Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America
This final report by the Regional Migration Study Group outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and much of Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. The Study Group, co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President and Foreign Minister Eduardo Stein, offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda for the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras - focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness.
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Detailed Review of the 2013 Senate Legislation and Side-by-Side Comparison with 2006, 2007 Senate Bills
This issue brief offers a detailed review of major provisions included in S.744, the immigration legislation introduced in the Senate by a bipartisan group of senators, and compares those provisions with bills considered by the Senate in 2006 and 2007. Topics reviewed include border security and enforcement; creation of Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status for unauthorized immigrants, the DREAM Act, agricultural workers program, and paths to lawful permanent residence; immigrant integration; creation of a new merit-based visa and adjustments to preference categories for family- and employment-based immigration; employment verification, detention and immigration court provisions, and more.
Side-by-Side Comparison of 2013 Senate Immigration Framework with 2006 and 2007 Senate Legislation
The Migration Policy Institute has completed an analysis of the major provisions in the 2013 framework, comparing them to provisions of the legislation the Senate considered in 2006 and 2007.
Legal Immigration Policies for Low-Skilled Foreign Workers
The current US legal immigration system includes few visas for low-skilled workers, and employers have relied heavily on an unauthorized workforce in many low-skilled occupations. This issue brief explains the questions that policymakers must grapple with when designing programs for admission of low-skill workers, for temporary as well as permanent entry. The brief focuses in part on the recent agreement by the US Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO regarding admission of future low-skilled workers.
Immigration Reform: A Long Road to Citizenship and Insurance Coverage
In an article in the April issue of Health Affairs, Migration Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Randy Capps and Senior Vice President Michael Fix examine the key questions surrounding legalization and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With Congress poised to consider a major overhaul of US immigration laws and legalization for many of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants, how legalization affects implementation of the ACA is a key policy question. The article examines current coverage rates for unauthorized immigrants, eligibility for coverage under expansion of Medicaid, the distribution of costs of uncompensated care, and options for covering those who will remain uninsured under ACA.
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Going to the Back of the Line: A Primer on Lines, Visa Categories, and Wait Times
By Claire Bergeron
Contrary to popular belief, there is not one “line” that leads to lawful permanent residence; current immigration law provides multiple paths to permanent residency. This brief, the first in a new series of issue briefs related to the ongoing comprehensive immigration reform debate, examines who is in the “line,” what are the various visa categories involved in family- and employment-based immigration, wait times, countries most affected by the backlogs, and more. The brief, and MPI’s extensive research and data offerings that are directly on point to the current debate, can be found at a new online resource: www.migrationpolicy.org/cir.
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Unauthorized Immigrant Parents and Their Children’s Development
By Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Jenya Kholoptseva
According to recent estimates, 5.5 million children in the United States — all but 1 million of them US-born — reside with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. Given that they constitute about 8 percent of all US children, their well-being holds important implications for US society. Emerging research suggests that having an unauthorized immigrant parent is associated with lower cognitive skills in early childhood, lower levels of general positive development in middle childhood, higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms during adolescence, and fewer years of schooling. This report, co-authored by the Academic Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, explores the research and suggests policies and programs to reduce or mitigate these developmental risks.
American Prospect cover article: The Fundamentals of Immigration Reform
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou
In the cover story in the March/April 2013 edition of The American Prospect magazine¸ MPI’s President tackles some of the major challenges Congress must resolve if it is to create an immigration system in the national interest — now and for the future. The article also provides an overview of the policies, politics, and errors of omission and commission that have created the antiquated, inflexible immigration system that the United States has today.
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Immigrants in a Changing Labor Market: Responding to Economic Needs
Edited by Michael Fix, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Madeleine Sumption
This volume, which brings together research by leading economists and labor market specialists, examines the role immigrants play in the U.S. workforce, how they fare in good and bad economic times, and the effects they have on native-born workers and the labor sectors in which they are engaged. The book traces the powerful economic forces at play in today’s globalized world and includes policy prescriptions for making the American immigration system more responsive to labor market needs.
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Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery
By Doris Meissner, Donald M. Kerwin, Muzaffar Chishti, and Claire Bergeron
The US government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, and has allocated nearly $187 billion for immigration enforcement since 1986. Deportations have reached record highs, border apprehensions 40-year lows, and more noncitizens than ever before are in immigration detention. The report traces the evolution of the immigration enforcement system, particularly in the post-9/11 era, in terms of budgets, personnel, enforcement actions, and technology – analyzing how individual programs and policies have resulted in a complex, interconnected, cross-agency system.
