FACT CHECK: Were Only 9,000 Illegal Immigrants Apprehended At The Border In 2020?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims 9,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southern border in 2020 and 108,000 have been apprehended “in less than 3 months” in 2021.



Verdict: False

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data shows over 547,000 law enforcement encounters took place at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2020, and more than 178,000 occurred in the first two months of 2021.

Fact Check:

The March 10 Facebook post reads, “Number of illegals apprehended at the border, 9,000 in 2020 vs 108K in less than 3 months of 2021.” Reuters reported March 16 that the Homeland Security secretary recently said the U.S. was seeing the biggest migrant surge in two decades at the U.S.-Mexico border.

However, the figures in the Facebook post are inaccurate. The calendar year 2020 saw over 547,000 law enforcement encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border, which include apprehensions, inadmissible volumes and expulsions, data from CBP shows. An apprehension is “the physical control or temporary detainment of a person who is not lawfully in the U.S. which may or may not result in an arrest,” according to CBP.

Between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, there were over 67,000 Title 8 apprehensions, CBP data shows. For the fiscal year 2020, which runs from October 2019 to September 2020, there were over 203,000 Title 8 apprehensions, according to CBP.

CBP data shows there have been over 178,000 law enforcement encounters at the southwest border so far in 2021, with 78,442 taking place in January and 100,441 taking place in February. Those encounters included more than 39,000 Title 8 apprehensions. February saw the 10th consecutive month of increased apprehensions at the southern border, Pew Research Center reported.

Some people, including migrant children, are apprehended multiple times at the border, according to Pew Research Center, so the number of encounters may not be equal to the number of individuals apprehended. (RELATED: Did Maxine Waters Say, ‘The Next Supreme Court Justice Should Be An Illegal Immigrant’?)

CBP provided Check Your Fact a transcript of the agency’s monthly update conference call with the media. During the call, a CBP official said the agency was seeing higher than normal rates of recidivism in encounters with illegal migrants, with 100,000 encounters involving only 75,000 unique individuals, according to the transcript.

The House is expected to take action this week on the the American Dream and Promise Act, a bill that aims to give immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as young children a pathway to citizenship, according to ABC News.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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