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  4. Fact Sheet: DHS Continues to Strengthen Border Security, Reduce Irregular Migration, and Mobilize International Partnerships

Fact Sheet: DHS Continues to Strengthen Border Security, Reduce Irregular Migration, and Mobilize International Partnerships

Release Date: June 4, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration took decisive new action to strengthen border security, announcing a series of measures that limit eligibility for asylum and significantly increase the consequences for those who enter across the southern border.

Today’s announcement builds on a sustained effort by the Administration to exercise its full authorities to enforce the law and impose consequences for irregular migration, including entering the United States unlawfully. Despite global and hemispheric challenges, this Administration’s unprecedented steps to leverage existing resources across DHS and in coordination with our federal and international partners have made a meaningful impact. Despite these efforts, we continue to operate within the confines of a broken immigration system and constrained by limited resources from Congress. Even as we have surged technology, personnel, logistics, and international cooperation to enhance our border security, more is needed.

Strengthening and Expanding Enforcement of Consequences:

DHS has taken unprecedented actions to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws and deter irregular migration, including referring record numbers of individuals into expedited removal. Over the past year, we have removed or returned more than three quarters of a million people, more than in any fiscal year since 2010:

  • Throughout the last three years, this Administration has carried out a whole-of-government response to irregular migration, increasing the number of Agents and Officers on the southwest border to over 24,000, adding thousands of additional support personnel, surging thousands of law enforcement and other personnel from across the Department, and securing the first significant increase of Border Patrol agents in more than a decade.
  • DHS has also bolstered the technology along the border, including the deployment of autonomous surveillance towers and continuing to deploy new non-intrusive inspections systems at ports of entry (POEs) to better detect narcotics and other contraband.
  • DHS has made significant infrastructure and process improvements aimed at enhancing our ability to deploy consequences for unlawful entries at the border. These efforts include increasing border holding capacity by over a third since early 2021 through the construction of new facilities, modernizing processing systems, contracting support for transportation between sectors, and establishing processes to ensure that removals are accomplished fairly, efficiently, and quickly. As a result, we removed more people in the last year—more than 740,000—than any previous year since 2010.
  • In May 2023, DHS and DOJ implemented the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule to discourage irregular migration and incentivize the use of lawful pathways by placing a commonsense condition on asylum ineligibility for certain noncitizens who fail to pursue the safe, orderly, and lawful processes for entry into the United States, or seek protection in another country through which they traveled.
  • DHS has significantly expanded its capacity to conduct credible fear interviews needed to ultimately remove those processed for expedited removal without a legal basis to stay and provide protection to legitimate asylum seekers. Since May 12, 2023, DHS has conducted more than 152,000 credible fear interviews.
  • USCIS issued revised guidance to Asylum Officers to consider whether an asylum seeker could reasonably relocate to another part of the country of feared persecution when assessing claims of future persecution in all credible fear cases. Internal relocation has always been a part of an analysis of future claims of harm, and this new guidance, consistent with the CLP rule, will ensure early identification and removal of individuals who would ultimately be found ineligible for protection because of their ability to remain safe by relocating elsewhere in the country from which they fled.
  • DHS proposed a new rule that would allow statutory bars to asylum to be applied much earlier in the process, specifically those who have been convicted of a particularly serious crime, participated in the persecution of others, are inadmissible on national security or terrorism-related grounds, or for whom there are reasonable grounds to deem them a danger to the security of the United States.
    • DHS also updated its policy and procedures clarifying the circumstances in which classified information should be used immigration proceedings.
  • DHS and DOJ announced a new Recent Arrivals (RA) Docket to more expeditiously resolve immigration cases of certain noncitizen single adults who cross irregularly between ports of entry at the Southwest border.
  • The Department of Justice continues to prioritize prosecutions involving smugglers, up 27 percent since 2020, and is increasing penalties for the most prolific and dangerous human smugglers. The Departments of State and Justice have just launched an “Anti-Smuggling Rewards” Initiative to offer financial rewards for information leading to the identification, location, arrest, or conviction of high-priority human smuggling targets. And finally, DOJ and DHS are partnering to direct additional prosecutors and support staff to assist with federal immigration-related prosecutions in crucial border U.S. Attorney offices.
  • DHS has worked with federal and international partners to execute the largest surge of removals, increasing agreements that enabled DHS to repatriate individuals to over 170 countries in Fiscal Year 2023. In fact, ICE increased its pace of removals and returns in the months following the Title 42 public health order’s expiration in May 2023, nearly doubling the number of removals between FY 2022 and FY 2023.

Mobilizing International Partnerships and Bolstering Cooperation:

This Administration continues to work with international partners throughout the hemisphere to stem extracontinental migration through increased use of transit visas and passenger vetting. We have also expanded the use of enforcement measures against entities and individuals that profit from irregular migration, including sanctions on transportation companies that facilitate irregular migration. This Administration has also mobilized actions from partner nations to expand lawful pathways, address the root causes of irregular migration, and reduce the flows of migrants through the Darién and Central America and Mexico.