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Crime and Violence in Mexico and Central America: An Evolving but Incomplete US Policy Response
By Andrew Selee, Cynthia J. Arnson, and Eric L. Olson
Amid dramatic increases in crime and violence in Mexico and Central America, the US government has significantly increased its attention to public security issues in the region since 2007, with the Merida Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiative. The US policy response has been hampered to an extent, however, by US and regional obstacles. The authors suggest the policy emphasis has begun to shift in important ways, with more attention paid to addressing the citizen security crisis — a move away from the earlier near-total focus on combating drug trafficking and transnational crime.
In the Lurch between Government and Chaos: Unconsolidated Democracy in Mexico
By Luis Rubio
Democratic transitions in Mexico and parts of Central America over the past two decades have tested the limits of their governing institutions, with old-regime institutions not being overhauled to keep pace with modern, complex challenges. The old mechanisms to control and contain crime and violence have proven too primitive; organized crime has taken over key activities and corruption has become more entrenched at various levels of government. The challenge is to build modern, competent democratic institutions capable of engaging in good governance.
The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States
By Madeleine Sumption and Sarah Flamm
Beyond imparting political and social rights, naturalization appears to confer economic gains for immigrants in the United States, with a wage premium of at least 5 percent – even after accounting for the fact that naturalized immigrants have higher levels of education, better language skills, and more work experience in the United States than noncitizens. More than 8 million legal immigrants in the United States are eligible to apply for citizenship but have not done so. Naturalization rates in the United States are lower than most other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, the report notes.
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Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy
By Jeanne Batalova and Michelle Mittelstadt
As many as 1.76 million unauthorized immigrants under age 31 who were brought to the United States as children, a population known as DREAMers, could gain a two-year reprieve from deportation, according to updated MPI estimates that reflect more detailed eligibility guidelines for the deferred action policy being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. The Fact Sheet offers estimates on the age, educational attainment, state of residence, country and region of birth, workforce participation, and gender of prospective beneficiaries.
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Contested Ground: Immigration in the United States
By Michael Jones-Correa
Though historically a country of immigrants, the United States has seen its demographic landscape altered in new and important ways as a result of the changing nature of immigration flows. In recent decades, immigration has come increasingly from Latin America and significant numbers of immigrants are unauthorized. The spread of immigration beyond traditional immigrant destinations to communities with little prior experience of migration has sparked anxiety among the American public. This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series on national identity in the age of migration, traces public sentiment and immigration policy developments of recent decades.
MPI Releases Estimates of Unauthorized Immigrant Population Potentially Eligible for Prosecutorial Discretion
As many as 1.4 million unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children could gain relief from deportation under the Obama administration’s grant of deferred action, according to new MPI estimates for the nation and top states of residence.
Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States
Jeanne Batalova and Alicia Lee
Interested in information on annual naturalization trends, illegal immigration, the geographical distribution of immigrants in the United States, current and historical shares, and a host of other topics? MPI's Jeanne Batalova and Alicia Lee have assembled the latest, most interesting data on immigrants and immigration into one easy-to-use resource.
Through the Prism of National Security: Major Immigration Policy and Program Changes in the Decade since 9/11
By Michelle Mittelstadt, Burke Speaker, Doris Meissner, and Muzaffar Chishti
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 prompted the profound realignment of the US immigration system, with national security and enforcement the dominant lens through which programs and budgets have been shaped over the past decade. The post-9/11 era has witnessed the largest government reorganization since World War II; increased information sharing and data collection across international, federal, state, and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies; the broad use of nationality-based screening and enforcement initiatives; the expansion of immigrant detention policies; and exponential increases in funding for homeland security-related immigration programs. This Fact Sheet details the policy, programmatic, budget, and manpower changes that have happened in the immigration arena as an outgrowth of the 9/11 attacks.
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US Immigration Policy since 9/11: Understanding the Stalemate over Comprehensive Immigration Reform
By Marc R. Rosenblum
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks derailed what had seemed to be a turning point in US immigration policy: A move away from the assertive enforcement policies that had held sway since the mid-1990s. But just days after the US and Mexican presidents had agreed to a framework that included a temporary worker program, legalization, and new border security measures, 9/11 dramatically reshaped the policy debate. This report reviews the history of immigration legislation since then, including new enforcement mandates enacted immediately after the attacks and the unsuccessful efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Executive Action on Immigration: Six Ways to Make the System Work Better
By Donald M. Kerwin, Doris Meissner, Margie McHugh
While sweeping reform to fix a US immigration system widely acknowledged as broken has taken a backseat politically, opportunities exist within the executive branch to improve the ways in which the nation’s existing immigration laws and policies are administered. Among the report’s recommendations: establishing uniform enforcement priorities and defining what constitutes effective border control, strengthening immigrant integration policy creation and implementation, allowing applicants for immigrant visas to file in the United States, and making use of prosecutorial discretion in removal proceeding filings.
