Newcomers to the Aloha State: Challenges and Prospects for Mexicans in Hawai`i By Jeanne Batalova, Monisha Das Gupta, and Sue Patricia Haglund
The Mexican-origin community in Hawaiʻi, which represents a small but growing population in this multi-ethnic state, in many ways has different outcomes than Mexican immigrants and US citizens of Mexican ancestry who live in the continental United States. Hawaiʻi’s Mexican-origin residents have higher employment, reduced poverty, higher levels of English proficiency and educational attainment, and lower incidences of unauthorized status than their Mexican-origin counterparts on the U.S. continent, according to findings of this report, which is based on a qualitative survey, in-depth interviews, and analysis of Census Bureau data. Download Report | Press Release
Attracting and Selecting from the Global Talent Pool — Policy Challenges By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
More than ever before, human capital is recognized as the one resource that can propel firms and economies to the top tier of competitiveness. Despite a premium on high-quality education, training, and the constant honing of skills, domestic education and workforce training systems in many countries have struggled to keep up with employer demand. At the same time, the global talent pool has grown enormously as emerging economies invest heavily in education. With substantial increases in the supply and demand for skilled workers, governments will have to think carefully about how they engage with the global talent pool, and how they can select most effectively from it. Download Report
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at the One-Year Mark: A Profile of Currently Eligible Youth and Applicants By Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker, and Randy Capps with James D. Bachmeier and Erin Cox
Using an innovative new methodology to analyze Census Bureau data, this MPI issue brief estimates that up to 1.9 million unauthorized immigrants under age 31 are potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation — with 1.09 million currently meeting the age, education, length of residence, and other criteria; 423,000 appearing to fulfill all but the education requirements; and 392,000 who are too young to apply now but would become eligible once they reach age 15 if they stay in school or obtain a high school degree or equivalent. This brief provides the most up-to-date estimates of the current and prospective DACA population by educational attainment, English proficiency, state of residence, country of origin, age, gender, labor force participation, poverty, and parental status. Download Brief | Press Release
Is the United States Bad for Children’s Health? Risk and Resilience among Young Children of Immigrants By Jennifer Van Hook, Nancy S. Landale, Marianne M. Hillemeier
Nearly one-fourth of the children in the United States under age 18 have at least one immigrant parent. While children in some national-origin groups appear to be adjusting well to the United States and may even enjoy better health outcomes than children of the US born, other origin groups face poorer socioeconomic circumstances, have more limited access to public benefits and services, and therefore face greater challenges in the course of their health and development. This report examines the research, focusing in particular on the largest and most vulnerable group of children in the United States today: the children of Mexican immigrants, who in 2011 accounted for 39 percent of the 18.7 million children of immigrants. Download Report
Preparing the Children of Immigrants for Early Academic Success By Robert Crosnoe
There is a well-documented immigrant paradox in education, with children from immigrant families faring better academically and behaviorally than their families’ socioeconomic circumstances suggest that they will. The evidence, however, is largely drawn from high school students. And data on the performance of children entering elementary school are more mixed, raising concerns about the future trajectories of young children of immigrants, especially during the crucial transition between prekindergarten and elementary school. This report examines three types of educational and health policy interventions that may reduce disparities between the children of US-born parents and their immigrant counterparts. Download Report
Health Care for Immigrant Families: Current Policies and Issues By Leighton Ku and Mariellen Jewers
Low-income immigrant children are less likely than their US-born counterparts to see a doctor — even when they are insured. Similarly, immigrant adults are less likely to use emergency rooms than low-income natives, according to analysis of Current Population Survey and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data. The report, which examines health care coverage and usage among immigrants and the US born, finds that 44 percent of noncitizen immigrants in the United States are uninsured, compared to 13 percent of native-born citizens. Download Report | Press Release
Remaking the US Green Card System: Legal Immigration under the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 By Madeleine Sumption and Claire Bergeron
The legal immigration system proposed under the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform legislation would retain a strong emphasis on family unification while growing skills-based immigration more than fourfold, contrary to the perception that a new focus on employment-based immigration would come at the expense of family-based immigration. This issue brief examines how the Senate bill would reshape the legal immigration system through its admission policies, creation of a new merit-based visa stream and points-based system, and re-ordering of the balance between permanent and temporary visa programs. It also offers some estimates of future flows, where they can be determined. Download Brief | Press Release
A Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Health Coverage Profile of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States How to treat the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States is a key component of the immigration debate underway in Congress. This brief provides new data on the characteristics of this population, including income levels, workforce participation rates, English language proficiency, and health care coverage. The brief draws on an innovative new methodology that uses data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Survey of Income and Program Participation.
