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 has Doubled Deportations of Migrants, but Protections for Refugees Remain Weak

New Data Demonstrates Humanitarian Consequences of Mexico’s Recent Crackdown on Central American Migration
News
Mexico is failing to respond to a growing need to protect asylum seekers.

New Data Show that Mexico has Intensified Its Immigration Operations Without Building an Adequate Refugee Protection System

In 2014, Mexico only gave asylum to 451 individuals; 83 percent of applications came from Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans
Analysis & Commentary
An analysis explaining why Mexico has so many potential refugees and so few recognized refugees.

Watch: How Can We End 'Prison-Like' Migrant Detention Conditions?

Video
How can we improve the way we treat migrant children and families? WOLA Senior Associate Maureen Meyer speaks with Maria Teresa Kumar of MSNBC's "Changing America" on the conditions in U.S. migrant detention centers today.

Mexico Now Detains More Central American Migrants than the United States

Mexico Takes on the United States' Role as Immigration Enforcer, Raising Humanitarian Concerns
News
New data analysis shows that the so-called 2014 ‘surge’ of unaccompanied minor migrants hasn’t really ended.