a new record year.
Here's what to know.

Why A Full Year Of Data Now?

  • The government's fiscal year (for the border data and beyond) runs October – September.

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released September's data – and with it, we now have a snapshot for the month as well as the bigger picture for the year.

  • Total "encounters" along the Southwest border during the govt.'s fiscal year (Oct. – Sept): 2.3M, the highest number of encounters ever recorded, surpassing last year's annual record of 1.7M.

Important Context

  • The 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.

"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."

U.S. CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. Encounters along the southwest border totaled 227,547 in Sept., a 12% increase from Aug. and the third-highest monthly total in 20+ years. About 3 out of 10 people were expelled under Title 42, while nearly 7 out of 10 were processed under immigration law (Title 8) – allowed to stay in the U.S. pursuing asylum, detained, or removed with no legal basis to remain.

"The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts …"

CBP in their monthly report. 19% of people encountered had a previous encounter within the last year. Single adults continued to make up the majority (71%) of people encountered along the southwest border in Sept. Individuals travelling as a family unit made up nearly 24% of total encounters, and unaccompanied children (ages 17 & younger) made up 5%, with 485 children in CBP custody each day, on average.

Something To Consider:

  • Encounters of people from Venezuela, Cuba & Nicaragua continued to sharply increase in Sept. CBP says people "fleeing failing authoritarian regimes" in these countries are contributing to the increasingly large number of total encounters.

  • Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine (Feb. 2022), there has also been an increase in Ukrainians and Russians encountered as they flee the war.

  • During Sept. alone, there was a 59% increase of encounters of Russians along the southwest border when compared to Aug.

With this data, we now have a complete picture of how many encounters CBP recorded in fiscal year 2022 (Oct. – Sept.): 2.3 million, the most that's ever been recorded.

In Oct., the Biden admin began expelling Venezuelans to Mexico under Title 42. CBP said this has contributed to a decline in encounters of Venezuelans so far; the Biden admin will also admit up to 24K Venezuelans into the U.S "on humanitarian parole if they apply online with a financial sponsor and enter through an airport, similar to how tens of thousands of Ukrainians have come since Russia invaded their country," The Associated Press explains.

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

Illegal border crossings to US from Mexico hit annual high (The Associated Press)

Southwest Land Border Encounters (U.S. CBP; interactive data chart)

U.S. will begin turning many Venezuelan migrants back to Mexico (The Texas Tribune)

by Jenna Lee,