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. Download Brief
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. Download Brief
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. Download Brief | Press Release
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. Download Report
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. Purchase the book | Press Release
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. Read Article | Press Release
Application Period for the 2013 E Pluribus Unum Prizes Open through April 12 The application period for the 2013 E Pluribus Unum Prizes national awards program honoring exceptional US initiatives that promote immigrant integration is open through 9 p.m. ET April 12, 2013. The awards recognize outstanding immigrant integration initiatives of all types, whether led by nonprofit or community organizations, businesses, public agencies, religious groups, or individuals. In 2012, the program awarded three $50,000 prizes and a Corporate Leadership Award. Visit the E Pluribus Unum Prizes website to learn more about the program, past winners, and how to apply. More Details
Strengthening Health Systems in North and Central America: What Role for Migration? By Allison Squires and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
International nurse migration is a multibillion-dollar global phenomenon. Historically, Mexicans and Central Americans have not played a significant part in the migration of nurses to the United States. This report examines the health care sector in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States, reviewing their health care systems, demand for services, epidemiological profiles, and demographics. Using migration to meet health care demand is complex; it does, however, hold the potential for benefits to health care systems, economies, and patient outcomes. Download Report | Spanish-Language Brief
Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labor Markets in the United States, Mexico, and Central America By Philip Martin and J. Edward Taylor
Mexico is in the transitional phase of being both farm labor exporter and importer: serving as the major supplier of hired labor to US farms but increasingly also relying on farm workers from Guatemala. This report examines the labor market dynamics of the region, focusing on changes in the volume and composition of production, the supermarket revolution in Latin America, training and education changes, and more. It assesses the implications of these changes on workers and migration. Download Report | Press Release
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. Download Report | Press Release | Report-in-Brief | Listen to Audio | NRO Column
Manufacturing in the United States, Mexico, and Central America: Implications for Competitiveness and Migration By Peter A. Creticos and Eleanor Sohnen
The manufacturing sector is a significant source of employment for workers from Mexico and Central America's Northern Triangle — with an estimated 17 percent employed in manufacturing in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and immigrants from these countries making up 8 percent of the US manufacturing workforce. This report examines how aggressive manufacturing-attraction strategies have benefited the economies of Mexico, and to a lesser extent, the Northern Triangle. Yet the achievements of the maquiladora development strategy have masked important flaws that threaten to stymie the promise of even greater economic growth. The report outlines the need for the regional workforce to gain the skills to compete with counterparts in advanced manufacturing regions such as northern Europe and Japan, as well as for credentialing standards, training systems, and outcome measures that are comparable to those in industrialized economies. Download Report
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. Download Report
Young Children of Black Immigrants in America: Changing Flows, Changing Faces Edited by Randy Capps and Michael Fix
The US child population is rapidly changing and diversifying, in large part because of immigration. Today, nearly one in four US children under age 18 is the child of an immigrant. While research has focused on the largest of these groups, far less academic attention has been paid to the changing Black child population, with the children of Black immigrants representing an increasing share of the US Black child population. This interdisciplinary volume, with chapters by leading researchers, examines the health, well-being, school readiness, and academic achievement of children in Black immigrant families, most with parents from Africa and the Caribbean. The volume explores the migration and settlement experiences of Black immigrants to the United States, focusing on contextual factors such as family circumstances, parenting behaviors, social supports, and school climate that influence outcomes during early childhood and the elementary and middle-school years. Its findings hold important policy implications for education, health care, child care, early childhood development, immigrant integration, and refugee assistance. Purchase a Copy
