Adam Isacson

Defense, security, borders, migration, and human rights in Latin America and the United States. May not reflect my employer’s consensus view.

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Statistics

Haiti Led Nationalities of In-Transit Migration Through Honduras in October

Honduras’s “Irregular” Migrant Encounters (Since August 2022)

October 2023: Haiti 35%, Venezuela 34%, Cuba 17%, Ecuador 4%, Guinea 2.3%, Colombia 2.0%, All Others <2%

Since August 2022: Venezuela 41%, Cuba 17%, Haiti 15%, Ecuador 11%, Colombia 2.1%, All Others <2% 

	Venezuela	Cuba	Haiti	Ecuador	Colombia	China	Senegal	Guinea	Mauritania	Other Countries
22-Aug	10769	6899	836	1583	314	42	118	19	18	2278
22-Sep	11325	5144	863	1685	379	45	135	23	14	2220
22-Oct	14027	5290	1856	5793	723	99	185	30	18	3037
22-Nov	3756	9219	2858	5130	400	186	158	34	38	3857
22-Dec	1923	7225	2518	6557	231	405	87	22	63	4034
23-Jan	1866	2079	5365	4562	296	415	202	72	31	4054
23-Feb	4462	629	4092	5010	449	688	159	97	71	4449
23-Mar	9112	776	2991	2493	624	719	191	90	88	4576
23-Apr	10883	1301	2392	1692	682	985	472	87	87	4350
23-May	11809	2397	1629	2147	654	801	831	277	427	4398
23-Jun	12698	3254	1305	2817	488	1045	390	118	1801	2870
23-Jul	25050	6721	1558	6116	954	980	1398	389	2036	3769
23-Aug	35669	11343	4051	5789	1330	654	1629	1005	1036	3020
23-Sep	42550	19288	14898	4830	2174	570	1066	1762	48	3453
23-Oct	34547	17513	35529	3581	2021	1006	1235	2304	75	4198

Data table

We’ve grown accustomed to Venezuela (blue in this chart) being the number-one nationality of migrants transiting Central America and Mexico to come to the United States. Venezuela has been the number-one country of citizenship of people transiting Honduras during every month since March, and U.S. authorities encountered more migrants from Venezuela than from any other country—including Mexico—at the U.S.-Mexico border in September.

Data from Honduras in October, however, show at least a temporary pause in that trend. Last month, Honduras registered more migrants from Haiti transiting its territory (brown in this chart) than from Venezuela. (A new “Mixed Movements Protection Monitoring” report from UNCHR also notes this trend.)

It was a record month for Honduras’s registries of in-transit migrants from around the world: 102,009 people with “irregular” migratory status registered with the government, a necessary step for a short-term legal status making it possible to board buses to get across the country. Of that number, 35,529 were Haitian and 34,547 were Venezuelan. (271 were recorded as Brazilian and 489 as Chilean; many—probably most—of them were children born to Haitian citizen parents who had been living in those countries.)

Transit of Venezuelan migrants through Honduras fell 19 percent from September to October, from 42,550 to 34,547 people.

A possible reason could be a reaction to the Biden administration’s early October agreement with Venezuela to resume deportation flights to Caracas, news of which may have led some would-be migrants to pause their plans. Aerial deportations are expensive, however, and a charter flight to Venezuela only holds about 100-150 people. It is reasonable to expect Venezuelan migration to recover, as conditions in the country remain dire and as Venezuelans considering migration realize that the probability of aerial deportation is slim.

The sharp increase in Haitian migration appears to owe to a new air route from Haiti to Nicaragua, which does not require that visiting citizens of Haiti obtain a visa in advance (though it charges them a steep fee upon arrival). For more on that, see this good November 6 analysis from the Honduras-based journalism website ContraCorriente.

Venezuela Was the Number-One Nationality of Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border in September

For the first month since August 2019, Mexico is not the number-one nationality of migrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border. Venezuela, for the first time, was number one.

Chart: All CBP (Border Patrol Plus Port of Entry) Migrant Encounters
by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

September 2023: Venezuela 25%, Mexico 20%, Guatemala 13%, Honduras 10%, Ecuador 6%, Colombia 5%, Cuba 4%, El Salvador 3%, All Others <3%
Since October 2020: Mexico 33%, Honduras 11.3%, Guatemala 11.1%, Venezuela 8%, Cuba 6%, Nicaragua 5%, Colombia 4.4%, All Others <4%

Data table

Just-released data show that Border Patrol apprehended 54,833 citizens of Venezuela in the areas between the U.S.-Mexico border’s ports of entry in September, a record for countries other than Mexico, and far more than its apprehensions of 39,773 Mexican citizens in September.

