U.S. Customs and Border Protection today released agency statistics for Fiscal Year 2021 covering all major areas of operations, including international travel and trade, forced labor enforcement, drug seizures, and national border encounter statistics.
“The operational statistics for Fiscal Year 2021 show the breadth and scope of CBP’s mission, which encompasses travel and trade, drug interdiction, and border security,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. “CBP’s mission is vital to making our country safer and more secure, and important to our economic recovery. Fiscal Year 2021 numbers reflect tremendous success in drug interdiction, as CBP seized over 900,000 pounds of drugs through enhanced efforts and technology.
“CBP also issued seven Withhold Release Orders (WROs) and two Findings in FY2021 to protect American consumers and businesses from receiving nearly $500 million of goods made by forced labor. At the same time, CBP has helped facilitate a return to normal in terms of cross-border traffic, travel and trade as our nation continues to move through the pandemic. These are not just numbers; they reflect the commitment of CBP’s workforce to their mission, to protecting the American people, and to fighting modern-day slavery.”
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’s role is vital to America’s economic rebound from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. CBP continues to protect America’s national and economic security by facilitating legitimate trade while rigorously enforcing U.S. customs laws and regulations. While CBP’s trade and travel numbers have not entirely returned to pre-pandemic levels, they have increased significantly in recent months.
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To ensure a smooth, more efficient inspection process at the border, CBP continues to recommend that travelers:
- Acquire a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document and/or apply for a trusted traveler program.
- Use the CBP OneTM mobile application, an intuitive single point of entry for travelers and stakeholders to access CBP mobile applications and services, including obtaining proof of their electronic I-94 form on their mobile device.
CBP encourages Visa Waiver Program travelers seeking to obtain an approved ESTA to take advantage of the time savings offered by using CBP OneTM or the CBP I-94 website. With an ESTA, these travelers can apply for their I-94 in advance of arrival and avoid filling out the Form I-94W at a Port of Entry.
Trade Stats/Seizures – Protecting the American Consumer
In FY2021, CBP processed approximately $2.8 trillion of imports, an increase of nearly 17 percent compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2020. Overall, CBP collected approximately $93.8 billion in duties, taxes, and other fees on behalf of the U.S. government in FY2021, representing a 133% increase over a five-year period.
CBP works diligently with the trade and the 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 has also seized more than 83,000 shipments for trade violations in the current fiscal year. In September 2021 alone, CBP processed more than 3 million entry summaries valued at more than $259 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $8.4 billion to be collected by the U.S. government.
Intellectual property rights violations continue to put America’s innovation economy at risk. Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, the livelihoods of American workers, and the health and safety of consumers.
Forced Labor Enforcement
CBP continues to aggressively investigate and prevent goods made by forced labor from entering U.S. commerce. After a record-breaking year in forced labor enforcement in FY2020, CBP established itself as a global leader in the fight to end forced labor, winning the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award FY2021. Forced labor violates international labor standards and universal human rights.
- CBP issued seven Withhold Release Orders in Fiscal Year 2021 to protect American consumers and businesses from goods made by forced labor. Those orders have targeted cotton products and tomato products from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; silica-based products made by a company that operates in Xinjiang; palm oil from a Malaysian company; and tuna and other seafood harvested by a Chinese fishing fleet, a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel, and a Fijian-flagged fishing vessel.
- In FY2021, CBP detained 1,469 shipments that contained approximately $486 million of goods suspected to be made by forced labor. As Homeland Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has said, CBP will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and stands against cruel and inhumane labor practices.
CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continue to interdict the flow of illicit narcotics across the border. In FY2021, CBP seized 624,500 pounds of drugs.
Compared to last fiscal year:
- Cocaine seizures increased 68%;
- Methamphetamine seizures increased 7%;
- Heroin seizures decreased 6%;
- Fentanyl seizures increased 134%.
Additional CBP drug seizure statistics can be found here.
Agriculture Stats/Seizures – Securing American Agriculture
In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP agriculture specialists helped protect America’s agriculture, natural resources, and economic prosperity.
- CBP issued 73,917 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States.
- CBP conducted 630,150 positive passenger inspections and issued 7,190 civil penalties and/or violations to the traveling public for failing to declare prohibited agriculture items.
CBP COVID-19 Response
The safety of our workforce, our communities, and individuals in our care is a top priority. CBP personnel put themselves and their families at risk with every encounter with the public. Since the start of the pandemic:
- More than 13,000 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
- 98% of CBP employees are in compliance with the executive order on vaccinations, with 87% fully vaccinated and 11% requesting a reasonable accommodation. Achieving this level of compliance in an agency as large as CBP is no small feat.
- Tragically, 59 CBP employees have passed away due to COVID-19.
In April 2021, CBP launched Operation Sentinel, a new counter-network targeting operation focused directly on transnational criminal organizations affiliated with smuggling migrants into the United States.
