The number of arrests of illegal immigrants with criminal convictions -- including sex and drug offenses and even homicide -- have increased in fiscal year (FY) 2021 compared to recent years, amid a surge more generally of migrant encounters at the border.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, there have been 6,918 arrests of "criminal noncitizens" by Border Patrol in FY 2021 up until the end of May, with four months still to be recorded. FY 2021 runs from Oct. 2020 to Sept. 2021, and so it includes the final months of the Trump administration.
The number of arrests is already significantly higher than FY 2020 (2,438 arrests) and FY 2019 (4,269). It is just above FY 2018’s 6,698 arrests, and could exceed the 8,531 arrests in FY 2017 -- although it is unlikely to exceed the 12,842 arrests made in FY 2016.
The top criminal conviction is illegal re-entry, for which there were 3,836 convictions, up over 1,261 in FY 2020. Border Patrol stats provide the number of convictions, so since some migrants are convicted of multiple offenses, total convictions exceed the number of arrests overall.
However, there were also increases in other more serious offenses. There are 40 past convictions for homicide among migrants encountered at the border so far in FY 2021, compared to three in FY 2020 and two in FY 2019. There have been 1,413 convictions for illegal drug possession or trafficking among migrants this fiscal year, compared to 386 in FY 2020 and 449 in FY 2019.
Migrants arrested coming across the border this fiscal year have so far included 353 convictions for sex offenses, compared to 156 last fiscal year and 58 in FY 2019. Meanwhile, there are 775 convictions so far this year among migrants apprehended, compared to 208 in FY 2020, 299 in FY 2019 and 524 in FY 2018.
There have been 541 convictions for burglary, robbery, larceny, theft and fraud among arrested migrants this year, compared to 143 last fiscal year and 184 in FY 2019.
While the thousands of criminal migrants are a relatively small percentage of the tens of thousands of migrants coming across the border each month, the border crisis has raised concerns about how many criminals may not be being apprehended at the border -- and who may be sneaking across as agents are overwhelmed dealing with the surge of families and unaccompanied minors.
Agents have previously told Fox News that smugglers will drop groups of families and unaccompanied children at one part of the border, so that adults can sneak across in another part of the border while agents are overwhelmed with the initial group. And while many migrants will turn themselves in, others will still try and sneak by Border Patrol
"The crafty, the most cunning, most dangerous ones are trying to evade apprehension and they’re estimating tens of thousands of those on a monthly basis as well, and all of it controlled…by the Mexican crime cartels who are making hundreds of millions of dollars a month off of this," Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., told Fox News this week after a visit to the border.