Chart: Border Patrol Apprehensions by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

September 2023: Venezuela 25%, Mexico 18%, Guatemala 15%, Honduras 11%, Ecuador 7%, Colombia 6%, El Salvador 3%, All Others <2% 
Since October 2020: Mexico 33%, Guatemala 12.2%, Honduras 11.7%, Venezuela 7%, Cuba 6%, Nicaragua 5.3%, Colombia 4.8%, El Salvador 4.1%, All Others <4%

Data table

At the ports of entry (official border crossings), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 11,751 more Venezuelan citizens, most of them asylum seekers who had made appointments using the CBP One smartphone app. (In September, of 50,972 people who made it onto U.S. soil at ports of entry, CBP reports that about 43,000—84 percent—had CBP One appointments.) Mexico, with 13,523 citizens encountered, was still the number-one nationality at the ports of entry.

Chart: CBP Port of Entry Migrant Encounters by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

September 2023: Mexico 27%, Venezuela 23%, Cuba 19%, Haiti 9%, Honduras 7%, Russia 3%, Colombia 2%, All Others <2% 
Since October 2020: Mexico 38%, Haiti 15%, Venezuela 10%, Honduras 8.4%, Russia 8.3%, Cuba 4%, All Others <4%

Data Table

Add together the ports of entry and the areas between them, and Venezuela was the number-one nationality in September with 66,584 migrant encounters. Mexico was the number-two nationality, with 53,296. No other nationality came close; Guatemala was in third place with 34,537.

September marked the end of the U.S. government’s 2023 fiscal year. For decades, CBP has reported its migrant encounters by fiscal year, so we now have a “year-end” comparison, at least for Border Patrol apprehensions between the ports of entry. Using this metric—which may include some double-counting, with the same migrant being apprehended two or more times—we find that 2023 was the number-two year ever for Border Patrol migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border. Only 2022 was higher.

Data table

Only 28 percent of migrants apprehended at the Mexico border in fiscal 2023 were citizens of Mexico. Since 2000, 67 percent of migrants apprehended at the border have been Mexican citizens.

(Note: at GitHub, I’ve updated the tool I use to make these and many other migration charts, with data going back to October 2019. I use it all the time, feel free to run a version of your own. It does require you to know how to run a free web server on your computer; I don’t make it public because generating a table with 48 months and 20 countries makes a web server work very hard.)

Sketchy Data Indicate that Migration May Be Leveling Off, or Even Decreasing, at the Border Since September

It’s hard to tell for sure, because reporting is very partial. But it seems like the rapid July-September increase in the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has leveled off, or could even be receding slightly.

That is the murky picture that emerges when gleaning data from Border Patrol sector chiefs’ social media accounts and from the City of El Paso. See for yourself below.

If accurate, this may owe more to Mexico cracking down on in-transit migration than to any important change in migration along the U.S.-bound route. September numbers were steady in Panama and grew sharply in Honduras.

Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector (Texas):

Tucson Sector (Arizona):

El Paso Sector (Texas-New Mexico); all data from El Paso municipal dashboard

  • Week 37 of 2023 (September 11-17): 1,170/day
  • Week 38 of 2023 (September 18-24): 1,637/day
  • Week 39 of 2023 (September 25-October 1): 1,333/day
  • Week 40 of 2023 (October 2-8): 1,162/day
  • Week 41 of 2023 (October 9-15): 909/day

San Diego Sector (California):

Yuma Sector (Arizona-California):

Not reporting on social media:

90,639 People Migrated in Transit Across Honduras in September

Data table listing more than 140 nationalities that have transited Honduras since August 2022

Just over five months ago, we visited what is by far the most-used border crossing from Nicaragua (Trojes-Danlí) and were amazed by the number of people we saw on the move. Now, it’s more than three times as many people.

The source is the Honduran government’s National Migration Institute. Since August 2022, Honduras has waived fees charged to migrants entering its territory, instead requiring all to register and have their information entered in a database. That allows migrants to get a form required to board buses through the country. As a result, Honduras’s numbers do record most people coming through.

