E.g., 09/23/2014
E.g., 09/23/2014

Country Resource - United States

United States

US
  • Population.....................................................................318,892,103 (July 2014 est.)
  • Population growth rate ..............................................................0.77% (2014 est.)
  • Birth rate....................................................13.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Death rate...................................................8.15 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Net migration rate................................2.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Ethnic groups*..........white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)

* Note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Immigration has contributed to many of the economic, social, and political processes that are foundational to the United States as a nation since the first newcomers arrived over 400 years ago. After brushes with immigration reform that began in 2001 and continued in 2006 and 2007, the United States seems to be on the threshold of overhauling the legal immigration system in the most substantive way since 1965. This article provides a comprehensive overview of major legislation and events affecting U.S. immigration throughout history, legal and illegal immigration flows, postrecession immigration trends, and more.

Recent Activity

Across-the-board federal budget cuts went into effect on March 1, and effects are already being felt in a wide range of immigration functions. This article explores how the sequester has and will be impacting the U.S. immigration system, focusing on the federal government's recent decision to release immigration detainees on bond or to less costly supervision programs. It also takes a look at stateside processing of I-601 waivers, new policy guidance on immigration enforcement at community establishments, and more.

Immigration reform is squarely back on the agenda in Washington, with the unveiling of plans for major reform of the U.S. immigration system by the White House and a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight. This article explores the policy and political aspects of this fast-moving debate, examines an uptick in apprehensions of illegal crossers, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the new Department of Homeland Security rule on the filing of unlawful presence waivers, ICE's FY 2012 deportations and new detainer policy, and more.

Many countries, and in particular the United States, have begun granting asylum claims filed on the basis of sexual orientation in the past few decades. Despite the efforts by U.S. and other governments to reinforce protection for LGBT refugees, this community remains a marginalized group.

Immigrants accounted for 16 percent of the 58.8 million college-educated persons in the United States in 2011, with one in three immigrants holding a college degree. In this spotlight, MPI's Qingqing Ji and Jeanne Batalova provide a demographic and socioeconomic profile of college-educated natives and immigrants in the country.

MPI’s Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the ongoing debate surrounding driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants, new immigration bills in Congress, proposed rules governing ICE detention, and more.

The U.S. and Australian governments have long grappled with unwanted entries by unauthorized migrants and would-be asylum seekers. Both nations undertook efforts in 2012 to reform immigration detention policies and procedures that have generated significant scrutiny and criticism.

The United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada remain top destinations for international students seeking a world-class education. Yet even as these countries and their universities recruit international students—both for their tuition fees and their brain power—they undertook efforts in 2012 to crack down on student visa fraud and some also sought to tighten entry requirements. Other top student destinations, however, are focused on using their visa policy to actively encourage student retention.

Reform of the U.S. immigration system has been an elusive goal for more than a decade. But as 2012 draws to a close, it appears that substantive reform could be back on the agenda in 2013 for the Obama administration and Congress, powered there in significant measure by election results that held a message for both political parties. Even before the election, however, there were some signs of an emerging thaw.

The Obama administration in 2012 sidestepped the legislative gridlock that has existed in Washington for more than a decade over immigration policymaking and reframed the debate in a significant way with the launch of a program that provides a two-year reprieve from deportation for eligible unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

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Reports
October 2009

Recent developments in the United States (including the 2008 elections and shifts in organized labor’s stance on immigration) have created new openings for comprehensive immigration reform, possibly including a path to legal residence and citizenship for illegal immigrants. But the author argues that the extent of this opening may be overstated by some advocates.

Reports
April 2011

Migrant-sending and migrant-receiving countries rarely collaborate on migration issues because the structure of global migration systems ensures they often disagree about core policy issues. This report shows that migration collaboration makes sense when states share common goals they cannot achieve on their own.

Reports
July 2012

This report traces how the American public and the U.S. government have responded to the diversification of migrant streams and the increasing proportion of illegal immigration in recent decades. It outlines the anxieties triggered by this immigration, the policy response at the national and state levels, and the implications of the second generation over the long run.

Reports
June 2013

This report examines the high school completion, college access, and postsecondary success of immigrant youth (ages 16 to 26) in Washington State, where one in four young adults is an immigrant or child of an immigrant. The report provides one of the first cross-system analyses of the educational experiences of first-generation (foreign-born) and second-generation (U.S.-born with immigrant parents) youth in the state.

