Border Deaths Skyrocket Under Biden

In 2021, the first year of President Biden’s administration, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a branch of Homeland Security, saw a significant increase in fatalities connected to arrests.

From 2016 through 2020, the agency recorded an average of less than 13 fatalities a year involving arrests. However, in fiscal year 2021, that figure skyrocketed to 48. Nearly half of the 105 deaths that were documented by federal law enforcement that year were attributed to arrests. After leading the list for most fatalities, the U.S. Marshals Service fell to second place with 39. That year, no other agency had more than ten fatalities.

The fatalities include examples of agents using force, migrants falling from the border wall, migrants hit by cars while running from agents, and migrants who were already sick and died after agents arrived.

The most recent data on fatalities resulting from federal arrests is from 2021, but the Bureau of Justice Statistics has published this information as far back as 2016. From a low of four fatalities in 2018 to twenty-five in 2019, migrant fatalities surged under President Trump, and the yearly figures recorded by CBP seemed alarming. However, that record was almost doubled in 2021 under the Biden administration.

In fiscal year 2021, the agency documented interactions with approximately 2 million unlawful migrants, which is three times more than the pace in 2020, when the number was less than 650,000. CBP also apprehends U.S. citizens for various violations, including smuggling.

The numbers improve when seen as a ratio of arrests to fatalities per encounter. The number of deaths involving arrests decreased to 2.82 per 100,000 interactions in 2021 from 4.15 in 2020. But the fact is, there are more deaths at the border than ever before.

As CBP continues to reach record highs for illegal immigration, fiscal years 2022 and 2023, for which the Bureau of Justice Statistics has not yet provided statistics, are expected to be much deadlier.