Charts: Drug Seizures at the U.S.-Mexico Border

We now have 11 months of data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about how much illicit drugs the agency seized at the U.S.-Mexico border during the 2023 fiscal year so far (from October 2022 to August 2023). That’s enough to compare this year’s drug seizures with previous years’.

With one exception—fentanyl—the data show a drop or stagnation in the amount of drugs being detected crossing the border.

Drugs manufactured from plants are turning up less often. A few years ago, Americans addicted to prescription opioids were turning to heroin made in Mexico (from the poppy plant), and heroin seizures were way up. That is no longer true: fentanyl competes with heroin, and it’s cheaper and easier to make. Heroin seizures have fallen sharply.

Data table

As is the case with all drugs except marijuana, 90 percent of this year’s border heroin seizures have taken place at ports of entry (official border crossings), where CBP’s Office of Field Operations operates—not the areas in between the ports where Border Patrol operates. 60 percent of all border-wide heroin seizures happened at California ports of entry (CBP’s San Diego Field Office).

Cocaine seizures are flat, despite evidence of increased production in the Andes (from the coca plant). 81 percent has been seized at ports of entry this year. 47 percent of all border-wide heroin seizures happened at California ports of entry (CBP’s San Diego Field Office), and another 23 percent at south Texas ports of entry (Laredo Field Office).

Data table

Marijuana seizures have been declining for a while. With so many U.S. states now allowing some form of legal, regulated sale of cannabis, there’s far less reason to take the risk of importing it from Mexico.

Data table

Marijuana is the only drug that mostly gets seized between the ports of entry. Only 25 percent was seized at ports of entry in fiscal 2023. Most marijuana gets seized in Texas (in 2023 so far, Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector 31 percent, Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector 22 percent, CBP’s Laredo Field Office 19 percent, and Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector 12 percent).

I haven’t done the research to understand why, but seizures of a major synthetic (not plant-based) drug, methamphetamine, have also fallen. 88 percent of meth got seized at ports of entry this year. Of all border-wide 2023 seizures, 63 percent happened at California ports of entry (CBP’s San Diego Field Office).

Data table

The one drug that’s being seized in far greater amounts is fentanyl. CBP seized 106 percent more of the highly potent, highly compact synthetic opioid in the first 11 months of fiscal 2023 than it did in the same period of fiscal 2022. (That’s measured in the weight of pills or other form of seized doses, not the weight of pure fentanyl.)

Data table

89 percent of fentanyl seizures took place at ports of entry during the first 11 months of fiscal 2023. The ports in California (San Diego, blue) and Arizona (Tucson, green) have accounted for 87 percent of all 2023 fentanyl seizures border-wide.

Data table

Asylum Requests in Mexico by Nationality

Using data released today from the Mexican government’s Refugee Aid Commission (COMAR), here is the breakdown of asylum requests before Mexico’s system during what is certain to be a record-breaking year. Asylum requests in Mexico are on track to exceed 150,000 in 2023.

Chart: Asylum Requests in Mexico by Nationality

2023: Haiti 33%, Honduras 27%, Cuba 11%, El Salvador 4.5%, Venezuela 4.2%, Guatemala 4.1%, All others <4%
Since 2013: Honduras 32%, Haiti 22%, Cuba 10%, El Salvador 8.95%, Venezuela 8.93%, All others <5%

	Honduras	Haiti	Cuba	El Salvador	Venezuela	Guatemala	Nicaragua	Brazil**	Chile**	Other Countries
2013	530	14	98	309	1	47	20			277
2014	1035	25	96	626	56	108	28			163
2015	1560	16	37	1476	57	102	28	2		145
2016	4129	47	43	3494	361	437	70	2		213
2017	4274	436	796	3708	4038	676	62	4	1	624
2018	13679	76	214	6193	6331	1347	1271			524
2019	30082	5530	8679	9039	7621	3772	2233	554		2841
2020	15364	5909	5712	4011	3241	3002	803	368	806	1698
2021	36079	50944	8249	5945	6125	4118	2894	3795	6891	4740
2022	31005	17074	18076	7782	14886	5259	8975	2569		12596
2023	31055	37736	12777	5033	4784	4646		3531	3183	10215

Data table

Last month, Mexico received 11,984 asylum requests, the second-lowest monthly total all year. 33 percent came from citizens of Haiti, plus another 6 percent from Brazil and Chile who are almost entirely the children born in those countries to Haitian migrants there. Honduras followed with 27 percent of September’s total, then Cuba (11 percent).

