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  4. CBP Releases August 2021 Operational Update

CBP Releases August 2021 Operational Update

Release Date
Wed, 09/15/2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released operational statistics for August 2021, which can be viewed online.

“In August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection played an important role in Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome, as well as in support of the Gulf Coast after CBP SealHurricane Ida and the people of Haiti after their earthquake. We rose to those challenges even as we continued our vital work in support of our economy and national security at our ports of entry and along our borders,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. “In August, CBP processed a significant growth of legitimate travel and trade, with commercial truck transit on par with numbers at this point in Fiscal Year 2019, and passenger vehicle, pedestrian travel, and air travel numbers continuing to progress toward pre-pandemic levels.

"The men and women at CBP continue to step up to meet the demands of high numbers of encounters at our southern border. CBP recorded 2 percent fewer encounters in August than July. The vast majority of single adults encountered in August, along with a substantial share of families, continued to be expelled under the CDC's Title 42 authority."

CBP Enforcement Numbers for August 2021

The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border. 

  • The number of unique encounters in August 2021 was 156,641.
  • In total, there were 208,887 encounters along the Southwest Border, a 2 percent drop compared to July. Of those, 25 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14 percent for Fiscal Years 2014-2019.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of encounters were single adults, with 103,129 encounters in August, a 7 percent decrease compared to July.
  • 93,414 encounters, more than 44 percent of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42. 115,473 encounters were processed under Title 8.
    • 76,895 encounters involving single adults (75 percent) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 26,234 processed under Title 8.
    • 16,240 encounters involving family unit individuals (19 percent) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 70,247 processed under Title 8.
  • A total of 1,002,722 unique individuals have been encountered year-to-date during Fiscal Year 2021, compared to 851,513 during the same time period in Fiscal Year 2019.
  • In July, CBP began a Repeat Offender initiative, under which single adults who have previously been apprehended and deported under Title 8 are referred for prosecution.
  • As part of the United States’ mitigation efforts in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, the Department of Homeland Security has begun to transport individuals expelled under Title 42 by plane to the Mexican interior.
  • Certain individuals who are not able to be expelled under Title 42 are placed in expedited removal proceedings.  Expedited removal provides an accelerated procedure to remove individuals who do not have a basis under U.S. law to be in the United States. So far in Fiscal Year 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents have placed nearly 72,000 migrants in expedited removal proceedings.


Unaccompanied Children

  • Encounters of unaccompanied children decreased 1 percent, with 18,847 encounters in August compared with 18,958 in July. In August, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 1,435 per day, compared with an average of 1,353 per day in July.


Family Unit individuals

  • Encounters of family unit individuals increased by 4 percent from 83,493 in July to 86,487 in August—still below the peak of 88,587 encounters in May 2019.  The number of encounters with family unit individuals so far this fiscal year (415,185) remains below the number of encounters at the same point in Fiscal Year 2019 (505,102).

Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome

As part of Operation Allies Refuge, CBP deployed over 190 personnel among the approximately 400 DHS professionals deployed to Bahrain, Germany, Kuwait, Italy, Qatar, Spain, and UAE. CBP personnel worked in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and Department of State to process, screen, and vet Afghans who have worked for and on behalf of the United States and for other vulnerable Afghans. These deployments did not affect CBP operations on the southwest border.

In August, President Biden designated the Department of Homeland Security as the lead federal agency to coordinate Operation Allies Welcome, the ongoing effort to bring Americans and vulnerable Afghans – many of whom worked on behalf of the United States – to the United States and support their resettlement.

The U.S. government continues to work around the clock to conduct the screening and vetting of vulnerable Afghans prior to their arrival in the United States, consistent with the dual goals of protecting national security and providing protection for vulnerable Afghans.

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.


FY 2019 

FY 2020

FY 2021 


Through COVID


Through COVID


% Change























Commercial Trucks







 To ensure a smooth, more efficient inspection process at the border, CBP recommends that travelers:

  • Acquire a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) 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.

