More than 240,000 apprehensions, gotaways at southern border in May



At least 240,256 foreign nationals were apprehended or reported evading capture after illegally entering the southwest border in May, according to preliminary data obtained by The Center Square.

“Gotaways” refers to those known and reported to illegally enter the U.S. primarily between ports of entry, who intentionally evade capture by law enforcement and don’t return to Mexico. In May, gotaways totaled at least 60,327, with the greatest numbers reported in the El Paso and Tucson sectors as they have nearly every month this year. CBP doesn’t publicly report gotaway data.

The preliminary data was obtained by The Center Square from a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The agent provided the information on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation; it only includes Border Patrol data and excludes Office of Field Operations data. The total numbers would be higher if OFO data were included. All CBP data would be higher if gotaways were included in official data publicized.

As of June 6, the preliminary data for May in nine southwest border sectors include:


Apprehensions- 1,673

Turnbacks- 32

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 379

Unclassifiable Detection- 0

Gotaways Interior Zone- 105

No Violations- 15

Deceased- 0

Outstanding- 0


Apprehensions- 30,840

Turnbacks- 257

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 11,291

Unclassifiable Detection- 40

Gotaways Interior Zone- 3,381

No Violations- 143

Deceased- 5

Outstanding- 216


Apprehensions- 4,816

Turnbacks- 215

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 209

Unclassifiable Detection- 0

Gotaways Interior Zone- 15

No Violations- 1

Deceased- 1

Outstanding- 1


Apprehensions- 26,774

Turnbacks- 5,266

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 15,972

Unclassifiable Detection- 2

Gotaways Interior Zone- 330

No Violations- 50

Deceased- 8

Outstanding- 6


Apprehensions- 3,748

Turnbacks- 3,573

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 1,511

Unclassifiable Detection- 0

Gotaways Interior Zone- 391

No Violations- 91

Deceased- 5

Outstanding- 0


Apprehensions- 39,442

Turnbacks- 2,583

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 1,855

Unclassifiable Detection- 87

Gotaways Interior Zone- 662

No Violations- 83

Deceased- 3

Outstanding- 0


Apprehensions- 23,916

Turnbacks- 249

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 3,987

Unclassifiable Detection- 0

Gotaways Interior Zone- 3,144

No Violations- 313

Deceased- 1

Outstanding- 1


Apprehensions- 32,473

Turnbacks- 481

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 11,890

Unclassifiable Detection- 76

Gotaways Interior Zone- 3,639

No Violations- 183

Deceased- 4

Outstanding- 59


Apprehensions- 16,247

Turnbacks- 142

Gotaways Border Zone (known/recorded)- 1,479

Unclassifiable Detection- 1

Gotaways Interior Zone- 87

No Violations- 10

Deceased- 1

Outstanding- 1

Apprehensions refer to those who illegally enter the U.S. and surrender or are caught by Border Patrol agents. Turnbacks refer to those who illegally enter but return to Mexico. The gotaway data indicates where foreign nationals are detected illegally entering the U.S., at the Mexican border or farther north in the interior.

Unclassifiable detection isn’t part of 6 U.S. Code, which specifies how encounters are to be reported. It means agents, for a range of reasons, couldn’t determine citizenship. No-violations are individuals “deemed to have committed no infraction and don’t affect Got-Away statistics,” according to the tracking system.

Both categories should be categorized as gotaways, the Border Patrol agent explained, assuming all non-arrests were of non-citizens.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story, Border Patrol agents and those in law enforcement have told The Center Square, because they don’t include unknown and unrecorded gotaways. Not all gotaways are recorded because not all are identified, which is why they argue the number of people illegally entering the U.S. is expected to be much greater than reported.



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