More than 200 non-immigrant visas and more than 240 Global Entry and SENTRI cards have been revoked since the launch of Operation Sentinel, and more than 15 businesses and associated entities were targeted for suspension or debarment, two of which have since been disbarred. Lookouts had been placed on more than 1,700 individuals associated with transnational criminal organizations’ illicit activity. More than 1,100 individuals involved in illicit money transactions had been identified and referred to interagency partners for law enforcement actions. Operation Sentinel refers all cases with potential prosecutorial interest to investigative partners for review and prosecution.
CBP Nationwide Enforcement Numbers for Fiscal Year 2021
CBP faced significant challenges at the border in FY2021, grappling with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – which deeply affected the health and well-being of its workforce – while confronting a high number of Southwest Border encounters.
The high number of total encounters was partly driven by high recidivism rates (repeat encounters) among individuals processed under the CDC’s Title 42 public health authorities, meaning the actual number of unique individuals attempting to cross the border was substantially lower than total encounters.
The majority of border encounters resulted in expulsions under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Title 42 public health authority. The varied demographics of the population encountered at the border, reductions in custody capacity, and other COVID-related restrictions made the processing of large number of noncitizens apprehended or found inadmissible under the government’s Title 8 immigration authority uniquely challenging in fiscal year 2021.
Overall, in FY 2021, there were 1.72 million CBP encounters that resulted in either expulsion under the CDC’s Title 42 public health authority or processing as Title 8 immigration enforcement cases (“enforcement encounters”). The Department completed 1.2 million repatriations, including expulsions under Title 42 and removals under Title 8, which represents a 15-year high that is more than two-and-a-half times as many repatriations as in FY 2020. Most people encountered at the border (62 percent) were expelled under the Title 42 authority to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In FY 2021, high border encounters were also driven by multiple factors: a continued long-term shift from almost all encounters being single adults from Mexico to large numbers of individuals in family units; a continued rise in encounters of unaccompanied children; and increasing migration flows from countries other than Mexico or the Northern Triangle.
CBP Efforts at and Between Ports of Entry
In FY 2021, CBP recorded a total of 1.72 million enforcement encounters, including 146,054 encounters of unaccompanied children, 478,492 encounters of individuals in family units, and 1,098,500 encounters of single adults. The majority of all encounters were processed in accordance with orders from the CDC under its Title 42 public health authority to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The number of total encounters overstates the number of unique people attempting to cross the border. Prior to the pandemic, about one in eight border encounters involved a person previously encountered during the prior year. However, since CBP began expelling noncitizens under the CDC’s Title 42 public health order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the repeat encounter rate jumped to more than one in three encounters, including almost half of single adult encounters. Thus, while total enforcement encounters increased 82 percent between 2019 (the last pre-pandemic year) and 2021, the number of unique individuals encountered at the border increased 30 percent.
Changing Migrant Demographics
Overall, CBP encountered 388,249 women and girls in 2021, an increase of 18 percent over 2019 and 159 percent over the average for 2014-2019. These FY 2021 numbers included almost 110,000 single adult women. The rising number of women and the shift from single adults to children and family units raise different processing needs and policy responses. Humanitarian concerns, inherent vulnerabilities, and legal protections make processing children and family units at the border, and throughout the immigration process, more complex and resource intensive than processing single adults.
Additionally, Mexican nationals accounted for just 28 percent of unique encounters in 2021, their lowest share in recorded history, versus 44 percent for the Northern Triangle countries and 28 percent for countries other than Mexico or the Northern Triangle – twice the previous record for this demographic. This trend is important because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not currently have agreements to electronically verify nationality with these different countries of origin, making removing or expelling their nationals more resource-intensive and time-consuming.
Outside of Mexico and the Northern Triangle, the countries accounting for the largest number of encounters in FY 2021 were Ecuador, Brazil, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti, and Cuba.
Unique encounters of unaccompanied children (UC) along the Southwest Border increased 73 percent compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. The increase in encounters, coupled with the prior administration’s failure to expand the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) capacity to receive unaccompanied children from Border Patrol stations within the required timeframe, meant that, early in 2021, children were staying in Border Patrol stations for too long.
In response to the increase in the number of unaccompanied children encountered and the time they were spending in Border Patrol custody, DHS, through its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provided coordination and technical support to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, expanding temporary holding capacity by establishing temporary housing facilities for unaccompanied children along the border.
The Movement Coordination Cell (MCC), a standing interagency group to oversee the expedited processing and transfer of UCs and vulnerable individuals out of CBP custody, was formed to facilitate communication and problem-solving among U.S. government agencies managing border immigration flow. The MCC is comprised of personnel from CBP, HHS, FEMA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Defense.
Coupled with the development of the MCC, DHS was able to rapidly reduce the total number of UCs in CBP custody from over 5,600 on March 29 to under 500 six weeks later, even as UC encounter rates remained elevated.
Since the start of FY2021, CBP officers and agents have rescued more than 13,200 individuals in a wide variety of circumstances, an increase of more than 150 percent from FY2020. CBP officers and agents continue to stand ready to provide lifesaving assistance to all who need it.