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  4. CBP Releases October 2021 Monthly Operational Update

CBP Releases October 2021 Monthly Operational Update

Release Date
Mon, 11/15/2021

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

“CBP’s workforce continues to demonstrate excellence and dedication as they manage heightened travel demands on the border, facilitate a return to normal travel and trade at all our ports of entry, and manage migrant encounters in a safe, orderly, and humane way,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. “In October, CBP saw significant increases in pedestrian, air, and vehicle travel, even as we prepared to allow fully vaccinated, documented travelers resume non-essential travel again in November.  CBP also continues to prioritize protecting the American public from illicit activity, interdicting 33,500 pounds of drugs along the Southwest border in October.  We continue to work diligently to identify and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that smuggle contraband and migrants into the U.S. October marks the third straight month of declining unauthorized migrant encounters along the Southwest border -- with particularly sharp drops in families and unaccompanied children – and CBP’s workforce continues to work with partners across the federal government and throughout the hemisphere to disrupt the smugglers intent on exploiting vulnerable migrants for profit.”


CBP Enforcement Numbers for October 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. 

  • The number of unique individuals encountered in October 2021 was 117,260, an 18% reduction in the number of unique individuals encountered the prior month.
  • In total, there were 164,303 encounters along the Southwest border, a 14% decrease compared to September. Of those, 29% 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% for FY2014-2019.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of encounters were single adults, with 108,583 encounters in October, a 4% decrease compared to September.
  • 93,676 encounters, more than 57% of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42. 70,627 encounters were processed under Title 8.
    • 80,242 encounters involving single adults (74% of all single adult encounters) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 28,341 processed under Title 8.
    • 13,308 encounters involving family unit individuals (31% of all family unit individuals) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 29,418 processed under Title 8.

Unaccompanied Children

  • Encounters of unaccompanied children decreased 11%, with 12,807 encounters in October compared with 14,358 in September. In October, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 595 per day, compared with an average of 772 per day in September.

Family Unit individuals

  • Encounters of family unit individuals decreased by 34% from 64,388 in September to 42,726 in October—which less than half the peak of 86,631 in August 2021. 


Collaboration with the Government of Colombia

In October, CBP Acting Commissioner Miller led a CBP delegation to Colombia and held constructive and action-oriented discussions with the Director General of Colombia Migration as well as with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While the visit focused on irregular migration, the trip also included productive engagement with Customs counterparts and the American Chamber of Commerce on trade facilitation efforts and a signing ceremony with Colombian National Police Anti-Narcotics Division (DIRAN) to formalize support of the Container Security Initiative and other CBP security programs. Acting Commissioner Miller returned to Colombia with Secretary of State Blinken on October 20 to participate in a regional migration ministerial meeting where he addressed foreign ministers from 16 countries and emphasized the impact of multi-lateral actions to manage irregular migration and combat the transnational criminal organizations profiting from human smuggling.


Irregular Migration Talks with Mexico

Last month, a CBP delegation participated in several engagements with Government of Mexico partners to discuss efforts to address irregular migrant flows and the continued sharing of information and joint targeting of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) engaged in human, weapons, and narcotics smuggling. These efforts with Mexico are part of the ongoing Operation Sentinel, which is a counter-network targeting operation focused on TCOs affiliated with the smuggling of migrants.


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. 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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Since November 8, DHS has allowed fully vaccinated non-citizens traveling for non-essential reasons to cross at land ports of entry (POE) and ferry crossings along the U.S. northern and southern borders. As travel begins to resume, travel volumes and wait times are expected to increase. Travelers should take into account longer than normal wait times and long lines at our land border when planning their trip and are reminded to exercise patience as we embark on further reopening cross border travel.

Before embarking on your trip to the U.S., travelers should be prepared for the following:

  • Possess and present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document, such as a valid U.S. 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 non-essential travel and COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Be prepared to present any other documents requested by the CBP officer.

These changes apply to lawful land border crossings  and to foreign nationals who have appropriate documentation to enter the United States. Any foreign national attempting to enter the United States irregularly, through any illegal means or without proper documentation, will be subject to border restrictions, including expulsion.


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 October 2021 alone, CBP processed more than 3.4 million entry summaries valued at more than $266 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $8.5 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. In October, trade via the ocean environment accounted for more than 44% 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 October 2021, CBP seized nearly 1,600 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $200 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 were up 4% in October. Seizures were as follows:

  • Cocaine seizures decreased 64%. 
  • Methamphetamine seizures increased 41%. 
  • Heroin seizures decreased 49%. 
  • Fentanyl seizures increased 42%.

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics.


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. Federal agencies, including CBP, are laser-focused on vaccinating their workforce ahead of the November 22nd deadline for Federal employees. Like other Federal agencies, we are continuing to collect vaccination information from employees as we approach the deadline.

Since the start of the pandemic:

  • More than 11,900 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 51 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 has developed a partnership model to test and isolate families who test positive for COVID-19, and reimburse 100% of the cost, provided that the state does not stand in the way.

Last Modified: Jan 05, 2024