July Border Data

August 13, 2021
July Border Data


200,000+ in One Month
The number of people attempting entry along the U.S. southern border continues to break modern data collection records.
What To Know & Why It Matters:

Important Note:

  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection uses the word "encounters" in its monthly report.
  • This umbrella term refers to anyone U.S. Border Patrol confronted at the border.
  • This includes many different scenarios, such as an individual trying to cross the border illegally, trying to apply for asylum, or immediately expelled under a public safety policy (commonly referred to as Title 42).
  • Not all "encounters" lead to arrests, detentions, or expulsions, but some do.

The Numbers: July 2021

  • 212,672 total "encounters" along the U.S. southwest border – highest single-month number in 20+ years.
  • 27% of people had a previous "encounter" within the last 12 months. The U.S. govt. says re-encounters are due *in part* to the "large number of expulsions during the pandemic."
  • 95,788 people, or about 45% of the total # of encounters, were expelled by the U.S. govt. under Title 42 (a provision re: public health safety.)

Behind The Numbers

  • Most people attempting entry along the southern border continue to be single adults, who made up 52% of "encounters" in July.
  • Family apprehensions increased by nearly 50%.
  • 78% of single adults and 12% of families were expelled.
  • Unaccompanied minors grew by 24%, totaling 18,962 in July – which became the highest single-month number in recent data records (2010). (Commonly, minors are not expelled and remain in U.S. govt. custody).

Unique Individuals

  • Remember: In June, CBP marked more than 1 million "encounters" along the U.S. southwest border this year; the government's year spans from Oct. 2020 – Sept. 2021.
  • The total number "year-to-date" of *unique individuals* who have attempted entry is 845,307, CBP reports.
  • The # of Mexican citizens apprehended has decreased since May 2021, but the # of people from Guatemala, El Salvador, & Honduras continues to increase.
"The situation at the border is one of the toughest challenges we face … It is complicated, changing and involves vulnerable people at a time of a global pandemic."

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a press conference Thursday. Mayorkas called July's numbers "unprecedented." It's important to note that while the current numbers of "encounters" are already record-breaking, those numbers do not account for those who have attempted crossing and succeeded undetected.

“It's an issue, but it is certainly not the cause of our current dilemma.”

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, when asked about whether the border surge has impacted COVID-19 numbers in America. Dr. Iván Meléndez, the health authority in Hidalgo County (located on the Texas-Mexico border), said the border is "mirroring exactly what's going on in the rest of the country and most of the world" with "the positivity rate in the migrants" being "almost exactly" the same as positivity rates in the rest of the country.

In July, the total number of "encounters" along the southwest border was an approx. 12% increase from June. Also in July, the Biden admin. announced the beginning of a process called "expedited removal" – flying families who do not "have a legal basis" to stay in the U.S., and who cannot be expelled under Title 42, "promptly" back to their home country. This decision has drawn criticism from human rights organizations, while immigration authorities say the process will help to slow the rising number of "encounters."

CBP Releases July 2021 Operational Update

Southwest Land Border Encounters (Interactive Charts)

Here's NPR's report with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas remarks

Check out our report on June's Southwest Border Data Here

Reminder: While Important, this data reflects *only* "encounters" – a term used for those apprehended, arrested, expelled or allowed to stay pending pursuit of asylum.

by Jenna Lee,