Is the 'border crisis' actually a 'labor market crisis?'

Politicians on both sides of the aisle call the surge at the US Southern Border a "border crisis."

One camp says we need to focus on addressing the conditions in other countries that cause people to leave. The other says we have to focus on deterrence and enforcement.

But...what if both camps are actually ignoring a major piece of the picture? Today on the show, an overlooked cause and potential solution to the situation at our southern border that has nothing to do with the border at all.

Related episodes:
Why Venezuela is no longer in freefall
Welcome to the USA! Now get to work.

ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch.

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at

Music by
Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter.

100 years of immigration policies working to keep out immigrants

President Biden just issued an executive order that can temporarily shut down the U.S.-Mexico border to asylum seekers once a daily threshold of crossings is exceeded. On this episode, we dig into how the political panic surrounding what many are calling an immigration "crisis" at the border, isn't new. And in's a problem of our own creation.

Understanding the refugee experience, through a time-traveling British colonizer

This week Code Switch digs into The Ministry of Time, a new book that author Kailene Bradley describes as a "romance about imperialism." It focuses on real-life Victorian explorer Graham Gore, who died on a doomed Arctic expedition in 1847. But in this novel, time travel is possible and Gore is brought to the 21st century where he's confronted with the fact that everyone he's ever known is dead, that the British Empire has collapsed, and that perhaps he was a colonizer.