Trends in U.S. Border Patrol Apprehension: Exploring the Role of Discretion That Matters

Kara Joyner, Bowling Green State University

Recent research on apprehensions (or arrests) made by the United States Border Patrol is largely descriptive and focused on apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Using data from the Department of Homeland Security that span two decades (1992-2012), this study documents trends in Border Patrol apprehension for three different borders (i.e., the Southwestern, Northern, and Coastal Borders). Using data from 2012, it contrasts the Border Patrol’s three borders in terms of jurisdictional characteristics, in addition to key indicators of enforcement and apprehension. Pooled time series models identify factors that drive year-to-year change in apprehension rates along the three borders. The results suggest that the rate at which Border Patrol agents are apprehending the unauthorized population differs across the three borders. They also suggest that factors driving change in apprehension rates differ by border as well.

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Presented in Session 85: Immigration and Integration Policy