Rising Number of Inadmissible Foreigners at US Ports of Entry: A Record-Breaking Summer

The summer of 2023 has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of foreigners deemed “inadmissible” at the ports of entry to the United States.

According to a recent report published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, the Office of Field Operations (OFO), a unit operating under the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), recorded a staggering total of 199,535 inadmissible foreigners between the months of June and July.

This figure is more than four times the typical level observed over the past decade, indicating a significant increase in monthly numbers.

Insights from the Study

TRAC researchers focused their analysis on the first ten months of the fiscal year 2023, during which a total of 788,953 inadmissible immigrants arrived at the ports of entry.

These findings are based on individual records meticulously examined by TRAC, utilizing detailed information obtained from immigration authorities through a lengthy campaign under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

To enhance access to data on inadmissible individuals, Syracuse University has developed an interactive tool that allows users to view CBP data specific to individual ports of entry across the country, including the southern (Mexico) and northern (Canada) borders, as well as airports.

Inadmissible Cases by Port of Entry

The TRAC data highlights the three ports of entry along the US-Mexico border with the highest number of inadmissible cases. San Ysidro recorded 78,773 cases, followed by Brownsville with 75,230 cases, and Hidalgo with 55,030 cases. Other included border crossings are El Paso (34,768), Eagle Pass (20,386), Nogales (17,843), Laredo (16,718), Calexico, and Otay Mesa (5,105).

Challenging Appeals Process

Legal experts consulted by Univision Noticias explained that appealing a ban on entry to the United States due to inadmissibility is a difficult process. However, it does not prevent individuals from legally returning to the country after a certain period.

Alex Gálvez, an immigration lawyer practicing in Los Angeles, California, clarified that while appeals do not guarantee success because courts lack jurisdiction over individuals outside the United States, certain categories of individuals may have a chance to enter the country.

For example, individuals with a H-2A or H-2B visa for non-professional temporary workers can submit a petition known as a 212(D)(3) waiver, which provides a general pardon for those who have faced deportation or have been declared inadmissible at the border.

Grounds for Inadmissibility

Gálvez further explained that individuals can be deemed inadmissible if they use fraudulent visas, possess fake passports, attempt to reenter the country illegally after deportation, return before completing the punishment imposed following deportation, have criminal records within or outside the United States, or engage in any criminal activity detected by federal immigration agents at the border, such as human trafficking, smuggling, or using false identities.

Government’s Response Capacity

The TRAC researchers also emphasized that the volume of inadmissibility determinations at the Mexican border not only reflects migration patterns but also demonstrates the size and processing capacity of the federal government’s ports of entry.

When a larger number of migrants arrives at smaller ports of entry, it can create demands for personnel and resources that exceed normal capacity. For instance, the use of the CBP One mobile application has contributed to the number of inadmissible foreigners at each port.

Gálvez noted that individuals with previous deportations have been able to secure appointments through CBP One at a port of entry, possibly due to humanitarian reasons. However, he cautioned that if a person has a criminal record, they are likely to be denied either an appointment through the mobile application or entry into the country, as they would be deemed inadmissible under the law.

Presently, the CBP schedules 1,450 daily appointments through the CBP One application at selected ports of entry along the southern border.

Diverse Nationalities of Inadmissible Individuals

According to TRAC, the nationality of inadmissible individuals varied significantly among the busiest ports of entry. While the majority of decisions were issued to Mexican citizens, a diverse and larger population is seeking admission at US ports of entry.

Under immigration law, foreigners deemed inadmissible to enter the United States are subject to “expedited removal” and can be deported without a hearing before an immigration judge, unless they have a credible asylum claim.


The summer of 2023 has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of foreigners deemed inadmissible at US ports of entry. The TRAC report sheds light on the significant increase in monthly numbers, with more than four times the typical level observed over the past decade.

The data highlights the challenges faced by individuals appealing an inadmissibility determination and the various grounds that can render them ineligible for entry. Furthermore, it underscores the importance of the government’s response capacity at ports of entry and the impact of digital applications on the processing of individuals.

As the United States continues to manage immigration and border security, understanding the dynamics of inadmissibility cases provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of immigration policy.