WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

AP Photo/Esteban Felix

10 Jan 2017 | Media Advisory

Key Border Security and Migration Facts Ahead of General Kelly’s Senate Confirmation Hearing

Washington, DC—At 3:30 p.m. ET today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will begin its confirmation hearing for retired General John Kelly, nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as the next U.S. Homeland Security Secretary. Ahead of the hearing, WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) has prepared an overview of the key facts on one set of hot button issues in the recent election cycle that will likely arise in the confirmation process: U.S. border security and migration.

With accompanying graphs, this analysis illustrates that:

  • The number of undocumented migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border is near its lowest level since the early 1970s.
  • An increase in the number of migrants arriving at the border in Fiscal Year 2016 is due to the rising number of unaccompanied children and families, many of whom are fleeing violence in Central America.
  • Current plans to extend fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border would cost an estimated US$11 billion, and would likely have limited returns compared to other border funding priorities.

WOLA experts on Central America, migration, and border security are available for commentary regarding the hearing:

  • Senior Associate for Defense Oversight Adam Isacson, a specialist on security trends and U.S. spending on border security.
  • Senior Associate for Mexico and Migrant Rights Maureen Meyer, a leading expert on migration, border issues, and the rights of migrants in transit.
  • Senior Associate for Citizen Security Adriana Beltrán, whose work focuses on violence and the root causes of migration from Central America.


Kristel Mucino
Communications Director, WOLA
+1 (202) 797-2171
[email protected]