Venezuelan Citizens Set Record for Non-Mexican Migration at the U.S.-Mexico border

CBS News reported new information about Venezuelan migration at the U.S.-Mexico border in September, from preliminary U.S. government data:

Approximately 50,000 migrants from crisis-stricken Venezuela crossed the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully last month, a record and once-unthinkable number, according to preliminary Department of Homeland Security statistics obtained by CBS News.

According to my records (U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s public monthly reporting by citizenship is spotty before the mid-2010s), 50,000 Venezuelan citizens is the greatest-ever number of migrants in a single month at the U.S.-Mexico border from any country other than Mexico. For non-Mexican migrants, the closest numbers I see in the past are 45,201 citizens of Guatemala in May 2019, and 45,297 citizens of Honduras in July 2021.

Charted out, that September number would look like this. The blue part, which more than doubled from August to September, is Venezuelan migrants who crossed the border between ports of entry, ending up in Border Patrol custody. We still don’t know the additional green part for September, which shows migrants who came to ports of entry, usually with “CBP One” appointments (9,373 Venezuelan citizens in August).

Chart: Citizens of Venezuela: CBP Encounters At and Between Ports of Entry

Using numbers in the linked data table, shows monthly Venezuelan migrants since October 2019 as columns. Venezuelan migrants are a few hundred per month at most until February and March 2021, then rise above 30,000 in 3 months between September 2022 and May 2023. They rise above 30,000 in August, then reach the estimated 50,000 in September—without including those who come to ports of entry, which hasn't been reported yet.

Data table without the September estimate added

Heavy U.S.-bound movement of Venezuelan citizens continues through the Darién Gap, Central America, and Mexico. If arrivals continue at this pace, calls to “do something” about the situation causing so many Venezuelans to migrate will proliferate. Within a few months, Venezuela could be right up there—after perhaps Ukraine and the South China Sea—among the Biden administration’s top foreign policy priorities going into an election year.

Lawless Lands: Where Colombia’s Justice System Has Not Arrived

Colombia’s judicial system has 9.65 judges per 100,000 inhabitants of the country. In the 170 barely governed municipalities hardest-hit by the country’s armed conflict, which the 2016 peace accord selected for investment in “Territorially Focused Development Programs” (PDET), the number falls to 7.70 judges per 100,000 inhabitants.

That’s one of hundreds of findings of a thorough September 25 report on fulfillment of the 2016 FARC peace accord’s commitments, published by the Peace Committee of Colombia’s Congress together with the Bogotá-based Ideas for Peace Foundation. The report paints a mixed but often disappointing picture of accord compliance overall.

It notes that 9.65 judges (or fewer) is really bad: “in the other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries, the average is 65 judges per 100,000 inhabitants.”

In some of the PDET zones, the lack of judicial presence is especially dire.

Sur de Córdoba 3.18 - Número de jueces: 9

Catatumbo 3.61 - Número de jueces: 7

Alto Patía y Norte del Cauca 4.32 - Número de jueces: 36
Southern Córdoba, left, is where soldiers, apparently posing as FARC dissidents, were caught on video last month threatening a town’s inhabitants. Catatumbo, center, is Colombia’s number-one coca-growing region. Northern Cauca, right, is notorious for human rights defender killings and has seen very frequent recent combat incidents. The absence of the justice system has consequences.

Under those circumstances, who settles disputes for people, enforces rules, and imposes sanctions when those rules are broken? Sometimes, the answer is “nobody,” but more often, the answer is “armed and criminal groups.”

Mexico’s Asylum Applications Are on a Record-Breaking Pace

The director of the Mexican government’s Refugee Aid Commission (COMAR) just shared on ex-Twitter that 112,960 people sought asylum in Mexico’s protection system during the first 9 months of 2023.

The tweet reads, “At the end of September, COMAR had registered 112,960 applicants for refugee status in Mexico. This figure exceeds by 26.39% the historical mark for the same period established in 2021. With this trend, the number of applicants will exceed 150,000 by the end of the year.”

Here’s how Mexico’s asylum applications during the first nine months of 2023 compare with the first nine months of the previous five years. It’s not even close.

Humanitarian Parole Recipients By Nationality

Data table

While not 100 percent exact—the Department of Homeland Security isn’t sharing exact numbers—this chart gives a pretty accurate sense of which nationalities’ citizens have benefited from the two-year Humanitarian Parole program that the Biden administration has set up for citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. To qualify for the paroled status in the United States, citizens of those countries must apply online from outside U.S. territory, have a passport, have a U.S.-based sponsor, and undergo a background check.

