Where to find border and immigration data
CONTACTS, STRATEGIES AND RESOURCES
Lise Olsen, Investigative Reporter,
The Houston ChronicleTwitter @chrondigger
United States government sites and official data:
U.S. Immigration and Citizens Services (formerly the INS)
websitehttp://uscis.gov/graphics/index.htmMedia contacts, press releases, of course, look under
reports and studies for reports and stats or file FOIAs via contacts for district offices nationwide and
Department of Homeland Security Yearbook of Immigration Statistics provides information on
naturalizations, refugees that can be analyzed by port of entry, state of intended resident, etc. Details
can be FOIAed via USCIS or Homeland Security and requested in Excel format.
Tons of data: http://www.dhs.gov/yearbook-immigration-statistics; http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, also known as Homeland Security Investigations)
http://www.ice.gov/about/offices/homeland-security-investigations/ ICE has data on
Secure community data – and much more in FOIA reading area of ICE website:
Border Patrol – US Customs and Border Protection, links to spokesmen and local office
Transactional Records Access Clearinghousehttp://trac.syr.edu/
A non-profit that has successfully sued the U.S. Justice Department for tons of data and makes it
available to reporters and researchers. Some of it is free, the rest you get for asubscription fee. The ICE
and USA (U.S. attorney) prosecutions tools allow you to quickly check out your region's federal
enforcement efforts, spot recent trends and compare them to other regions/states. There is a whole
section on immigration courts.
Try it out – here’s a link to the immigration court backlog tool:
The Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) of the Department of
Justicehttp://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/It oversees the immigration courts (which aren’t part of the ICE,
though they are part of the Department of Justice). Immigration court hearings are generally open, but
records are not. Reports on complaints onimmigration judges, sanctioned lawyers, court locations, are
available, more available via FOIA.
US Department of State –http://www.state.gov/Alerts and advisories, contacts at embassies and
consulates worldwide. Visa data/statistics are here:
Its reports on countries are here. http://www.state.gov/misc/list/index.htm; Reports on human
trafficking in various countries are here: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/
The State Department's index of Deaths of Americans Abroad data online – accidents, murders,
suicide by country by year: http://travel.state.gov/law/family_issues/death/death_600.html
Travel and Tourism data and stats – via the US Office of Travel & Tourism Industries:
http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/International travelers in the US and travelers from the US abroad.
Border crossing data at RITA – the Research and Innovative Technology Administration: you can do your
own queries here and compare and download data at different ports of entry. Kind of
Links to the Federal Court websiteshttp://www.uscourts.gov/
These include federal district, appeals and bankruptcy courts. You can search federal court cases for
defendants’ names or company names nationwide and also search by statute (i.e. with the code number
for illegal re-entry, human trafficking, smuggling or other immigration-related codes). It makes sense to
get to know the federal prosecutor and federal public defender in your area who handle immigration
issues. Get an account and access court records for pennies a page – and view case activity and get
attorneys’ names, phones and e-mails for free:https://pacer.login.uscourts.gov/cgi-
US Congress – Members of Congress, their staff and committee chairmen in both Mexico and
the US congress are key contacts for reporters.Find the list of the members of the Senate’s immigration
subcommittee at:http://judiciary.senate.gov/about/subcommittees/immigration.cfm Members of
congress can assist with getting information on individual cases, or statistics or reports. You can use the
service Thomas to keep up with bills:http://thomas.loc.gov.
US Census bureau: For information on border population trends, languages spoken, changes in
Mexican-born or all Foreign born population on all cities, places, counties, states, towns and the US as a
FBI Offices –Each office has a press officer and a searchable archive of press releases. Use advanced
Google searches to search by topic and sign up for alerts. http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htmThe FBI
is also the best source of crime statistics for all border states and cities (though state governments and
individual cities have them too.)
Border state governments:U.S.border states: Texas, Arizona, California, New Mexico and AG offices.
Mexican border states: Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Chihuahua,Coahuila, Sonoraand Baja California Norte.
Each state has its own webpage and “portal” for public records – “transparencia”
Each state also has a Procurador General de Justicia del Estado – PGJE inMexico or State’s Attorney
General in the US. Contact information and e-mails on border state webpages.
Frontera List and related links – collected and updated by Molly Molloy, an author and researcher at
New Mexico State University :http://lib.nmsu.edu/subject/bord/laguia/
Molly Molloy also runs one of the best border list-serves (in English). To receive it, e-mail her at
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.orgNow available on social media too.
Gobierno Mexicano (en español)
Mexico’s new president changed many Website names and took down several portals. Each by law has
“transparencia” link for public information requests and info. Most have press releases. There’s a
collection of links here:http://www.mexonline.com/mexagncy.htm in English.
