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.

Mexico

The Border Patrol Union’s Latest “Green Line” Podcast

Art Del Cueto is president of the Tucson Sector chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, the union whose membership includes about 75 percent of all Border Patrol agents. He was the solo host of the latest episode of the union’s weekly “Green Line” podcast, embedded here: Entitled “Not Guilty!” the episode begins with a […]

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A fatal dose is smaller than Abe Lincoln’s head

From DEA’s December 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment. From GAO’s April 2018 report on synthetic opioids. Here are similar photos from U.S. government reports, the left from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2016 and the right from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2018. They show estimates of a lethal dose of […]

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Snapshots from the border

I’m just back from a quick 3-day trip to the very farthest southern part of Texas, known as the Rio Grande Valley region. This is by far the “busiest” of all sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border. It has the most undocumented migration, the largest number of Central American migrants seeking protection from violence, and (according […]

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12 points about the “Border Security for America Act of 2017”

The House Homeland Security Committee meets tomorrow to mark up (draft and vote on) H.R. 3548, the “Border Security for America Act of 2017.” It calls for $14 billion in new border-security spending, mostly at the U.S.-Mexico border. The legislation might not go anywhere, but it’s still teachable. It includes a few items that are worth support, […]

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A not-too-distant mirror

In yesterday’s New York Times, a portrayal of Mexico’s worsening social divide between rich and poor: For the people within those invisible walls, government is responsive and crime low. Those outside face rising murder rates, corruption and, activists say, police brutality. Reading about this stark kind of inequality and injustice got me interested in Latin America […]

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The past week in U.S. border security

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security has drafted its piece of the 2018 budget. The subcommittee’s draft version grants the Trump administration’s full $1.6 billion request (PDF) to build or replace 74 miles of border wall. It also grants the White House request of $100 million to hire new agents. House Republican hard-liners are […]

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Links From the Last Month About: Civil-Military Relations in Latin America

Argentina Outgoing Defense Minister Julio Martínez alleged that the previous governments of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández so neglected the country’s air force that “over a hundred [aircraft] went out of service or were decommissioned.” Brazil Brazilian Army soldiers, long tasked with guarding the country’s 10,400-mile land border, are increasingly being used as police. “During […]

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Just released: our latest report on the Mexico-Guatemala border

Maureen Meyer, Hannah Smith, and I spent the third week of February in and around Tenosique, Mexico. We were in Mexico’s far south, by the border with Petén, Guatemala. We visited migrant shelters, which were busy, though emptier than before Trump’s inauguration. We heard grim accounts of the violence Central Americans were fleeing. We spoke […]

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Links from the last month about: civil-military relations in Latin America

Argentina Pablo Waisberg, Guillermo Peralta, “Grupo Pro Militar Escracha a Testigos de Juicios” (Perfil (Argentina), May 22, 2017). A pro-military group posted a list of journalists and others who have testified in human rights cases against leaders of Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, calling them “subversive terrorists from the 1970s.” Brazil “Public Opinion Forces Temer to […]

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The past week in U.S. border security

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget request for Homeland Security includes $1.57 billion to build 74 miles of new border wall/fence in south Texas and near San Diego, California. (That’s $21.2 million per mile.) It would also fund the hiring of 500 new Border Patrol agents (toward an eventual goal of 5,000, expanding the force to […]

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Point that saber somewhere else

From The Washington Post, reporting on a May 17 Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremony: During the commencement, Trump was presented with a ceremonial saber. After accepting it to applause, he returned to his seat next to Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John F. Kelly. Smiling, Kelly leaned over the president and said, of the saber, “You […]

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Podcast: “The Border Wall and the Budget”

The Trump White House came dangerously close to shutting down the U.S. government over funding for its proposed wall along the border with Mexico. Here I explain the budget process, what we know of the administration’s wall-building plans, and why it’s a bad idea. I think this one came out pretty well. The White House’s […]

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Links From the Last Month About: Civil-Military Relations in Latin America

Colombia A decree has placed a representative of Colombia’s Defense Ministry on the governing board of the Center for Historical Memory, a body of academics that has produced 92 reports since 2008 about what happened in the country’s conflict. Though a governmental body, the Center has had autonomy in how it chooses and carries out […]

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