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

Multimedia Package: Five Ways to Stop Unsafe Deportations

Analysis & Commentary
Nearly two million people have been deported from the United States since 2009. Most of these migrants are Mexicans, and certain deportation practices put them at risk of being kidnapped, extorted, and even killed by drug cartels operating along the border. Here are five ways that the Obama administration can stop unsafe deportations.

Memo on Unsafe Deportations

Analysis & Commentary
Certain U.S. deportation practices are putting migrants at risk of being kidnapped, extorted, and even killed by drug cartels and criminal groups operating along the border. Eliminating unsafe deportation practices will bring greater order and security to the deportation process.

WOLA Experts Investigate Mexico's Southern Border: Blogs from the Field

Analysis & Commentary
WOLA's Border Security and Migration team just returned from a trip along the southern border of Mexico to investigate the situation along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and what it means in the context of the U.S. immigration debate. Click here to read Adam Isacson's daily blogs from the trip.

WOLA Experts are Traveling along Mexico's Southern Border: Blogs from the Field

Analysis & Commentary
WOLA's Adam Isacson is on the road, investigating the situation along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and what it means in the context of the U.S. immigration debate. Click here to read his latest post.