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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Migration

Updated border and migration graphics are always here

I keep up-to-date a big PDF file full of stats and graphics about security and migration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. Right now, it’s 2.2 megabytes and 36 pages long, and you can download it here or, more memorably, at the shortcut bit.ly/2019wolaborder. It covers migration, Border Patrol staffing, the immigration court backlog, and security […]

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Back to the border

I’m back from my third visit to the San Diego-Tijuana border so far this year. I spent much of Monday with U.S. authorities, CBP and Border Patrol. Tuesday was an excellent day-long meeting with non-governmental groups from all four border states. I went to Tijuana on Wednesday, and on Thursday met with civic leaders and […]

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The March migration numbers

Yesterday U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its statistics for March. They show that Border Patrol apprehended the largest monthly total of migrants since April 2007. But unlike back then, when nearly all migrants were single Mexican adult males, this time two thirds were children or parents. Most of them from Honduras and Guatemala, […]

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Good morning from the Tijuana port of entry

Here’s 3 1/2 minutes of me talking into my phone near a grim daily ritual: dozens of migrants queuing up for the weeks-long waitlist for their chance to cross to U.S. soil and request asylum.

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WOLA Podcast: A Humanitarian Crisis, Not a National Emergency

Here’s a conversation with my WOLA colleague Maureen Meyer about the border, which we recorded last Thursday afternoon and posted last Friday morning. U.S. and Mexican border communities are contending with a surge of asylum-seeking children and parents, arriving by the thousands each day. The Trump administration portrays it as a “national emergency” and is […]

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Top-line notes from my February 11-20 border trip

I spent the week of February 11, and some of this week, in San Diego and Tijuana. It was like holding down two jobs. Each day: At 4:30am, I’d go to the airport and escort migrant families to the flights that, in most cases, relatives had purchased for them. The San Diego Rapid Response Network […]

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Mid-Visit Notes from the Border

(I wrote these notes earlier today, in the middle of “day 3” here at the border.) Hello from a coffee shop in central Tijuana. I’m taking a moment between meetings to talk about what I’m seeing on my second visit here so far this year. I’m interviewing experts, officials, and service providers on both sides […]

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6:30 in the morning in San Diego

And I’ve already helped 2 Honduran moms, their kids, and their ankle bracelets make their way through airport security and onto their flights. Going to be a good day, I think.

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A twisty riverbank explains why a wall won’t stop 60 percent of today’s migrants

Here’s Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) during last week’s House-Senate Conference Committee meeting on the 2019 federal budget, which hinges on President Trump’s demand for a border wall. Cuellar is pointing to a map of the U.S.-Mexico border in his district. “We have a river that doesn’t run straight,” he says, reminding his colleagues that past […]

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The asylum process can be manageable—and Mexico is giving it a try

Incredibly, about 60 percent of migrants being apprehended, or showing up without documents, at the U.S.-Mexico border are now children and families. Most are asking for asylum in the United States. (Mexico, too, has seen a fourteen-fold increase in asylum-seekers since 2014.) That has never happened before. Take away that population, and the number of […]

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Last day at the border, for now

Go to the New York Times right now, and there’s a video on the front page from Tijuana, where I spent the last 2 days. Look really closely and you can see me very briefly, lurking by the San Diego-Tijuana port of entry very early Wednesday morning: Here’s a video from yesterday, in which WOLA’s […]

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