Report - Migration Policy Institute

Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Challenge Decades in the Making

| Jan. 25, 2024


U.S.-Mexico border security has been a central policy matter and divisive political issue in the United States for decades. The U.S. border control enterprise has faced two distinctly different eras of unauthorized migration: The first, from the 1980s through the early 2010s, was addressing overwhelmingly Mexican seasonal adult flows. The current era has been marked first by a rise in arrivals of Central American children and families beginning in 2014, and most recently unprecedented flows of asylum seekers from Latin America and beyond. Earlier strategies that dramatically reduced the levels of illicit border crossings have been no match for the sharply diversified migration patterns of today, with the government struggling to adapt its policy and operational structures.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Bersin, Alan , Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh. “Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Challenge Decades in the Making.” Migration Policy Institute, January 25, 2024.

The Authors