Developing a Risk Assessment Instrument for Immigration Cases Under Federal Supervision

Mayra E Pacheco, University of Texas at El Paso


The illegal immigration flow into the United States continues to be one of the most volatile subjects when it comes to border security. The southwest border which has nine sectors: Big Bend, Del Rio, El Centro, El Paso, Laredo, Rio Grande Valley, Tucson, San Diego, and Yuma, has the most registered encounters and apprehensions since the 1970’s. Apprehensions in the southwest border have fluctuated throughout the years impacting the U.S. border security and other national security aspects. Since 2017 the number of encounters and apprehensions has rapidly increased, reaching a total of 851,508 apprehensions in 2019 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FY 1960-2020) of undocumented individuals attempting to cross into the United States. In 2020, the number of apprehensions for illegal entry into the United States were dramatically diminished to 458, 088. In March 2020, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to halt the spread of the virus into the United States, the Trump Administration closed the border indefinitely by implementing Title 42 under the 1944 Public Health Service Act (Chisti, 2022). The U.S. health law Section 256 of the U.S. Code Title 42 allows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director to “prohibit the introduction into the United States of individuals when there is a serious danger of the introduction of a communicable disease” (American Immigration Council, 2022). Under Title 42, any individual attempting to illegally enter or seeking asylum into the United States was to be removed to their country of origin without further prosecution in order to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 within the United States. The deployment of this policy mandated Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to “catch and release” those individuals attempting to enter into the U.S., decreasing the number of illegal entry apprehensions.

Subject Area

Law enforcement|Public policy|Statistics

Recommended Citation

Pacheco, Mayra E, "Developing a Risk Assessment Instrument for Immigration Cases Under Federal Supervision" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30491968.