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E-Verify: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Proposals for Reform
By Marc R. Rosenblum
With Congress likely to consider new mandates involving E-Verify, the currently voluntary employment eligibility verification system, this Insight examines the strengths and weaknesses of E-Verify, which has grown dramatically in recent years. It also discusses proposals for reform, including adding biometric screening to the system.
Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women, and Children
By Marc R. Rosenblum, Randy Capps, and Serena Yi-Ying Lin
Requirements for earned legalization (such as English proficiency, employment, continuous presence, and monetary fines) could have different effects on the ability of unauthorized men, women, and children to gain legal status. This Policy Brief examines requirements proposed in the five major legalization bills proposed by Congress since 2006. Analysis shows that language requirements, depending on how they are structured, could exclude the largest number of unauthorized immigrants, with between 3.3 million and 5.8 million unauthorized adults unable to pass the English language tests contemplated by two recent bills. Employment rules would exclude the next-largest share of unauthorized immigrants and would fall especially hard on women, who are less likely than unauthorized men to be in the workforce; followed by continuous presence requirements, which would exclude many children, who are likely to have lived in the country for less time than unauthorized adults.
Immigrant Legalization in the United States and European Union: Policy Goals and Program Design
By Marc R. Rosenblum
Immigrant legalization, while highly controversial on both sides of the Atlantic, is a critical and widely used tool for managing illegal immigration. Lawmakers seeking to design effective legalization regimes must balance competing goals: inclusiveness versus avoidance of rewarding illegal behavior, and assuring a high rate of participation without admitting ineligible migrants or encouraging future illegal migration. This Policy Brief, the third in a series on legalization, examines the legalization debate and discusses policy parameters that characterize legalization programs, such as qualifications, requirements, benefits, and program design and implementation.
More than IRCA: US Legalization Programs and the Current Policy Debate
By Donald M. Kerwin
Legalization is a policy option that has been used with some regularity by governments in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Notwithstanding the commonly held perception that the United States has had only one legalization – in 1986 – legalization has been an enduring and necessary feature of US immigration law and policy since the 1920s. This Policy Brief, the second in a series on how to shape and administer an effective legalization program, provides an historical overview of US legalization programs, statistics, a primer on the different types of programs, and discussion of the current debate.
Structuring and Implementing an Immigrant Legalization Program: Registration as the First Step
By Donald M. Kerwin and Laureen Laglagaron
While comprehensive immigration reform may have moved to the back burner, Congress and the administration eventually are likely to revisit legalization as a serious policy option. This report, the first in a series on how to shape and administer an effective legalization program, argues that a registration process that rapidly identifies, screens, and processes potential applicants should be an essential first step to any legalization. The Policy Brief proposes intensive applicant screening and documentation requirements, describes the application process, and addresses the role of community-based organizations and other stakeholders in helping administer a successful program.
The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship
By Jennifer Van Hook with Michael Fix
Repeal of birthright citizenship for the US-born children of unauthorized immigrants would expand the unauthorized population by at least 5 million over the next four decades. Employing standard demographic techniques, this analysis suggests that there would be 4.7 million unauthorized immigrants as of 2050 who had been born in the United States — 1 million of them with US-born mother and father — if birthright citizenship were denied to children born to parents who are both unauthorized immigrants. While some policymakers are discussing changes to birthright citizenship as a means to reduce illegal immigration, the report makes clear such a move could in fact significantly increase the size of the unauthorized population.
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DREAM vs. Reality: An Analysis of Potential DREAM Act Beneficiaries
Slightly more than 2.1 million unauthorized immigrant youth and young adults could be eligible to apply for legal status under the DREAM Act legislation pending in Congress, though perhaps fewer than 40 percent would obtain legal status because of barriers limiting their ability to take advantage of the legislation's educational and military service routes to legalization. This MPI analysis offers the most recent and detailed estimates of potential DREAM Act beneficiaries by age, education levels, gender, state of residence and likelihood of gaining legalization.
Updated Estimates | Download Report | Press Release
Side-by-Side Comparison of 2009 House CIR ASAP Bill with 2006, 2007 Senate Legislation
MPI analysis, title by title, of the major provisions in the 2009 Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act introduced in the House and comparison with legislation considered by the Senate in 2006 and 2007.
New Data Guide On Finding, Using the Most Accurate, Recent Immigration Data Resources
The Immigration: Data Matters guide shows where to locate some of the most credible, up-to-date US and global immigration-related data compiled by government and non-governmental sources. The online guide, also available in hard copy, includes clickable links to resources that offer immigrant population estimates; the size of the unauthorized immigrant population; English proficiency rates; the share of immigrants in the workforce; education, health, and income and poverty statistics relating to immigrants; and other data.
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