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 Southern Border Plan: More Deportations and Widespread Human Rights Violations

Analysis & Commentary
Mexico’s Southern Border Plan was announced in July 2014 and has coincided with a sharp increase in deportations from Mexico.

New U.S. Program Fails to Protect Detained Mexican Migrant Kids

WOLA is concerned that authorities aren't doing all they can to protect kids questioned about criminal networks
Analysis & Commentary
WOLA has raised concerns over a new Border Patrol program that holds Mexican migrant children for months without charge, often using them as informants against cartels and smuggling organizations. When sent back, these kids are not properly protected from violent retribution.

On the Front Lines: Border Security, Migration, and Humanitarian Concerns in South Texas

New WOLA Report on the South Texas Border
Publication
The report explores the shift in migration to Texas's Rio Grande Valley and its implications for migrants and border security officials. WOLA offers recommendations for authorities to respond more effectively to the reality on the ground.

U.S. Failing to Respond to Shifting Migration Patterns, Urgent Humanitarian Need at the Border

New WOLA Report on Texas's Rio Grande Valley
Publication
With Congress debating a Department of Homeland Security funding bill, the issue of border security is in the spotlight. But while some in Washington quarrel over a nebulous “crisis” at the border, a lesser-known—but in many ways more grim—situation is playing out in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley region.