Ports of Entry Are Issuing More Notices to Appear Than Ever Before
(11 Oct 2023) In July 2023, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at ports of entry across the United States issued a record number of Notices to Appear—44,900 in total—to immigrants who were found inadmissible under U.S. law. Notices to Appear (NTAs), which put immigrants into removal proceedings within the immigration courts, were rarely used at ports of entry until the Biden administration. According to data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) issued 280,000 NTAs in the first 10 months of FY 2023, a significant increase from 95,000 the previous year and up from about 48,000 five years ago in FY 2018.

The growth of NTAs issued at ports of entry is a phenomenon that appears to be specific to the Biden administration. Roughly the same amount of NTAs were issued at ports of entry during the second Obama administration (2013–2017) and the Trump administration (2017–2021). Compared to the Obama administration, during which OFO issued 2,619 NTAs on average each month, and the Trump administration’s average of 2,914 per month. The OFO under the Biden administration has issued 13,784 NTAs per month on average so far and a total of 413,522 NTAs since February 2021.

The growth in OFO-issued NTAs occurred in three waves during the Biden administration. First, in the summer of 2021, OFO issued as many as 10,000 NTAs a month—a record at the time—but then declined to pre-pandemic numbers at the start of 2022. OFO’s use of NTAs resurged again in the summer of 2022, growing significantly to between 20,000 and 25,000 in late 2022 where it remained until May 2023. Coinciding with the termination of Title 42 in May 2023, the number of NTAs shot up again to a high of 44,900 in July, the month of TRAC’s most recent data. Notably, although the end of Title 42 coincided with the third and largest wave of new NTAs, OFO’s growing use of NTAs preceded the termination of Title 42 by two years.

Ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border make up the vast majority of all NTAs issued nationwide. The San Ysidro and Brownsville ports of entry each make up about one quarter of all OFO-issued NTAs so far in FY 2023. San Ysidro, just south of San Diego, California, one of the busiest land border crossings in the world, issued 71,185 NTAs from October 2022 to July 2023, which accounted for 25.5 percent of all NTAs issued by ports nationwide. The port of entry in Brownsville, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley issued 67,894 NTAs over the same time period, which accounted for 24.3 percent of all NTAs. See the report for a list of ports of entry with at least 100 NTAs issued in FY 2023. Note that ports of entry at international airports may also issue NTAs.

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