  • Coordinated with the Government of Mexico on continued enforcement efforts, to include their independent decision to accept certain non-Mexicans being returned or removed to Mexico from the United States, as well as enhanced efforts to disrupt human smuggling, trafficking, and criminal networks, and continuing to promote lawful pathways to address irregular migration. Engagements since December 2023 have resulted in increased enforcement efforts from the Government of Mexico and a significant drop in encounters.
  • Continued coordination through the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection alongside 22 countries across the hemisphere, including the recent two-year anniversary ministerial in Guatemala to reaffirm our shared responsibility to reduce and manage irregular migration. DHS also signed additional agreements with partner countries to strengthen information sharing so that we can detect public safety or national security threats long before they get to our border.
  • Negotiated commitments from countries across the world to conduct additional removal flights, with the number of flights doubling or tripling for some countries. Every week DHS conducts dozens of removal flights across the Western Hemisphere and around the world.
  • Partnered with the Department of State and partner countries to impose transit visa requirements for certain nationalities and sanction charter airlines that knowingly bring migrants to the Western hemisphere who ultimately arrive at the southwest border. These companies prey on vulnerable irregular migrants by operating services designed primarily to facilitate irregular migration to the United States.
  • Imposed visa restrictions on more than 250 members of the Nicaraguan government and other sanctions on 3 Nicaraguan entities in retaliation for repressive actions and a failure to stem migrant smuggling through Nicaragua.
  • DHS has led the largest crack down on transnational criminal organizations in the last decade. Our frontline personnel and law enforcement partners, including in allied nations, have carried out the disruption of thousands of human smuggling operations, such as raiding smuggler stash houses, impounding tractor trailers that are used to smuggle migrants, and confiscating smugglers’ information technology.
  • Through collaborations like Joint Task Force Alpha and targeted operations such as Operation Plaza Spike and other unprecedented and high-impact efforts, we have worked with Mexico and partners in Central America and across the hemisphere, to disrupt and dismantle smuggling organizations at every level. More than 18,000 smugglers throughout the region have been arrested and thousands here in the United States have been prosecuted under federal law.

Expanded Lawful Pathways and Processes:

This Administration’s efforts have kept more than a million migrants from being exploited at the hands of smugglers through expanded lawful pathways and processes. Through our continued efforts, DHS has:

  • Partnered with the Department of State to establish Safe Mobility Offices throughout the region to expand access to lawful pathways such as the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and others, in the United States and partner countries such as Canada and Spain, so that people do not need to take the dangerous journey to the southwest border. More than 10,000 refugees have arrived in the United States through this initiative thus far.
  • Established country-specific parole processes for certain nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV). Through the end of April 2024, nearly 435,000 CHNV nationals with a U.S.-based supporter have been screened, vetted, and received advanced travel authorization to arrive lawfully to the United States.
  • Worked with our interagency partners and private sector to expand access to H-2 nonimmigrant visa programs and issue nearly 450,000 H-2 visas, the highest ever, to ensure individuals seeking economic opportunities are able to seek these visas instead of taking an irregular journey to U.S. borders while at the same time addressing labor shortages facing U.S. businesses.
  • Expanded capacity at ports of entry by more than 4x by utilizing the CBP One mobile application to allow noncitizens to schedule an appointment to present for inspection. Since January 2023 through the end of April 2024, more than 591,000 individuals have successfully scheduled appointments to present at ports of entry using CBP One instead of risking their lives by crossing illegally in the hands of smugglers.
  • Implemented new family reunification parole processes, which has allowed for thousands of nationals of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ecuador whose family members are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and who are the beneficiaries of an approved family-based petition, to travel to the United States. That was in addition to updating and modernizing the Cuban and Haitian family reunification parole (FRP) processes, making it possible for petitioners to complete most of the process on a secure online platform, eliminating the burden of travel, time, and paperwork and increasing access to participation.

Workforce Support and System Modernization

Through an all-of-DHS strategy, planning, and execution we leveraged support from across the Department and interagency partners for southwest border management.

  • Secured the first increase in Border Patrol staffing in over a decade with 300 additional Agents added in Fiscal Year 2023, and funding in Fiscal Year 2024 that would raise that to as many as 2000 total new agents.
  • Bolstered the CBP workforce and deployed hundreds of personnel, support contractors, health providers, and wrap around services at 11 soft-sided facilities. This includes hiring over 2,000 non-uniform and contract personnel in the past two years to return agents to front line duties.
  • Through additional transportation assets and process optimization, dramatically improved logistical support, and sector to sector decompression to quickly address overcrowding.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) streamlined and modernized its systems to allow for an increased pace of removals and returns after May 2023.
  • Sustained support and information sharing for non-profit and local communities receiving noncitizens.


Last Updated: 06/04/2024
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