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

Surprising August Increase in Unaccompanied Migrant Children at the Border

The U.S. Must Urgently Address Root Causes of Migration
Analysis & Commentary
WOLA’s analysts were surprised by U.S. Border Patrol’s report that the agency apprehended 4,632 unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border in August 2015, the largest monthly number of apprehended minors since the unprecedented wave of children in mid-2014.

In Historic Visit, Pope Francis to Address Key Issues in the Americas

WOLA Closely Following Papal Visit to Cuba, United States
WOLA will have key experts available for commentary and analysis during Pope Francis' historic visit, in which he is expected to address some of the most

Central America’s Child Exodus: One Year Later the Humanitarian Crisis is Far From Over

Analysis & Commentary
In an op-ed first published in The Hill's Congress Blog, WOLA Senior Associates Adriana Beltrán and Marc Hanson, the two urge Congress to address the causes of mass migration from Central America at their source.

Mexico has Doubled Deportations of Migrants, but Protections for Refugees Remain Weak

New Data Demonstrates Humanitarian Consequences of Mexico’s Recent Crackdown on Central American Migration
Mexico is failing to respond to a growing need to protect asylum seekers.