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.

Border Security

What is the “Trump Effect” on Migration? It’s Too Early to Draw Conclusions

WOLA just posted a new commentary that I drafted, which seeks to put into context the shocking recent U.S.-Mexico border migration statistics. February and March saw the fewest migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border since available records began in 1999. The arrival of Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric clearly has something to do with that. But […]

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“Ground Zero” is safer than the rest of America

Here’s Attorney-General Jeff Sessions in the border city of Nogales, Arizona, on Tuesday: Here, along our nation’s southwest border, is ground zero in this fight. Here, under the Arizona sun, ranchers work the land to make an honest living, and law-abiding citizens seek to provide for their families. But it is also here, along this […]

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Numbers do show a “Trump effect” on migration

These statistics are from an upcoming WOLA memo analyzing sharp recent changes in undocumented migration to the United States. There was a lot of migration during the last quarter of 2016, especially children and families from Central America. And now there is a very sharp drop since mid-January. As that WOLA memo will explain, both phenomena—the […]

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New report: “Throwing Money at the Wall”

Here’s a 350-word summary of my 3,000-word report on what’s up with Trump’s border wall, which we just posted to WOLA’s website. But you should really ignore this and read the longer one: it’s better and has graphics and links to lots of sources. How much would Trump’s proposed border wall cost? We’ve seen estimates ranging […]

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The past week in U.S. border security

CNN got some details about the initial $999 million that the Trump administration’s Homeland Security Department is requesting from Congress to begin work on a border wall during the 2017 fiscal year, which ends September 30. That amount would pay for “14 miles of new border wall in San Diego, 28 miles of new levee […]

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My growing collection of Trump border wall cost estimates

(I put these together as part of a still-unfinished piece that WOLA will publish online… sometime after I finish it.) What might it cost to fulfill Donald Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border? Estimates of construction cost vary wildly. Here is a range culled from U.S. media: $8 billion, says the […]

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Updated border graphic

Here’s a homemade graphic ranking Border Patrol’s nine sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to 13 measures. Some takeaways: Heroin and meth trafficking are west coast phenomena. Cocaine flows down both coasts, while marijuana flows favor south Texas and Arizona. Most migrants, especially Central American kids and families, come to south Texas or Arizona. The […]

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The past week in U.S. border security

The official Request for Proposals for U.S.-Mexico border wall designs is now up at the federal government contracting website. My favorite of the 12 requirements: “The north side of wall (i.e. U.S. facing side) shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment. The manufacturing/construction process should facilitate […]

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The past week in U.S. border security

The Trump administration will issue its initial “top line” budget request to Congress today. Word is it will include $1.5 billion to start border-fence construction in 2017, and $2.6 billion for 2018. Families in south Texas’s Rio Grande Valley are already getting notices from the federal government requiring them to sell their private land abutting […]

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February migration: a blip, or a “new normal?”

The U.S. Border Patrol reported apprehending 18,762 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in February. This is the lowest number of migrants encountered in any month since 2000, the first year for which Border Patrol makes monthly records available [PDF]. The sharpest drops were in the number of unaccompanied children (1,922, down from over 7,000 in November and December) […]

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