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  4. CBP Announces April 2021 Operational Update

CBP Announces April 2021 Operational Update

Release Date
Tue, 05/11/2021

Image of the CBP seal. A blue eagle gazing to the left holds an American flag shield in the foreground. Under the eagle is a gray banner featuring the CBP core values of vigilance, service, and integrity. In the background, a yellow, green, and blue line traverse an image of the northern hemisphere centered on the north Atlantic. The logo is encapsulated by a gray circle around which "U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Department of Homeland Security" is written.WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released operational statistics for April 2021, which can be viewed online.

“CBP continues to see a large influx of illegal migration along the Southwest Border,” said CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy Miller. “In order to disrupt criminal organizations that have little regard for human life, CBP is leading the way alongside external law enforcement partners through Operational Sentinel. Day after day, CBP rescues migrants abandoned in harsh terrain, left for dead with no food or water. CBP is committed to enhancing the security of the U.S. border and helping save the lives of vulnerable migrants.”

CBP Enforcement Numbers

In April 2021, CBP encountered 178,622 persons attempting entry along the Southwest Border. This total represented a 3 percent increase over March 2021.

Single adults continue to make up the majority of these encounters. In April 2021, CBP expelled 111,714 individuals under Title 42. CBP continues to expel single adults and family units that are encountered pursuant to CDC guidance under Title 42 authority; 62.5 percent of total encounters resulted in a Title 42 expulsion for the month.

CBP enforcement numbers for April 2021. 

Unaccompanied Children

Encounters along the Southwest Border of unaccompanied children and single minors from Northern Triangle countries dropped by 12 percent this month, with 13,962 encounters in April 2021 compared with 15,918 in March 2021. 

In March 2021, during the height of the challenge at the Southwest Border, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas made it clear that although it would take some time, the Department, and the Administration, was in the process of implementing a comprehensive plan to address migration flows.

Just over a month later, in April 2021, the average number of children in CBP custody has decreased to 2,895 from 4,109 in March 2021 – with the number of children in CBP custody at 455 on May 11. In March, unaccompanied children spent an average of 115 hours in CBP custody. Now, unaccompanied children are being held in CBP facilities for an average of 28 hours.

This progress is a result of the steps DHS took to reengineer processes and mobilize personnel Department-wide, including designating FEMA to lead a whole of government effort to assist the Department of Health and Human Services with establishing temporary facilities that provide a safe, sanitary, and secure environment for unaccompanied children as well as dedicating more than 350 officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to more efficiently and effectively verify claimed sponsors to support the reunification process.

Operation Sentinel

In April 2021, CBP launched a new counter-network targeting operation focused directly on transnational criminal organizations (TCO) affiliated with smuggling migrants into the United States.

Operation Sentinel is a collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The new anti-smuggling effort targets all personnel and identifiable resources that TCOs require to operate. Operation Sentinel utilizes the full breadth of domestic and foreign authorities, interagency data, and CBP analytic capability to map the organizations’ networks; target their members, associates, and assets; and employ a series of targeted actions and sanctions against them.

To date, Operation Sentinel partners in the State Department have revoked more than 130 visas associated with TCO members and their associates. CBP is currently targeting hundreds of other TCO members, their associates and their affiliated businesses for additional actions such as visa revocations and suspension and debarment. The operation is also actively working to decimate TCOs’ ability to send and receive the financial proceeds of their illicit activities.

Life-saving Rescues

CBP performed more than 873 rescues nationwide in April 2021. The number of rescues continues at a fast pace, with more than 5,787 individuals rescued this fiscal year, compared to 5,255 migrants for all of Fiscal Year 2020.

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, drug seizures were up 6 percent in April from March 2021. Cocaine interceptions decreased 41 percent. Seizures of methamphetamine decreased 16 percent. Seizures of heroin increased 97 percent and seizures of fentanyl increased 34 percent. So far in Fiscal Year 2021, fentanyl seizures have already surpassed those from all of Fiscal Year 2020, with 6,494 through April 2021 compared to 4,776 for all of Fiscal Year 2020.

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics.

Effects of COVID-19 on CBP Personnel

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 at the border. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 8,600 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and 31 have passed away.

CBP collaborated closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of our frontline personnel. Through this effort, we were able to directly vaccinate 33 percent of our eligible workforce in addition to facilitating community vaccine access for the remainder of CBP employees.

Trade and Counterfeit Seizures

CBP continues to collaborate with federal partners and the trade community to facilitate the importation of legitimate medical supplies and other goods necessary for the COVID-19 response, while also verifying that those goods are authorized and safe for use. As part of that effort, CBP is interdicting fraudulent and unauthorized goods that could harm the health and safety of Americans. Between January 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, CBP seized:

  • More than 183,000 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 423 incidents. These items were either prohibited for not meeting legal requirements, or they were potentially unlicensed,
  • More than 38 million counterfeit face masks seized in 770 incidents,
  • 37,000 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 118 incidents,
  • Nearly 39,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 234 incidents,
  • More than 7,100 tablets of antibiotics, such as azithromycin, in 115 incidents, and
  • Approximately 450,000 containers of hand sanitizer in 37 incidents.
Last Modified: Oct 20, 2023