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

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.

WOLA Monitoring the Administration's Central America Aid Request

Smart Investment Means Effectively Targeting Corruption, Violence, and Poverty
Analysis & Commentary
As it makes its way through Congress, WOLA is closely following the Obama administration's historic billion-dollar aid request to Central America for FY2016, a proposal which—if invested wisely—could address the underlying factors that have fueled record migration from the region in recent years.

Latest Border Stats Point to Heavy Child, Family Migration in 2015

Analysis & Commentary
WOLA Senior Associate for Regional Security Adam Isacson takes a look at the latest official figures from Border Patrol, which suggest that while the numbers have fallen since 2014, 2015 is still on track to see a major wave of child and family migration from Mexico and Central America.