Haitians have taken fullest advantage of the program since the Biden administration created it for Venezuelan citizens in October 2022, and expanded it to the other three countries in January 2023. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported on September 22:

Through the end of August 2023, over 211,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans had arrived lawfully under the parole processes. This number includes more than 45,000 Cubans, more than 71,000 Haitians, more than 32,000 Nicaraguans, and more than 61,000 Venezuelans who have arrived in the U.S. More than 47,000 Cubans, more than 84,000 Haitians, more than 39,000 Nicaraguans, and more than 68,000 Venezuelans have been vetted and authorized for travel.

1 in 300 Hondurans, in a Month

For about every 300 Honduran citizens living in Honduras, 1 was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in August 2023 alone. That’s 35,173 people out of a population of 10.6 million.

Chart: Citizens of Honduras: CBP Encounters At and Between Ports of Entry

	Between the Ports of Entry (Border Patrol)	At the Ports of Entry (CBP Office of Field Operations)
19-Oct	5449	270
19-Nov	4479	295
19-Dec	4202	180
20-Jan	2567	211
20-Feb	2802	175
20-Mar	3226	124
20-Apr	1872	19
20-May	1712	34
20-Jun	2101	46
20-Jul	2880	25
20-Aug	3983	45
20-Sep	4818	28
20-Oct	7330	40
20-Nov	8146	53
20-Dec	10296	62
21-Jan	11162	70
21-Feb	20102	78
21-Mar	41989	127
21-Apr	37738	467
21-May	30624	1507
21-Jun	32620	2413
21-Jul	42594	2703
21-Aug	39532	2593
21-Sep	26798	280
21-Oct	21779	82
21-Nov	19917	188
21-Dec	17856	285
22-Jan	11726	285
22-Feb	13689	386
22-Mar	15709	504
22-Apr	14261	1473
22-May	17999	1731
22-Jun	22712	1465
22-Jul	18123	2217
22-Aug	13218	3001
22-Sep	12197	2220
22-Oct	10658	3445
22-Nov	10160	2990
22-Dec	10329	2947
23-Jan	8982	2048
23-Feb	10098	837
23-Mar	11524	1831
23-Apr	12112	1106
23-May	17813	3226
23-Jun	10660	4434
23-Jul	23091	2934
23-Aug	31747	3426

Data table

Even more citizens from Guatemala arrived at the border in August (37,937), but Guatemala’s population is larger (18.1 million). That is 1 of every 477 Guatemalan citizens living in Guatemala.

Citizens of Guatemala: CBP Encounters At and Between Ports of Entry

	Between the Ports of Entry (Border Patrol)	At the Ports of Entry (CBP Office of Field Operations)
19-Oct	5788	121
19-Nov	6129	111
19-Dec	6396	94
20-Jan	4487	93
20-Feb	4802	83
20-Mar	4269	60
20-Apr	1340	17
20-May	702	22
20-Jun	997	67
20-Jul	2349	69
20-Aug	4106	40
20-Sep	5878	34
20-Oct	9225	67
20-Nov	10279	44
20-Dec	12394	60
21-Jan	13082	55
21-Feb	19029	125
21-Mar	33921	139
21-Apr	29782	271
21-May	25846	606
21-Jun	29423	823
21-Jul	35674	794
21-Aug	36216	892
21-Sep	24162	126
21-Oct	19301	73
21-Nov	20379	90
21-Dec	20908	101
22-Jan	13746	110
22-Feb	18081	134
22-Mar	21245	147
22-Apr	19453	457
22-May	21076	392
22-Jun	24219	429
22-Jul	19810	402
22-Aug	15092	589
22-Sep	14910	421
22-Oct	14254	593
22-Nov	13970	545
22-Dec	14247	639
23-Jan	11531	439
23-Feb	14016	204
23-Mar	14884	409
23-Apr	14310	273
23-May	14152	667
23-Jun	9548	814
23-Jul	21491	637
23-Aug	37204	733

Data table

Nationalities of Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border, June Through August

Here are some more graphics made using data that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released late Friday. WOLA’s whole collection of border infographics is at our Border Oversight website.

The tables in the graphic below show the nationalities of migrants who ended up in Border Patrol custody, after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry, between June and August 2023. As the tiny numbers on the right edge show, several nationalities experienced triple-digit percentage increases from June to August (that is, they more than doubled).

