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

Mexico's Migration Crackdown Creates Spike in Apprehensions, Dangerous Shifts in Migrant Routes

New WOLA Report Reveals that Increased Enforcement Leaves Migrants More Vulnerable in Southern Mexico
Far from deterring migrants from making the journey north, the most notable effects of Mexico’s Southern Border Program have been a significant uptick in apprehensions and changes in where and how migrants are traveling.

New Report: Increased Enforcement at Mexico’s Southern Border

An Update on Security, Migration, and U.S. Assistance
Analysis & Commentary
Far from deterring migrants from making the journey north, the most notable effect of Mexico’s migration crackdown has been changes in how migrants are traveling.

49 U.S. Representatives Express Concern for Mexico’s Increased Migration Enforcement

The Representatives urge President Obama to work with Mexican authorities to strengthen the institutional capacity of Mexico’s migration and protection agencies.

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.