About the Data – Stopping “Inadmissibles” at U.S. Ports of Entry

Overview. At the nation’s more than 300 ports of entry, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers screen all foreign visitors, returning American citizens and imported cargo that enters the U.S. According to the agency, the OFO “is the largest component in CBP.” This component is not only responsible for border security at all ports of entry – by land, air and sea – but also is required to facilitate “the lawful trade and travel at U.S. ports of entry that is critical to our Nation’s economy.”[1]

The data contained in this TRAC web query tool tracks all persons OFO determines are “inadmissible,” why they are deemed inadmissible, and how OFO officers decide to ultimately handle them. Information on the age, citizenship, gender, and whether they were stopped as part of a family group or as an unaccompanied child, is included. Locational information is also provided identifying which of over twenty OFO field offices was responsible for supervising this process.

These details were compiled from case-by-case records obtained from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University through a long series of individual FOIA requests. The data are released in anonymous form.

Coverage. The data cover all inadmissibles under Title 8. Expulsions under Title 42 which began March 20, 2020, under an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on public health grounds as a result of the COVID pandemic are not covered. TRAC is seeking access to Title 42 records as well so that they may be added to our coverage but these as yet have not been provided.

What Is Counted: Counts are of each inadmissible entry event. These may overstate the number of individuals when the same individual attempts to reenter through the same or a different U.S. port of entry during a given period of time. TRAC has requested that case-by-case records of inadmissibles be organized in a way that allow identifying those involving the same individual, but this information has yet to be provided.

In the records TRAC received, we discovered that port authorities also sometimes only appear to create a single record when at times the data indicated covered more than one individual. Records representing multiple individuals generally recorded the characteristics of a single individual and then was used to apply to that group. Unless there was an explicit indicator indicating that a record applied to a group of individuals, counts represent the number of individual records CBP released to TRAC.

For more recent data covering FY 2021 onward, a separate field was included in the release indicating the number of individuals the record represented. Published CBP statistics[2] appear to have used these count indicators to sum up the agency’s published counts of inadmissibles. TRAC accordingly followed the same procedure in compiling its statistics.2 Most of the time the records corresponding to multiple individuals appeared to relate to the handling of “crews,” including work crews at ports of entry who were not allowed to enter the U.S. but are included as part of OFO’s inadmissible counts. But occasionally these were young children where only a single age and gender was recorded for multiple individuals.

Using the Data Tool: Dimensions and Definitions

Filtering the data using the three data tables. Select a different factor or dimension to display in each of the three tables. The tables are inter-connected so that the data filter from left to right. After selecting a factor to display in the left most table, select a particular row category to drill in on by clicking on that row's label in the left-most table. The middle table will then display the details for that particular selection from the left table on the dimension you had chosen to display for the middle table. In other words, if you click on a category in the left table it displays only cases within that class in the middle table. Click on a category in the middle table to display only cases within that selection in the right table. To help you keep track, your selection is displayed at the top of the table to the right.

Sorting the tabular data displayed. By clicking on the column headings in a table, you can sort the tabular data displayed. Clicking on the table column heading for the name of the dimension, sorts each tabular row in alphabetical order. Clicking a second time, sorts in reverse alphabetical order. Clicking on the column heading "Total" reverses the default sort order of largest to smallest to display from the smallest to the largest value.

Selecting what is displayed in the time series graph. The data in the graph updates to reflect the category in the table you selected when clicking on its row label. The title shown above the graph indicates the selection criteria you have chosen. Mouse-over any bar in the graph to view the value being plotted.

There are also two additional controls you can use to change what the graph displays.

  • Monthly versus FY toggle. By default, the time series graph displays data for each month. To instead display bars for each fiscal year, choose the "by Fiscal Year" option to the left of the graph.

  • Number/percent toggle. By default, the number of cases is displayed in the graph. To instead display the value as a percent of the total for your current selection, choose the "Percent" option to the right of the graph. (Note: 100 percent will be displayed if the total ("All") was the category you have currently selected.)

Data dimensions. To change the set of categories displayed in a table, select a different factor or dimension from the pull-down menu above each table. The following factors can be selected:

  • Fiscal Year. This is the fiscal year when the inadmissible individual attempted to enter at an official port of entry. The federal government's fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. So, for example, FY 2015 will record apprehensions from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.

  • Month and Year. This is the calendar month and year when the individual attempted entry.

  • OFO Field Office. The specific field office that supervises the port of entry. Inadmissibles identified during preclearance operations at foreign airports are shown as their own field office category.

  • Child/Family Group. Identifies which inadmissibles were of unaccompanied children, children in family units, parents in family units, and of all other adults.

  • Inadmissible Entry Category and Inadmissible Entry Detail. Separate dimensions allow the user to examine the general inadmissible entry category or see the details of the inadmissible entry determination. For example, the inadmissible entry category of “False or Fraudulent Claim” groups a series of different types of false or fraudulent claims such as “False Claim with Altered Document,” “False Claim with Counterfeit Document,” and “False Claim with Valid Document.”

  • OFO Disposition Category and OFO Disposition Detail. Two related dimensions are again available, recording the general category versus the details of each inadmissible’s disposition by the Office of Field Operations officer. For example, individuals may be allowed to withdraw their request to enter the U.S. (“Withdrawal”) in lieu of other alternatives they would be subject to. Other inadmissibles are deported directly using “Expedited Removal” and legally barred from entry for a period of years. Still others are “Paroled” into the country. Under immigration laws OFO officers have discretionary authority to allow individuals to temporarily enter the U.S. for humanitarian and other purposes (“Paroled”) when individuals lack visas or other required entry documents. Under disposition details, the particular parole basis is typically provided such as “Filipino World War II Veterans Parole,” the “Cuban Adjustment Act,” Haitian Family Reunification,” or “Ukrainian Humanitarian Parole.”

  • Citizenship. The recorded citizenship of the individual.

  • Gender. The recorded gender of the individual.

  • Age Group. The recorded age of the individual grouped into broader ranges based on the day he or she was stopped at the port of entry.

  • Age (Ungrouped). The individual recorded ages of individuals at the time they were stopped at the port of entry.

Additional TRAC Immigration Enforcement Data and Tools

To access additional data using other TRAC immigration enforcement tools, go to this directory of data tools.


[1] See https://www.cbp.gov/about/leadership-organization/executive-assistant-commissioners-offices.

[2] Available data indicated about nine out of ten records involved a single individual. Although occasionally a single record represented as many as 8 individuals, over three out of four counts over one were of just two individuals. Summing the counts resulted in inadmissible counts that were roughly ten percent higher than the simple count of the number of case-by-case records.