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 more than 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, increasing 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. Despite deaths in custody and uses of excessive, deadly force, agents are not held accountable. Border community residents encounter these agents as they go about their daily lives, while thousands of asylum seekers, including vulnerable mothers and children, are at the mercy of these agents while in custody. CBP's lack of oversight and accountability coupled with its undeniable culture of violence has taken too many lives. After years of fighting, families of the victims continue to seek justice and accountability over the loss of their loved ones.
The following document includes all known fatal encounters with CBP personnel beginning in January 2010. These encounters were reported by either media outlets or by the CBP's Office of Public Affairs. Incidents are regularly reviewed and updated by the ACLU of Texas Border Rights Center.
As of March 29, 2021 the CBP Fatal Encounters tracker reflects the following highlights and totals:
- Totals deaths: 154
- Total deaths of minors: 13
- Total deaths of U.S. citizens/legal permanent residents: 29
- Total deaths in custody: 29
- Total deaths by off-duty agents: 11
- Total use of a firearm: 53
- Total deaths related to the border wall: 2
- Total deaths resulting from Border Patrol-involved car chases: 49
- Total deaths resulting from cross-border shootings: 6