All Border Patrol Migrant Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Includes only those encountered between ports of entry.

June 2023
Mexico 33,960
Venezuela 12,549
Other 11,485
Honduras 10,660
Guatemala 9,548
Ecuador 4,706
Colombia 3,916
India 2,513
Peru 2,478
Brazil 2,225
China 2,122
El Salvador 2,041
Turkey 493
Cuba 351
Russia 186
Nicaragua 179

July 2023
Mexico 36,002
Honduras 23,091
Guatemala 21,491
Venezuela 11,432
Other 10,930
Ecuador 9,580
Colombia 5,193
China 3,076
El Salvador 3,062
India 2,696
Peru 2,355
Brazil 2,150
Cuba 632
Turkey 465
Nicaragua 272
Russia 104

August 2023
Mexico 39,512
Guatemala 37,204
Honduras 31,747
Venezuela 22,090
Ecuador 13,238
Other 11,572
Colombia 8,036
El Salvador 5,063
Peru 3,042
Brazil 2,692
India 2,567
China 2,361
Cuba 756
Nicaragua 604
Turkey 400
Russia 85

Data table

The tables in the next graphic show the nationalities of migrants who were able to present themselves at U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry between June and August 2023. Most of them—87 percent in June—made appointments using the “CBP One” smartphone app.

Notable here: Haiti is third in August, as 8,687 of its citizens came to ports of entry, but Haiti does not even appear on the Border Patrol graphic above because zero Haitian citizens crossed between the ports of entry in August.

All Port of Entry Migrant Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Includes only those encountered at ports of entry.


June 2023
Mexico 15,308
Venezuela 7,907
Haiti 7,331
Honduras 4,434
Cuba 2,330
Other 2,145
Russia 1,242
El Salvador 1,143
Guatemala 814
Colombia 790
Brazil 737
Ecuador 399
Nicaragua 238
Peru 145
China 25
Ukraine 15
India 9
Turkey 8

July 2023
Mexico 17,929
Haiti 10,669
Venezuela 7,532
Other 3,065
Cuba 3,037
Honduras 2,934
Russia 1,736
Brazil 963
El Salvador 891
Colombia 758
Guatemala 637
Ecuador 331
Nicaragua 173
Peru 118
China 29
Ukraine 15
Turkey 8
India 7

August 2023
Mexico 15,990
Venezuela 9,373
Haiti 8,687
Cuba 5,425
Honduras 3,426
Other 2,882
Russia 2,012
El Salvador 1,017
Colombia 908
Brazil 771
Guatemala 733
Ecuador 392
Nicaragua 133
Peru 104
China 18
Ukraine 15
Turkey 7
India 7

Data table

Finally, this graphic combines the above two tables. Here is all nationalities at the border from June through August, regardless of how CBP encountered them.

All CBP Migrant Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Includes those encountered at, and between, ports of entry.


June 2023
Mexico 49,268
Venezuela 20,456
Honduras 15,094
Other 13,630
Guatemala 10,362
Haiti 7,360
Ecuador 5,105
Colombia 4,706
El Salvador 3,184
Brazil 2,962
Cuba 2,681
Peru 2,623
India 2,522
China 2,147
Russia 1,428
Turkey 501
Nicaragua 417

July 2023
Mexico 53,931
Honduras 26,025
Guatemala 22,128
Venezuela 18,964
Other 13,995
Haiti 10,684
Ecuador 9,911
Colombia 5,951
El Salvador 3,953
Cuba 3,669
Brazil 3,113
China 3,105
India 2,703
Peru 2,473
Russia 1,840
Turkey 473
Nicaragua 445

August 2023
Mexico 55,502
Guatemala 37,937
Honduras 35,173
Venezuela 31,463
Other 14,454
Ecuador 13,630
Colombia 8,944
Haiti 8,687
Cuba 6,181
El Salvador 6,080
Brazil 3,463
Peru 3,146
India 2,574
China 2,379
Russia 2,097
Nicaragua 737
Turkey 407

Data table

Charts: U.S.-Mexico Border Migrant Encounters Since October 2020

With U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) releasing new data last night, we now know what migration at the U.S.-Mexico border looked like through August.

The most notable thing about these charts is the rapid increase in migrant arrivals from June to August, in the areas between ports of entry (official border crossings) where Border Patrol operates. We know that the increase is continuing in September.

