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Border Agents Apprehend Greatest Number of Criminal Noncitizens in Recorded History in Fiscal ’23

Migrants walk on a dirt road after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Mission, Texas. Julio Cortez / AP Photo
Migrants walk on a dirt road after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Mission, Texas. Julio Cortez / AP Photo

By: Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended the greatest number of criminal noncitizens in recorded U.S. history in fiscal 2023.

Noncitizens with criminal records were apprehended in fiscal 2023 primarily by CBP Office of Field Operations agents at ports of entry nationwide, according to the most recent data.

From Oct. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023, OFO agents apprehended 20,166 criminal noncitizens and made 11,509 arrests. Combined, agents apprehended a total of 31,675 criminals during the fiscal year.

By comparison, Border Patrol agents encountered 15,267 criminal noncitizens and arrested 988 criminal noncitizens with outstanding wants or warrants primarily between ports of entry. Combined, Border Patrol agents apprehended a total of 16,255 criminals.

Border Patrol and OFO agents combined arrested 47,522 criminals in fiscal 2023 at and between ports of entry. The number would be higher, officials argue, if Border Patrol agents were in the field patrolling instead of processing millions arriving between ports of entry.

The combined 47,522 OFO and Border Patrol agent arrests of criminals in fiscal 2023 is higher than previous arrests made in each of the past six years, and of overall publicly reported data.

In fiscal 2022, there were a combined 40,359 criminals arrested, followed by 28,213 in fiscal 2021; 18,609 in fiscal 2020; 29,673 in fiscal 2019; 25,800 in fiscal 2018; and 29,458 in fiscal 2017.

Criminal noncitizens were apprehended for a crime they allegedly committed in the U.S. or other countries. Criminal noncitizens encountered at ports of entry are considered “inadmissible,” according to federal law, and only represent “a subset of total OFO inadmissibles,” CBP explains.

U.S. Border Patrol arrests of criminal noncitizens are a subset of total apprehensions included in Border Patrol criminal noncitizen data, which is categorized by conviction type. In fiscal 2023, of the millions of illegal border crossers who came through the northern and southwest borders, only 8,790 criminal noncitizens were arrested by Border Patrol agents for the crime of illegal entry or reentry.

The next largest crime for which noncitizens were arrested was the category of “other,” totaling 3,286; followed by 2,493 arrested for driving under the influence; 2,055 for illegal drug possession/trafficking; and 1,254 for assault, battery and domestic violence, according to criminal data last updated Oct. 21.

The data is compiled in the National Crime Information Center database, which includes arrests made nationwide and shared by multiple law enforcement agencies. CBP has access to the database, which includes U.S. citizens and noncitizens who are wanted by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

These numbers are in addition to illegal foreign nationals arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Enforcement Removal Operations agents.

In fiscal 2022, ICE ERO agents arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories with a combined 198,498 associated charges and convictions. The charges and convictions include 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.

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