WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
21 Aug 2012

The Washington Post Releases Graphics Based on WOLA’s Border Security Research

On August 20, The Washington Post published a set of infographics, “Patrolling the U.S.-Mexico Border,” that were produced with information from WOLA's border security research.

While each graphic is compelling on its own, together they tell the story of what’s really happening on the U.S.-Mexico border:

Graphic 1: Migrant apprehensions

Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants on the southwest border have dropped nearly 80% since 2000. In fact, apprehensions are now at their lowest level since 1971, meaning that far fewer migrants are attempting to cross the border.

Graphic 2: Border staffing

In the past ten years, there’s been a dramatic buildup in security personnel along the border. In 1992, there were only 3,500 Border Patrol agents on the border. That number had jumped to 9,900 by 2005 and 18,500 by 2011. That’s an increase of over 425% in the past twenty years and an 87% increase in the past six years alone.

Graphic 3: Apprehensions per agent

Combine fewer migrants with more agents and you’ll have fewer apprehensions per agent: in 2000, each agent apprehended an average of 203 migrants per year. In 2011, the average agent only apprehended 18 migrants, or one every three weeks, which shows that we are starting to see diminishing returns on our investment on the southwest border.

Graphic 4: Drug seizures

More Border Patrol agents doesn’t necessarily mean fewer drugs. The amount of illegal drugs seized at the U.S.-Mexico border has increased in the past five years, meaning that drug traffickers haven’t been deterred by the buildup.

Graphic 5: Homicide rates

Sensational media reports and border hawks warn about drug violence in Mexico crossing the border into the United States. But even though some Mexican border cities—such as Ciudad Juarez—are among the most dangerous in the world, the average homicide rate in U.S. border cities is lower than the national average, showing that violence in Mexico is not spilling over into the United States.


Additional Resources:

Beyond the Border Buildup: Security and Migrants along the U.S.-Mexico Border: WOLA’s year-long study on the impact of the United States and Mexico's security policies along the border.

www.BorderFactCheck.org: WOLA’s Border Fact Check blog separates from reality by rapidly responding to misleading or false statements about the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border.