June was the first full month after May 11, 2023, when the Title 42 pandemic expulsions policy ended. At that moment, many migrants and smugglers refrained from crossing between ports of entry because it wasn’t clear what would happen next, and migration plummeted to levels not seen since February 2021.

As they grew frustrated with clogged “legal pathways” like the CBP One smartphone app, and as they got better information about the likelihood of being able to pursue asylum claims within the United States despite the Biden administration’s harsh new asylum rule, more have been crossing between the official ports of entry and turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents.

This chart shows, by country, who has been ending up in Border Patrol custody after crossing between ports of entry.

Border Patrol Apprehensions by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

August 2023: Mexico 22%, Guatemala 21%, Honduras 18%, Venezuela 12%, Ecuador 7%, Colombia 4%, El Salvador 3%, Peru 2%, All Others <2% 

Since October 2020: Mexico 33%, Guatemala 12.1%, Honduras 11.7%, Venezuela 6.7%, Cuba 6.6%, Nicaragua 5.4%, Colombia 4.8%, El Salvador 4.1%, All Others <4%

Data table

This chart shows, by country, who was able to present themselves at a U.S.-Mexico border port of entry. Of the 51,913 people shown here in August, 87 percent (45,400) had made appointments using CBP One, according to CBP.

Chart: CBP Port of Entry Migrant Encounters by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

August 2023: Mexico 31%, Venezuela 18%, Haiti 17%, Cuba 10%, Honduras 7%, Russia 4%, El Salvador 2%, All Others <2% 

Since October 2020: Mexico 39%, Haiti 15%, Venezuela 8.8%, Russia 8.7%, Honduras 8.5%, Ukraine 4%, All Others <3%

Data table

The following charts combine people at and between ports of entry (CBP plus Border Patrol). Here are migrants arriving as members of family units (parents plus children). Border Patrol encountered more migrants arriving as families in August 2023 (93,108) than in any month in history. The second-place month (84,486) was May 2019, when Donald Trump was president.

Chart: Family Unit Member / Accompanied Minor CBP (Border Patrol Plus Port of Entry)
Migrant Encounters by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

August 2023: Guatemala 23%, Honduras 22%, Mexico 18%, Venezuela 13%, Ecuador 6%, Colombia 4%, All Others <4%

Since October 2020: Honduras 18%, Mexico 12%, Guatemala 10.5%, Venezuela 9.7%, Colombia 8%, Ecuador 6.1%, All Others <6%

Data table

This chart, combining people at and between ports of entry, shows the countries of origin of migrants arriving as unaccompanied minors. August was the number-12 month ever for Border Patrol apprehensions of unaccompanied migrant children: 13,549 last month.

Chart: Unaccompanied Child CBP (Border Patrol Plus Port of Entry) Migrant Encounters
by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

August 2023: Guatemala 38%, Honduras 28%, Mexico 18%, El Salvador 6%, Venezuela 3.2%, Ecuador 3.1%, All Others <1%

Since October 2020: Guatemala 39%, Honduras 26%, Mexico 19%, El Salvador 10%, Ecuador 1.9%, Nicaragua 1.6%, All Others <1%

Data table

And here are single adult migrants. It was an unremarkable month for single adults (28th place for Border Patrol apprehensions, 74,402, since October 2011, which is the first month for which I have Border Patrol breakdowns by demographic group.)

Chart: Single Adult CBP (Border Patrol Plus Port of Entry) Migrant Encounters by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

August 2023: Mexico 31%, Venezuela 16%, Guatemala 5.82%, Honduras 5.76%, Ecuador 5.75%, Haiti 5.0% All Others <5%

Since October 2020: Mexico 47%, Guatemala 8%, Honduras 7.3%, Cuba 6.8%, Venezuela 6%, Nicaragua 5%, All Others <4%

Data table

Finally, this chart combines all migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border: those at and between ports of entry, single adults, families, and children.

All CBP (Border Patrol Plus Port of Entry) Migrant Encounters by Country at the U.S.-Mexico Border

August 2023: Mexico 24%, Guatemala 16%, Honduras 15%, Venezuela 14%, Ecuador 6%, Colombia 3.8%, Haiti 3.7%, Cuba 2.7%, El Salvador 2.6%, All Others <2%

Since October 2020: Mexico 34%, Honduras 11.4%, Guatemala 11.1%, Venezuela 7%, Cuba 6%, Nicaragua 5%, Colombia 4.4%, El Salvador 4.0%, All Others <4%

Data table

I’m still updating our collection of charts to reflect CBP’s new data dump. But what’s done is at WOLA’s Border Oversight page and downloadable as an 8-megabyte PDF file.

