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

Fact Check: is Total 'Operational Control' at the Border a Realistic Goal?

Analysis & Commentary
House Republicans have presented a new border bill that would punish political appointees for not obtaining the impossible: “operational control” of the border in five years, a standard that would be expensive, disruptive, and ultimately unworkable.

Forgotten on 'La Frontera': Mexican Children Fleeing Violence Are Rarely Heard

Analysis & Commentary
This investigative report highlights the stories of Mexican child migrants who flee to the U.S. and their treatment by U.S. and Mexican authorities. WOLA finds that the U.S. law to protect vulnerable Mexican children often fails in practice, and Mexican authorities are not doing enough to adequately protect these at-risk youths.

New WOLA Video: Mexican Migrant Children Forgotten at the Border

Border Patrol and Mexican Authorities Fail to Screen and Protect Mexican Migrant Children
News
Last year, the issue of Central American children fleeing violence made headlines in the United States. But unlike unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, Mexican children rarely get an opportunity to tell their story before an immigration judge.

New Video and Report: Mexican Migrant Children Forgotten at the Border

Video
Last year, the issue of Central American children fleeing violence made headlines in the United States. But unlike unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, Mexican children rarely get an opportunity to tell their story before an immigration judge.