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

New Developments along Mexico’s Southern Border

Mexico’s Government Deploys Additional Forces and Requests Funds for Southern Border Program
Analysis & Commentary
WOLA and Fundar provide an analysis of Mexico's stepped-up migration enforcement strategy at its southern border.

12 Principles to Assess the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle

Analysis & Commentary
WOLA's Central America team drafted a set of key principles to assess the Central American governments’ Alliance for Prosperity plan that was presented by the Foreign Ministers of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras this past Tuesday to Secretary of State John Kerry. The plan addresses the drivers of migration in the region.

Mexico's New Southern Border Security Plan and New Police Force

An In-Depth Podcast with WOLA's Adam Isacson and Experts on the Ground
Publication
Over 3 days in August, Mexico's government announced a big new southern border security plan, and inaugurated a big new police force, the Gendarmería. Adam talks to six experts about both strategies and their likely effects.

WOLA's Resources and Analysis on Central American Migrant Children

Analysis & Commentary
For decades, WOLA has researched and reported on the conditions of crime, violence, and lack of economic opportunity as push factors driving migration. Below is a list of WOLA resources and analysis on the issues of unaccompanied minors, border security and migration, and citizen security.