93,108 Migrants Arriving as Family Units Entered Border Patrol Custody in August

Chart: Unaccompanied Children and Families Encountered at the U.S. Border (Border Patrol)

106,657 child and family migrant encounters in August

				12-Jan						12-Jul						13-Jan						13-Jul						14-Jan						14-Jul						15-Jan						15-Jul						16-Jan						16-Jul						17-Jan						17-Jul						18-Jan						18-Jul						19-Jan						19-Jul						20-Jan						20-Jul						21-Jan						21-Jul						22-Jan						22-Jul						23-Jan						23-Jul	
Unaccompanied Children	1465	1446	1259	1635	2077	2755	2703	2541	2071	2118	2289	2044	2333	2392	2218	2260	2986	4120	4206	3985	3384	3607	3718	3550	4181	4344	4327	3706	4845	7176	7701	10578	10620	5499	3138	2426	2519	2610	2858	2118	2385	3126	3273	2943	3833	4182	4638	4485	4943	5604	6757	3089	3092	4209	5162	5594	4750	5026	5767	5699	6704	7346	7187	4405	1910	1041	997	1473	1949	2475	2987	2961	3153	3973	4063	3202	3115	4141	4287	6388	5115	3938	4393	4360	4964	5257	4753	5105	6817	8956	8880	11475	7372	5554	3722	3165	2841	3308	3223	2680	3070	2974	712	966	1603	2426	2998	3756	4687	4475	4852	5688	9263	18716	16900	13878	15022	18681	18492	14180	12625	13745	11704	8607	11779	13892	11857	14420	14929	13003	10993	11539	11654	12780	11829	9034	10418	11853	11062	9443	6736	10041	13549
Family Unit Members	896	848	732	1026	936	1227	1208	925	791	898	918	711	799	776	746	847	923	1310	1384	1315	1250	1651	1907	1947	2414	2786	3311	2286	3281	5752	6511	12772	16330	7405	3296	2301	2162	2415	2891	1622	2041	2782	3087	3861	4042	4503	5159	5273	6025	6471	8973	3143	3050	4451	5620	6783	6627	7569	9353	9609	13115	15588	16139	9300	3123	1126	1118	1580	2322	3389	4631	4191	4836	7016	8119	5654	5475	8873	9648	9485	9449	9258	12760	16658	23116	25164	27507	24188	36530	53204	58713	84486	57358	42543	25049	15824	9721	9006	8595	5161	4610	3455	716	979	1581	1989	2609	3808	4634	4172	4248	7066	19289	53411	48297	40816	50106	76572	79899	62577	41556	43279	49437	30419	25165	34052	37082	51166	44071	42851	39305	44579	46749	49827	60844	25829	25643	33269	46555	45028	31266	60160	93108

Data table

Late on September 22, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released data about migration at the U.S.-Mexico border during August 2023.

August was the number-one month ever for Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants traveling as members of families. “Family Unit” apprehensions totaled 93,108 last month.

August was the number-12 month ever for Border Patrol apprehensions of unaccompanied migrant children: 13,549 last month.

Add those numbers, and Border Patrol apprehended 106,657 child and family migrants in August 2023, a record.

August was the number-28 month since October 2011 for Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants traveling as single adults: 74,402 last month. Single adult numbers have been dropping since the end of the Title 42 pandemic expulsions policy, which ironically made repeat crossings easier because of less time in custody.

142,000 Migrant Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico Border During the First 17 Days of September

During his marathon morning press conference today, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador shared Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) preliminary U.S.-Mexico Border migration statistics for the first 17 days of September. He showed this slide about 2 hours and 11 minutes into a video embedded on the Presidency’s page.

Screenshot of table grabbed from the video feed

The graphic shows a total of 142,000 migrant encounters over those 17 days. It combines migrants who have entered Border Patrol custody plus those who came to official land-border ports of entry, but doesn’t distinguish between them.

In all of July, the last full month that CBP has reported, this number was 183,503.

If September’s pace continues for all 30 days, by the end of the month CBP would report 250,654 migrant encounters. Only December 2022 (252,325) has exceeded that number.

The most Venezuelan migrants in a single month was 33,804 in September 2022. September 2023, with 25,577 people in 17 days, may exceed that.

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