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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Border Security

Response to the White House’s letter to Congress on the border

As the government shutdown drags on, the White House sent a mass mailing to Congress today making its case for a border wall and a crackdown on asylum seekers. A letter and a slideshow PDF present a lot of data and statistics. But nearly all of them tell only part of the story, leaving out […]

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Q&A: Why Trump’s Latest Asylum Decision Will Put Migrants’ Lives in Danger

Just before the holiday, Mother Jones ran a Q&A between me and reporter Noah Lanard about the Trump administration’s newly announced “Remain in Mexico” policy. At least until it’s struck down by the courts, this policy, agreed with Mexico’s new government, will let asylum-seekers from third countries await their immigration court hearing dates inside Mexico. […]

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What a “partial” government shutdown would affect

I just went through the outstanding appropriations bills and came up with this incomplete list of agencies that would be affected if parts of the U.S. federal government “shut down” at midnight tonight. President Trump insists that he won’t sign a 2019 budget bill—not even a stopgap to keep the government open for a few […]

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Mid-Wednesday border wall / shutdown update

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) will shortly introduce a simple bill keeping the still-unfunded part of the U.S. government funded, at 2018 levels, through February 8. This Continuing Resolution will avert a partial government shutdown on Friday December 21. It will not include new wall-building money. Scheduling the next budget/shutdown deadline for February 8 […]

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Yep

People have asked me, “Didn’t you listen to Trump when he said that he would build a wall?” I didn’t take the idea seriously during the campaign. From “I voted for Trump. Now his wall may destroy my butterfly paradise,” a Washington Post column by Luciano Guerra, “a nature photographer and outreach coordinator and educator for the […]

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Windows XP?

This from a September Homeland Security Inspector-General report on Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s border drone program: (“GCS” are the ground control stations communicating with the border drones. “NASOC” are National Air Security Operations Centers, managing manned and unmanned border surveillance flights, located at Sierra Vista, Arizona; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Grand Forks, North Dakota.) […]

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The End of One-Party Rule is the End of Trump’s Border Wall

Even before the Democratic Party won majority control of the House of Representatives, it wasn’t clear how Donald Trump was going to be able to get his border wall through Congress, which must approve the funding for it. Senate rules make it possible to block big budget outlays—like $25 billion for a wall—if 60 senators […]

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There’s No Emotionally Satisfying Response to Trump “Caravan Rage”

As the latest Central American migrant caravan limps through Chiapas, the first of up to a dozen Mexican states lying between them and the U.S. border, Donald Trump has seized on them as his best hope for maintaining a Republican majority in Congress. He and others on the U.S. right have gone into overdrive with […]

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9 Questions (and Answers) About the Central American Migrant Caravan

A new resource at WOLA’s website provides quick, fact-filled, documented and cited answers to these questions: Why are people leaving? And why are they leaving now? (Short answer: violence, corruption, climate, domestic violence, and economics.) Can Trump cut aid to Central America? (Short answer: no.) Why are people traveling as a caravan? (Short answer: safety in numbers.) […]

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August Border Statistics Show that Trump’s Policies are Not Deterring Migration

A new graphics-heavy analysis of the latest U.S.-Mexico border migration numbers, using some of the charts I threw together yesterday, is at WOLA’s website: These figures show that the Trump Administration’s cruelties of family separation and detention are doing nothing to change the underlying problem. People fleeing violence in Central America are not deterred from […]

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Charts: migration at the U.S.-Mexico border in August

This afternoon, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported on its apprehensions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in August. While it was a slightly higher August than usual, it saw a jump in arrivals of children and families seeking asylum. The Trump Homeland Security Department lamented the increase in asylum-seekers, and blamed the rise on […]

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New Report: “A National Shame”

This is part three of a three-part WOLA series on the horror that the Trump administration and its “zero tolerance” policy unleashed at the U.S.-Mexico border this spring and summer—and what may come next. (Here is part one, on “zero tolerance” itself, and part two, on what happened at ports of entry.) All three are […]

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Migration at the border in July: the usual summer decline

Customs and Border Protection has released the number of migrants it apprehended in July. It looked like most of the past seven Julys—usually a month when, due to scorching temperatures along the U.S.-Mexico border, migration declines. The nearly seven years of data represented in this chart—the only span for which we have monthly information this […]

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New report on the border

We’re proud to release “The Zero Tolerance Policy,” the first installment in what will be (probably) 3 reports on the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. This one covers the incredible institutional train wreck that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions caused when they decided in April that every person caught crossing the border improperly should be […]

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