Migration & Border Security

…putting human rights at the center of immigration policy

WOLA monitors the security situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, overseeing the U.S. security presence and exposing the border buildup’s often unseen consequences and costs. We work to increase awareness about dangerous U.S. deportation practices, the large number of migrants who die in the desert, and the challenges faced by local and state authorities in the identification and preservation of remains. We propose policy alternatives that will protect migrants’ rights, prevent deaths, and ensure that efforts to enhance border security are measured against the reality of the situation on the ground. At the same time, WOLA works to help address cross-border gun trafficking that fuels drug-related violence in Mexico.

Key Program Themes

• U.S. Unsafe Deportation Practices

Nearly two million people have been deported from the U.S. since 2009, many to Mexico. Click here to see WOLA's research on current U.S. deportation practices that put these migrants at risk.

• Border Security

Securing the border is often seen as a prerequisite for immigration reform, yet the costs of this buildup are often overlooked. Click here to see WOLA's work on security buildups along the U.S.-Mexico border.

• Migrant Deaths along the U.S.-Mexico Border

Each year hundreds of migrants die attempting to cross the border. Click here to learn more about what WOLA is doing to prevent migrants deaths and increase efforts to identify the dead.

• Gun Trafficking to Mexico

More than 60,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006. Click here to see WOLA's work to advocate for policies that help combat illegal gun trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico as a way to address this violence.

Migration & Border Security News & Analysis

Will More Funds for Border Security Address the Crisis of Central American Children at the Border?

Spending even more on border security, or sending the National Guard, will not resolve the unaccompanied minors crisis
Analysis & Commentary
There are already enough Border Patrol resources at the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress does not need to add more: Customs and Border Protection needs to distribute them to respond to the current situation. We *absolutely* do not need to take the drastic step of a new National Guard deployment.

What the U.S. Government Can Do in Response to the Increase in Migration from Central America

Smart responses to increased migration from Central America
Analysis & Commentary
In a series of recommendations, WOLA, LAWG, the Women's Refugee Commission, JRS, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, and the U.S. Jesuit Conference outline intelligent ways in which the U.S. government could respond to the increase in migration from Central America.

WOLA's Advocacy on the Crisis of Migrant Children

Analysis & Commentary

The Plight of Migrant Children at the Border Highlights Need to Invest in Central America

Analysis & Commentary
WOLA Program Director Geoff Thale discusses the "push" factors that are driving an unprecedented number of unaccompanied Central American youth to migrate to the U.S., and what can be done to mitigate these factors.