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

4 ways border and migration policy risk spreading coronavirus

Here’s a Twitter-length video I made to accompany yesterday’s commentary on the nightmarish situation at the border right now. The ongoing expulsions, deportations, detentions, and wall-building are being carried out in a way that risks creating new vectors for spreading coronavirus. They’re the opposite of social distancing, and they have to stop.

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Government reports relevant to Latin America obtained in March

The State Department’s annual report on other countries’ counter-drug efforts, with some information about U.S. aid.2020 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (Washington: Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, March 2, 2020) <PDF from https://www.state.gov/2020-international-narcotics-control-strategy-report/>. Intricately detailed tables of the status of aid to Central America between 2013 and 2018, from a GAO performance […]

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At wola.org: Key Questions About How the U.S.-Mexico Border Shutdown Will Impact Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Migrants

Here’s an analysis we posted yesterday in response to the closure of the U.S.-Mexico border to “inessential” travel. As noted in yesterday’s podcast, such travelers apparently include threatened people seeking asylum or protection in the United States, who are being turned away. The result is a potential death sentence, once COVID-19 really hits, for people […]

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WOLA Podcast: “There are 15,000 people waiting without access to asylum”

Savitri Arvey of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S.-Mexico Center has co-written a series of reports documenting U.S. authorities’ two-year-old practice of “metering” asylum seekers along the Mexico border, forcing them in precarious conditions in dangerous Mexican border towns for weeks or months at a time. The quarterly reports that Arvey and colleagues […]

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Updated border and migration graphics

I updated 20 graphics in my packet of border and migration infographics, to reflect new releases of data from CBP and Mexico’s INM. That packet is always available as a big (3.8MB) PDF file at the easy-to-remember address bit.ly/wola_border. Here are a few:

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Government reports relevant to Latin America obtained in February

The State Department’s 2021 foreign aid request to Congress, with much 2019 aid numbers.Congressional Budget Justification Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Fiscal Year 2021 (Washington: U.S. Department of State, February 11, 2020) <PDF from https://www.state.gov/fy-2021-international-affairs-budget/>. The annual report to Congress from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (the successor to the […]

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Updated packet of border and migration graphics

Customs and Border Protection just released its migrant apprehension data for January 2020, and a bunch of new year-end data covering all of Fiscal Year 2019. I got to work and updated the collection of infographics that we maintain and always share at bit.ly/wola_border. Download all 35 of them there as a 1.5 MB .pdf […]

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Politics and the English language and migration

I pointed this out on Twitter last week, but repeat it here. “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible,” George Orwell wrote in 1946. “Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.” In that amazing essay, “Politics and the English Language” (stop […]

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WOLA Podcast: A Week on the Border

While in El Paso last week, I recorded a podcast with WOLA’s new director for digital strategy, Lizette Alvarez. (The first time I’ve been the interviewee instead of the interviewer!) Here, at 6:30am in my hotel room, I talk about what we’d been seeing and hearing in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. You can almost […]

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Trump to Seize More Border Wall Money Through Brute Force

We learned in Monday evening’s Washington Post that our president plans to take another $7.2 billion out of the Defense Department’s budget and put it into the border wall that he couldn’t convince Congress to pay for. If he gets his way, more than three out of every four dollars in border-wall money will have […]

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