WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
31 Oct 2018 | Podcast

Caravans, Soldiers, and Electoral Politics

WOLA staff who work on Central America, Mexico, and the border discuss the new “migrant caravan” and Trump’s threats

An issue that has been central to our work over the past several years is, right now, one of the biggest news stories in the country. President Trump has seized on a “caravan” of migrants coming up from Central America, making it an issue with which to enrage his political base ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Just in the past week, Trump has said that the caravan’s participants include “very bad people,” calling it an “invasion” and a national emergency. He has threatened to cut aid to Central American countries for failing to stop their people from migrating. Yesterday, the Defense and Homeland Security departments announced an unprecedented deployment of 5,200 active-duty troops to the border.

But this is more than just a border issue. It involves conditions in Central America, along the migrant trail in Mexico, and all the U.S. assistance programs involved. It is a continuum of problems—many of them serious, none of them insurmountable—that manifest along a continuum from Central American neighborhoods to U.S. communities.

WOLA works all along this continuum. Here is a conversation, both wide in scope and deep in analysis, about what is happening, with:

  • Host Adam Isacson, WOLA’s Director for Defense Oversight, who works on U.S. security assistance and border security.
  • Maureen Meyer, the Director for Mexico and Migrant Rights.
  • Adriana Beltran, the Director for Citizen Security, whose work focuses on Central America’s “Northern Triangle.”
  • Geoff Thale, the Vice President for Programs, a longtime Central America and citizen security specialist.