Border community residents and asylum seekers regularly encounter Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the course of their daily lives. Too often, these interactions are marked by violence and lead to death. This tracker is a tool created and managed by the ACLU of Texas to document these fatal encounters in an effort to hold our government accountable for the lives that are taken by its officials.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the parent agency of the U.S. Border Patrol and officers at ports of entry, is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the United States — with over 44,000 agents and officers, including nearly 20,000 Border Patrol agents across the country. There are approximately 17,000 agents concentrated along the southwest border, in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Due to unprecedented funding by Congress, CBP’s budget has nearly tripled since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, ballooning from $5.9 billion in FY 2003 to $20.8 billion in FY 2020.
During this massive expansion, little to no oversight and accountability measures have been put in place. Agents are not being held accountable for deaths in their custody and their uses of excessive, deadly force. After years of fighting, families of the victims, which include vulnerable mothers and children, continue to seek justice for the deaths of their loved ones.
This tracker includes all known fatal encounters with CBP personnel as reported by media outlets and the CBP’s Office of Public Affairs as of January 2010. The ACLU of Texas regularly reviews and updates the tracker.
As of August 31, 2021, the tracker reflects the following totals:
- Totals deaths: 191
- Total deaths of minors: 12
- Total deaths of U.S. citizens/legal permanent residents: 30
- Total deaths in custody: 38
- Total deaths by Off-Duty Agents: 11
- Total use of firearm: 54
- Total deaths related to the border wall: 5
- Total deaths resulting from Border Patrol involved car chases: 63
- Total deaths resulting from cross-border shootings: 6
Details are available in the documents linked below.
For additional documentation on excessive uses of force by CBP, visit Hold CBP Accountable.