Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.


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June 2018

The day ahead: June 29, 2018

I’m unreachable mid-afternoon, writing otherwise, so replies may be delayed. (How to contact me) I’m in the thick of drafting our reporting on last week’s border field research, and have an internal planning meeting in the mid-afternoon. I’ll only be looking at e-mail and other communications intermittently.

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The day ahead: June 28, 2018

I’m writing at home, but semi-reachable, in the morning. In the office, and reachable, in the early afternoon. Unreachable after mid-afternoon. (How to contact me) After last week’s border trip and a lot of side research, I’ve got a 115-page matrix of findings, conclusions, and recommendations, using a methodology I learned doing that USAID Colombia evaluation earlier […]

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“Facebook live” coming up in <45 minutes

(Update 5:00PM: That was fun. I think we hit all our points concisely and it turned out really well.) From WOLA’s website: Update from the border: Facebook live 2:00 PM EDT WEDNESDAY, 27 JUNE 2018 WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/WOLA.ORG/ WOLA’s Director for Mexico and Migrant Rights Maureen Meyer and Director for Defense Oversight Adam Isacson just returned from a research trip to […]

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An early incident casts doubt on the incoming Colombian president’s independence—and the peace accord’s future

An incident late last week in Bogotá, getting reported as hearsay in Colombia’s media, raises serious concerns about the independence of President-Elect Iván Duque from his patron, the hardline former president and current Senator Álvaro Uribe. It also raises concerns that the peace accord with the FARC, which Duque and Uribe both criticize but Duque […]

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WOLA Podcast: What We Saw at the Border

Here’s a new podcast with Maureen Meyer and Adeline Hite, whom I accompanied last week at the Arizona-Mexico border. We cover a lot of ground in this 25-minute conversation about the things that most stood out to us on last week’s trip, which I documented in a few posts from the road: what “zero tolerance” […]

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24 years of coca and eradication in Colombia

Over the years I’ve been inadvertently building a big collection of “graphs that need periodic updating, which makes them more complicated.” This one depicts coca cultivation in Colombia, and efforts to eradicate it, since 1994. There are two measures of coca cultivation, from the United States and the UN. Eradication has mostly occurred through aerial spraying […]

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The day ahead: June 26, 2018

I should be reachable much of the day. (How to contact me) After travel and a lot of writing, I have a day without meetings to hopefully catch my breath. I’m catching up on correspondence and overdue administrative tasks at the office, and also making progress on writing up what we learned during last week’s border […]

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More findings from the Arizona-Mexico border

Hello from a plane returning from Tucson, where we spent all day yesterday and all morning today. It’s been busy: We went to Nogales, on the border, and spent time with the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a Jesuit-run service and advocacy group that runs a shelter and dining facility on the Mexican side of the […]

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Notes from yesterday in Yuma

Good morning from Tucson, Arizona, where we arrived yesterday evening after a 220-mile drive through the desert from Yuma. We spent yesterday in Yuma and across the border in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora. We met with Mexican migration authorities (INM and Grupo Beta), with the Casa de Migrante migrant shelter in San Luis, with […]

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Good morning from Yuma

Good morning from Yuma, Arizona, where we landed at about 4:00PM yesterday. We’re about half an hour’s drive from the Mexico border right now, and about the same distance from Arizona’s border with California. With this visit, since 2011 we on WOLA’s Border and Migration Program have now worked in seven of the nine sectors […]

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En route to Arizona

This graphic shows Border Patrol’s apprehensions of unaccompanied children and families in all nine U.S.-Mexico border sectors since October 2016. The charts explain why three of us from WOLA are on a plane to Arizona right now. (Arizona’s two sectors are highlighted in yellow.) The part of the border that has seen the most child […]

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The “cages”

That’s me in the white shirt, in this 2014 Border Patrol photo reproduced in a June 6 Washington Post fact-check piece. The article’s author found fault with Sen. Jeff Merkley’s (D-Oregon) portrayal of the site we’re walking through, Border Patrol’s “Ursula Street” Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, as “hundreds of children locked up in […]

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The day ahead: June 18, 2018

I’ll be reachable in the afternoon. (How to contact me) I’ve got a quick dentist appointment and a staff meeting, then I’ll be in the office the rest of the afternoon. I’ll be keeping up with post-election Colombia, and carrying out final tasks, both logistical and research-related, ahead of a trip to the Arizona-Mexico border tomorrow […]

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The week ahead

Three of us from WOLA are headed to Arizona tomorrow, where we’ll spend the rest of the week in Yuma, Nogales, Tucson, and across the border in Mexico. We’ll be interviewing pretty much everyone who’ll talk to us about “zero tolerance,” family separation, what is happening at ports of entry, the National Guard deployments, changes […]

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