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

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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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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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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