Facial Biometrics

One of the most important ways that CBP is transforming international travel is through the use of facial biometrics to create a safe and seamless travel experience for all passengers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a Congressional mandate to biometrically record all foreign nationals who enter and exit the United States. Years of testing have demonstrated that implementing biometric facial comparison technology through public-private partnerships is the most secure, efficient, and cost-effective way to fulfill the Congressional mandate while protecting the privacy of all travelers. The use of facial biometrics provides travelers with a secure, touchless process that modernizes air travel. With enhanced processes like Simplified Arrival and biometric boarding at select locations, CBP is using biometric facial comparison technology to meet the Congressional mandate while further securing and streamlining lawful travel. 

To date, more than 96 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and seaports of entry.

  • Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 900 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.

Trade Stats/Seizures – Protecting the American Consumer

In Fiscal Year 2021 to date, CBP has processed approximately $2.6 trillion of imports, an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2020. CBP has also seized 77,416 shipments for trade violations in the current fiscal year. In August alone, CBP processed more than 3 million entry summaries valued at more than $262 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $8.5 billion to be collected by the U.S. government.  Trade via the ocean accounted for more than 40 percent of the total import value, followed by air, truck, and rail.

  • 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.
  • In August 2021, CBP seized 2,186 shipments that contained more than $300 million of counterfeit goods.

Forced Labor Enforcement

CBP continues to aggressively investigate and prevent goods made by forced labor from entering U.S. commerce.  Forced labor is a form of modern-day slavery that violates international labor standards and universal human rights.

  • On Sept. 10, 2021, CBP announced that it had modified the forced labor finding on Top Glove Corporation Bhd.  Effective immediately, CBP will permit the importation of disposable gloves made at Top Glove facilities in Malaysia. Notice of the modification of the forced labor Finding on Top Glove is available in the Federal Register and in the Customs Bulletin.
  • In Fiscal Year 2021 to date, CBP has detained 1,213 shipments that contained approximately $414 million of goods suspected to be made by forced labor. The United States will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and stands against cruel and inhumane labor practices.                                                                                             

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 down 9 percent in August, a reflection of CBP’s commitment to protecting the people and economy of the United States.  Seizures were as follows:

  • Cocaine seizures increased 32 percent; 
  • Methamphetamine seizures increased 13 percent;
  • Heroin seizures decreased 36 percent;
  • Fentanyl seizures increased 34 percent. 

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics.

Agriculture Stats/Seizures – Securing American Agriculture

In August 2021, CBP agriculture specialists helped protect America’s agriculture, natural resources, and economic prosperity.

  • CBP issued 6,079 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States.
  • CBP conducted 69,978 positive passenger inspections and issued 734 civil penalties and/or violations to the traveling public for failing to declare prohibited agriculture items.

Hurricane and Earthquake Response

CBP is a member agency of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Response Framework (NRF) in responding to emergencies as part of a whole-of-government approach to prepare for, and to respond to all hazards. CBP contributes both assets and personnel with capabilities unique to CBP that significantly contributes to lifesaving and response management efforts.

  • CBP personnel from across the Southeastern United States supported local, state and federal partners in Hurricane Ida response efforts. CBP’s highest priorities in hurricane response are to promote lifesaving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible and the speedy recovery of the region.

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 10,900 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 43 have passed away, eight in the last month.

CBP continues to explore adjustments to workforce posture and health protocols based on widespread vaccine access and easing public health metrics:  

  • CBP provides migrants who can’t be expelled under Title 42 or are awaiting processing with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody, and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times.
  • CBP works with appropriate agencies that facilitate testing, diagnosis, isolation, and treatment of migrants, including:
    • Local governments and non-governmental organizations for persons released from CBP custody;
    • DHS and ICE for testing of persons to be released from CBP custody, particularly in locations without local government or NGO testing capability; and,
    • HHS for testing of unaccompanied children. 
  • DHS has developed a partnership model to test and isolate families who test positive for COVID-19, and reimburse 100 percent of the cost, provided that the state does not stand in the way.
Last Modified: Oct 20, 2023