Mexico’s state department, (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores) http://www.sre.gob.mx/
Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información Pública (IFAI) Mexican Freedom of Information Act
information, sample letters, explanation of the law and database of requests. You don’t have to be a
citizen to use it and can register under your own name or under Mickey Mouse if you
Compranet – information about federal contracts in Mexicohttp://web.compranet.gob.mx/
Senado y Camara de Diputados: Just like with the US Congress, Mexican congressmen on key
comisiones (committees) as well as their staffs are excellent sources for stories.Senate:
http://www.senado.gob.mx/Lista de comisiones http://www.senado.gob.mx/assets/com.pdf
Camara de diputados: http://www.cddhcu.gob.mx/
Procurador General de la Republica (PGR – the Mexican Attorney General/Department of Justice).
Offers a Mexican point of view of binational crime via spokesperson and press releases. Has an extensive
archive of press relases and summaries of stores from around the Républica
Semefo – Servicio Médico Forense is Mexico’s national medical examiner network, though not all big
cities have offices (just like some places in the US rely on Coroners.) Only some sites are online.
Mexico’s INEGI – Census bureau and so much more. The motherlode of statistics and official
Mexican non-profits with great info and archives:
Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios sobre la
cuencia.asp This is the best site by far for Mexican crime statistics and for citizens’ survey data on crime
– very interesting information.
Center for Border Students and Promotion of Human Rights(CEFPRODHAC) – a non-profit with a great
archive on human rights issues on the border – including statistics, complaints and archives from all
across the border. However its web site is not as reliable as it was in prior years. Based
Key journalism websites:Many other news sites exist, but these are some of the oldest and most
reliable and offer investigative stories from El Paso to the Pacific.
Tijuana/Baja California/San Diego:
Tijuana Press http://www.tijuanapress.com/
Crónica de Baja California – http://www.lacronica.com/(sister paper to Frontera and to El Imparcial
San Diego Union http://www.signonsandiego.com/ Follow border reporter Sandra Dibble on Twitter.
El Diario de Juarez http://www.diario.com.mx/ (has sister papers in Chihuahua and in El Paso)
La Polaka - http://lapolaka.com/
El Paso Times: http://www.elpasotimes.com/
El Imparcial http://www.elimparcial.com/
NPR’S Fronteras’ Desk: http://www.fronterasdesk.org/
Fronteras’ Az reporter Michel Marizco blogs at http://borderreporter.com/
Arizona Daily Star; http://azstarnet.com/And its database of border
Narconews blog: http://www.narconews.com/
Frontera NorteSur another compilation site of U.S. Mexico Border
National and border news coverage:
El Universal – Mexico’s largest daily with a huge archive of stories that is
La Jornada– a smaller but important Mexico City-based daily with a free searchable
LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/
Investigative Reporters and Editors – www.ire.orgIRE en español
Sala de Prensa
Centro de Periodismo y Ética Pública – MéxicoA journalists’ listserv and website with public information
and information on attacks on journalistshttp://www.cepet.org/
Periodistas de A Pie – an organization helping journalists who cover violence in
Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa: An association of editors and publishers in the Americas that
monitors and provides help after attacks on journalists and lobbies for better press laws. (Spanish and
Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas – Newsletter in three languages, free and inexpensive
web seminars and e-books as well as events. http://knightcenter.utexas.edu/
Internacional Center for Journalists: info on datajournalism, FOIA laws and tools
American Immigration Lawyers Associationhttp://www.aila.org/PIO: 202-216-2404 Ask who are AILA
members or board members in your area. AILA also has press releases on national issues on their
The American Bar Association’s Commission on
Immigrationhttp://www.abanet.org/publicserv/immigration/home.html Tel: (202) 662-1698 The ABA is
a good source of information for keeping up with issues and for finding groups who handle immigration
cases in your state.
The ACLU’s Immigrant Rights PageAmong other things, there are copies of key federal court decisions,
as well as updates onfederal legislation as well as immigration groups all over the U.S. at this
NOTE: Many border universities have special study programs and great experts… way too many for
Pew Research Center has become one of the best sites to find credible immigration studies and
Pew’s Hispanic Trends project is here: http://www.pewhispanic.org/
Center for Immigration StudiesThis is a conservative think tank that advocates for limits on immigration.
It offers research and policy analysis of immigration-related issues. Among other things, the CIS has
amailing list that lets you stay on top of what everyone else is writing about immigration issues, from
the smallest border papers to the New York Times.http://www.cis.org/immigrationnews.html link for
joining the mailing list.
Federation for Immigration Reform http://www.fairus.org/ Tel: (202) 328-7004
An organization that argues the US has too many immigrants and proposes reforms.Among other things,
the site has state-by-state profiles and news releases.
International Human Rights organizations:
Human Rights Watchhttp://www.hrw.org/ - English
Mexican Human Rights organizations
There are many other well-known human Rights organizations in Mexico:For a fairly complete list Red
Nacional de Organismos Civiles de
Derechos Humanos website: http://www.redtdt.org.mx/enlaces.php
This website offers another even longer list of NGOs in all Mexican states