Blas Nunez-Neto

Photo of Blas Nunez-Neto
Senior Policy Researcher
Washington Office


M.G.A. in government administration, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in political science and English, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

More Experts


Blas Nuñez-Neto is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and an expert in homeland and border security, travel, and international trade policy. He is currently on a leave of absence. Previously, he served as a senior advisor to the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP); his portfolio included international affairs and relations, travel and trade facilitation and enforcement, and border management. He also served as a key member of the administration's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.

Prior to CBP, Nuñez-Neto worked for more than 11 years in Congress researching these issues for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Congressional Research Service (CRS). In the U.S. Senate, he was the chief advisor for the chairman on all issues related to border security, immigration enforcement, international screening, and preventing terrorist travel. He conducted oversight over federal agencies and programs, drafted and negotiated legislation, organized committee hearings, and authored committee reports and member statements.

At CRS, Nuñez-Neto provided expert analysis for Congress on border security, homeland security appropriations and management, juvenile justice, and offender reentry issues. He coordinated and led the CRS-wide Homeland Security Appropriations Team, testified before Congress, and presented at a number of conferences. He authored more than 50 reports and memoranda for Congress. 

Nuñez-Neto received his M.G.A. in government administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. in political science and English, with cum laude honors, from the University of Pennsylvania.


  • Asylum-seeking families from Central America trek through a field after crossing the Rio Grande River, Penitas, Texas, March 31, 2019, photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

    Common Sense Solutions to the Border Crisis

    After years of declines, apprehensions of undocumented immigrants at the U.S.–Mexico border are set for their largest year-on-year increase in history. There is, in fact, a humanitarian crisis on the border. How did this come about? More importantly, what can be done to address it?

    May 2, 2019 The Hill

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials detain migrants from Central America in San Diego County, California, January 16, 2019, photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters

    The Wall Is Not the Only Answer

    The president and Congress have just days to negotiate an agreement over border security, or the government may shut down once again. Until a bipartisan effort is made to reform U.S. immigration laws, policy options to address the incentives that cause people to risk their lives to come to the border to claim asylum will continue to be limited.

    Feb 8, 2019 The Hill

  • Daniel holds 1-year-old Daniela, both from El Salvador, as a group of migrants from Central America en route to the United States crossed through the Suchiate River into Mexico, November 2, 2018

    America's Overwhelmed Immigration System

    The Trump administration's options to deal with the surge of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. border appear to be limited. What policies could help address the problem?

    Dec 5, 2018 Dallas Morning News

  • Migrants from Central America enter the United States Border and Customs facility, where they are expected to apply for asylum, in Tijuana, Mexico, May 4, 2018

    New Border Policy Could Have Unintended Consequences

    The Trump administration has announced significant policy changes to deter migrants from coming to America. These changes will likely have a significant impact on border operations and the federal court system. But it's less clear whether they will have the intended impact of reducing illegal immigration.

    May 21, 2018 United Press International

  • People speak through the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, November 18, 2017

    Prioritizing Security at the U.S. Border with Mexico

    As debate on border security continues, policymakers would be wise to look beyond the heated rhetoric to clearly identify priorities and make informed decisions about how best to deploy finite resources to get the strongest security for the investment.

    Jan 29, 2018 U.S. News & World Report

  • The border fence between United States and Mexico

    The Big Border Security Question

    What does a secure U.S.-Mexico border look like? And what kind of security measures are needed? Despite investing billions of dollars since 9/11, it's still a struggle to measure how effective U.S. border security operations are.

    Dec 9, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Prototypes for a U.S. border wall are shown near completion behind the current border fence near Tijuana, Mexico, October 23, 2017

    Broken Border or Broken Policy?

    What does a secure land border look like? The U.S. government's inability to provide an answer has trapped America in a vicious cycle. Every decade, the perception that the U.S.-Mexico border isn't secure enough leads to big investments—with mixed results.

    Nov 17, 2017 U.S. News & World Report