The Border Chronicle
The Border Chronicle
Fix the Asylum System, Protect Human Rights: A Podcast with Adam Isacson
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Fix the Asylum System, Protect Human Rights: A Podcast with Adam Isacson

The longtime migration expert talks about solutions, and what's missing in the debate around Biden's executive order to restrict asylum.
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A cross marks the place where a man died trying to swim across the Rio Grande to Texas from Piedras Negras, Mexico. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein via Getty Images)

In June, President Biden issued an executive order restricting asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. The new restriction was supported by many prominent newspaper columnists—few of whom offered alternative solutions or examined the order’s impact on human rights, says Adam Isacson, a longtime expert on Latin America and U.S. immigration policy. “The Biden administration made a choice to restrict asylum at the border,” he says, “instead of adding asylum judges and officers to fix the asylum system.”

Adam Isacson

At the very least, Isacson says, journalists such as the New York TimesNikolas Kristof should acknowledge policy alternatives that would preserve protections for asylum seekers. “None of these columns talks about making the U.S. asylum system viable, and faster, adjusting it to a new era of historic worldwide migration. They don’t even mention it as an option to be discarded,” Isacson wrote recently.

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In this podcast, we discuss solutions to fix the asylum system, and Isacson shares insights from a recent trip to Colombia and the impact that organized crime has on migration routes, including the Darién Gap. We also talk about migration at the border as extreme summer temperatures take hold.

Isacson directs the Defense Oversight Program for the nonprofit Washington Office on Latin America, in Washington, DC. He also contributes to WOLA’s Migration and Border Security program, which tracks the impact that policies have on migrants’ human rights, including their access to asylum.

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The Border Chronicle
The Border Chronicle
The Border Chronicle podcast is hosted by Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller. Based in Tucson, Arizona, longtime journalists Melissa and Todd speak with fascinating fronterizos, community leaders, activists, artists and more at the U.S.-Mexico border.