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  4. CBP Releases December 2021 Monthly Operational Update

CBP Releases December 2021 Monthly Operational Update

Release Date
Mon, 01/24/2022

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

“The dedicated men and women at CBP are committed to ensuring dangerous drugs and counterfeit products are off the streets, our communities are kept safe, and our borders are secured,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. “Equally important to our mission is facilitating lawful trade and travel thatCBP logo is critical to the sustained growth of the U.S. economy. In December, CBP collected more than $9 billion in estimated duties, and also saw a dramatic increase in the confiscation of fake products. In one port of entry alone, CBP officers reported the seizure of more than $30 million of counterfeit goods last month. Other key metrics show an uptick as well. There was a staggering $3.31 billion worth of counterfeit goods seized in FY21 – a 153 percent increase from FY20; heroin seizures increased by 113 percent in December. These seizures demonstrate that our intelligence and operational abilities are disrupting criminal enterprises and safeguarding legitimate commerce. We will continue to strengthen these capabilities and meet these challenges and future ones with the same determination and resolve.”

CBP Southwest Border Enforcement Numbers for December 2021

The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a higher-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. 

  • CBP encountered an average of 5,769 individuals a day at the Southwest border in December 2021, a slight decrease from the November 2021 daily average.
  • The number of unique individuals encountered in December 2021 was 135,040, a 5 percent increase in the number of unique individuals encountered the prior month.
  • In total, there were 178,840 encounters along the Southwest land border in December, a 2 percent increase compared to November. Of those, 23 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 FY2014-2019.
  • Two-thirds (64 percent) of encounters were single adults, with 114,993 encounters in December, a 4 percent decrease compared to November.
  • 78,589 encounters, 44 percent of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42. 100,251 encounters were processed under Title 8.
    • 68,347 encounters involving single adults (59 percent of all single adult encounters) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 46,646 processed under Title 8.
    • 10,005 encounters involving family unit individuals (19 percent of all family unit individuals) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 41,619 processed under Title 8.

Unaccompanied Children

  • Encounters of unaccompanied children decreased 14 percent, with 11,921 encounters in December compared with 13,937 in November. In December, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 704 per day, compared with an average of 926 per day in November.

Family Unit individuals

  • Encounters of family unit individuals increased by 15 percent from 45,062 in November to 51,624 in December—which is 40 percent decrease from the peak of 86,631 in August 2021. 


Collaboration with the Government of Mexico

On December 6-8, 2021, Troy Miller, then serving as Senior Official Performing the Duties of Commissioner, led a CBP delegation to Mexico. Mr. Miller met with numerous Mexican officials and governors in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico. Miller met with INM Commissioner Dr. Francisco Garduño Yáñez and staff to provide awareness of current irregular migrant flows, ongoing efforts, and requests for additional support in key areas including commercial air travel, which serves as a primary vehicle for irregular migrants reaching the Southwest border. He also met with Mexican Customs Administrator General Horacio Duarte Olivares to discuss facilitation of legitimate trade and travel across the Southwest border and continued collaboration. Additionally, Miller and Deputy Chief of Mission Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath met with Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, Director General for North America Roberto Velasco to discuss visa requirements for migrant populations impacting CBP operations along the southwest border. This visit to Mexico builds on recent trips by CBP leadership to Colombia and Panama to strengthen relationships with foreign partners across the region.

CBP Seized Over $30 Million Worth of Fake Designer Products

In time for the holiday season and as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers, Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport in cooperation with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents intercepted 13,586 counterfeit designer products arriving in a containerized cargo shipment from China. CBP officers discovered handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts, and pants bearing numerous registered and recorded trademarks, such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL, and Louis Vuitton. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have a combined estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $30,437,775. The sale of counterfeit commodities multiplies the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers who reinvest the proceeds from such sales into further criminal enterprises. In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP personnel nationwide seized 27,107 shipments containing counterfeit goods estimated to be worth nearly $3.31 billion, a 153 percent increase from FY20 ($1.31 billion).


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 continues to protect America’s national and economic security by facilitating legitimate trade while rigorously enforcing U.S. customs laws and regulations.



December 2019

December 2020

% Change from Dec 2019

December 2021

% Change from Dec 2020




















Commercial Trucks







Since travel restrictions were eased on November 8, CBP has processed increased numbers of arriving travelers without any significant delays. The new rules allow travelers who are non-U.S. persons to seek to enter the United States for non-essential travel via land ports of entry and ferry terminals, provided they are fully vaccinated and have appropriate documentation. The updated guidelines also allow most non-immigrants (non-U.S. citizens and other covered persons) who are fully vaccinated to travel by air to the United States, regardless of the reason for travel.

CBP will continue to track traveler numbers and wait times over the next few months and continue to adjust as needed to make the travel experience more efficient. In the meantime, travelers can plan by doing the following:

  • Have a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document, such as a passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • Possess proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the CDC website. 
  • Verbally attest to their travel intent and COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Be prepared to present any documents requested by the CBP officer.


Accountability and Transparency

As part of the agency’s continuing effort to promote organizational accountability and transparency, CBP announced the release of its Report on Internal Investigations and Employee Accountability: Fiscal Year 2020. For FY2020, CBP leadership directed the Office of Professional Responsibility and Human Resources Management to generate a joint report combining information regarding allegation intake and misconduct investigations with information regarding disciplinary outcomes. CBP is committed to being a leader in law enforcement accountability and transparency by providing multiple ways to report incidents as well as timely, accurate and appropriate information regarding CBP-related deaths, use of force incidents and other critical incidents resulting in serious injuries. The Accountability and Transparency page provides the public with statements, policies, reports and other important information concerning critical incidents and related OPR reviews and investigations. 


Trade Stats/Seizures – Protecting the American Consumer

CBP works diligently with the trade community and 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 is available to conduct exams and is ready and willing to expand hours of operations if necessary to meet the growing demand for imported goods.

In December 2021 alone, CBP processed more than 3.3 million entry summaries valued at more than $270 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $9 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. In December, trade via the ocean environment accounted for more than 45 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 threaten the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, the livelihoods of American workers, and the health and safety of consumers.

In December 2021, CBP seized nearly 1,600 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $178 million.


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 (Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, Marijuana, and Fentanyl) by DHS were down 42 percent in December over the prior month. Seizures were as follows:

  • Cocaine seizures increased 28 percent
  • Methamphetamine decreased 59 percent
  • Heroin seizures increased 113 percent
  • Fentanyl seizures decreased 51 percent 

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics.


Agriculture Stats/Seizures – Securing American Agriculture

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

  • CBP issued 4,091 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States.
  • CBP conducted 65,424 positive passenger inspections and issued 491 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 18,614 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 64 have passed away.

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 the CDC’s Title 42 order 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;
    • 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 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.

NOTE: This press release has been updated to correct a typographic error made in the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody for December 2021. The correct average number for December 2021 was 704 per day

Last Modified: Jan 05, 2024