Reports
June 2005

This report provides the first analysis of the Department of Homeland Security’s “One Face at the Border” initiative designed to integrate the immigration, customs, and agriculture functions of United States border management under the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

Reports
October 2008

This pocket guide compiles some of the most credible, accessible, and user-friendly government and non-governmental data sources pertaining to U.S. and international migration. The guide also includes additional links to relevant organizations, programs, research, and deliverables, along with a glossary of frequently used immigration terms.

Reports
October 2009

Voters’ brains connect words, phrases, images, values, and emotions, and these connections — known as networks of association — influence their receptiveness to political messages, often far more strongly than facts and rational arguments. This report shows that to reach those who have not yet made up their mind on a particular issue, advocates and leaders need to understand the associations a term such as “immigrant” spark in the mind of the electorate and strengthen positive associations while weakening negative ones.

Reports
May 2011

Immigration is a prominent part of the United States’ DNA, despite concerns about immigrants’ ability to integrate. An examination of recent immigrant inflows shows newcomers to the United States are integrating well, based on language proficiency, socioeconomic attainment, political participation, residential locale, and social interaction indicators.

Reports
September 2012

This report examines the role of naturalization as indicator and facilitator of successful integration in the United States. It examines why immigrants decide to naturalize and why many of those eligible to naturalize are unable or choose not to do so.

Reports
June 2013

Low-income immigrant children are less likely than their U.S.-born citizen counterparts to see a doctor even when they are insured. Similarly, immigrant adults are less likely to use emergency rooms than low-income natives. This report examines health care coverage and usage among immigrants and the U.S. born.

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Fact Sheets
March 2013

A timeline of key immigration laws and policy developments between 1986 and 2013.

Fact Sheets
October 2003

This fact sheet provides an estimate and brief description of the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States in 2003.

Fact Sheets
February 2008

This fact sheet examines the dramatic increase in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processing times for naturalization applications resulting from an overall increase in applications during fiscal year 2007.

Fact Sheets
March 2013

A timeline of all major U.S. immigration laws from 1790 - 2013.

Fact Sheets
November 2003

Canada and Mexico’s importance to the United States is more than simply a border-state phenomenon. The trading relationship between United States and Canada represents the largest bilateral flow of income, goods, and services in the world. Meanwhile, Mexico is the United States’ second largest trading partner. Between NAFTA coming into effect and 2003, two-way trade between Canada and Mexico more than doubled.

Fact Sheets
October 2008

This fact sheet provides a demographic portrait of foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces. By analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey, this fact sheet examines foreign-born veterans' countries of origin, states of residence, and periods of service.

Fact Sheets
August 2013

This fact sheet offers a detailed review of the comprehensive immigration reform legislation approved by the U.S. Senate in June 2013 and compares its major provisions with those of the five targeted immigration bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee.

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Policy Briefs
March 2007

This brief investigates the relationship between immigration and the decline in both the overall number and share of native-born workers in the low-wage and lower-skilled labor force.

Policy Briefs
June 2002

For more than a century, policymakers and practitioners have debated the structure and purpose of the U.S. immigration system, but in the aftermath of recent breaches the momentum necessary for reform has arrived. A look at the challenges the INS faced and proposals and next steps.

Policy Briefs
October 2006

This report discusses the major features of the proposed 2006 DREAM Act and provides MPI’s estimates of the number of young persons likely to be eligible for immigration relief if the DREAM Act is signed into law.

Policy Briefs
June 2013

This brief examines how the Senate's 2013 comprehensive immigration reform legislation would reshape the legal immigration system through its admission policies and creation of a new merit-based visa stream and points-based system. It also offers estimates of future migration flows, where they can be determined.

Policy Briefs
April 2003

On November 25, 2002, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, which effectively overhauled the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and called for a massive reorganization of immigration functions under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS).This report outlines key changes incurred, highlights points of concern and offers policy recommendations aimed at remedying some of these concerns.

Policy Briefs
May 2007

This report offers a series of original charts that depict the characteristics of recent immigrants who are representative of those likely to be affected by the proposed merit-based points system for selecting permanent immigrants to the United States.

Policy Briefs
August 2013

This issue brief analyzes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides a two-year reprieve from deportation for eligible unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children. The study finds that 49 percent of the eligible population had applied during the program's first year, and reveals wide variation in application rates across states and national-origin groups.

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