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. Download Report | Press Release
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. Download Report
The Relationship Between Immigration and Nativism in Europe and North America By Cas Mudde
Far-right parties across Europe are gaining momentum, as witnessed by their recent successes at the ballot box in Greece, France, and elsewhere. While immigration is thought to be a major factor fueling the parties’ rise, this report finds that although there is clearly a relationship, the connection is not as straightforward as is often assumed. The report examines the electoral performance of far-right parties in Europe and North America since 1980, finding that high levels of immigration do not automatically lead to more votes for radical-right parties. Download Report | Press Release
Profile of Immigrants in Napa County By Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix
This report offers a comprehensive profile of immigration to Napa County, examining the important role that immigrant workers play in the Napa Valley’s wine-related sectors and their fiscal contributions and costs. The authors examine demographic changes in Napa County, tracing immigrants’ origins, economic well-being, education, residence and home ownership, tax payments and public expenditures, and more. Download Report | Executive Summary
Diverse Streams: African Migration to the United States By Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix
Black African immigrants represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the US immigrant population, increasing by about 200 percent during the 1980s and 1990s and by 100 percent during the 2000s. This report finds African immigrants generally fare well on integration indicators, with college completion rates that greatly exceed those for most other immigrant groups and US natives. Despite higher levels of human capital, high employment rates, and strong English skills, African immigrants’ earnings lag those of the native born. Download Report | Press Release | Research Project
A Demographic Profile of Black Caribbean Immigrants in the United States By Kevin J.A. Thomas
Immigration from the Caribbean to the United States is a relatively recent phenomenon, beginning largely after changes to US immigration law in 1965 that placed a new priority on family-based migration. This report finds that despite relatively low educational attainment, English-speaking Black Caribbean immigrants earn more than Black African immigrants. This earnings gap may be explained in part by the fact that Caribbean immigrants, who account for 1.7 million of the nation’s nearly 40 million immigrants, tend to have been in the United States longer. Download Report | Press Release | Research Project
Up for Grabs: The Gains and Prospects of First- and Second-Generation Young Adults By Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Youth and young adults from immigrant families represent one in four people in the United States between the ages of 16-26 and account for half of the growth of the young adult population between 1995 and 2010. This report profiles the nation’s 11.3 million first- and second-generation young adults, finding substantial generational progress in terms of high school graduation, college enrollment, and ability to earn family-sustaining wages. Second-generation Hispanic women are faring particularly well, with college enrollment rates equal to those of third-generation non-Hispanic white women. However, they are not graduating from college at the same rate or on the same timeline because of family, work, or economic reasons. The report sketches how postsecondary education, workforce development, and language training programs could better meet the needs of this population, which will assume a greater role as the US workforce ages. Read Report | Watch Video | Listen to Podcast | View Powerpoints
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. Download Fact Sheet | Press Release | Listen to Podcast
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. Download Report
US Immigration Policy and Mexican/Central American Migration Flows: Then and Now By Marc R. Rosenblum and Kate Brick
Migration from Mexico and Central America’s “Northern Triangle” region (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) to the United States has increased significantly in the past four decades, from less than 1 million immigrants in the 1970s to 14 million today. Propelled by difficult economic and social conditions at home, massive opportunity differentials, and strengthening social networks, these regional migration flows have been shaped by evolving policies and practices. This report examines the push-and-pull factors of migration in the region from three major migration periods: the mostly laissez faire policies prior to the 1930s, the large-scale Bracero temporary worker program before and after World War II, and the mostly illegal system that emerged after the Bracero Program’s end in 1964. Download Report
The Economic Integration of Immigrants in the United States: Long- and Short-Term Perspectives
By Aaron Terrazas
The United States has provided excellent economic opportunities for generations of immigrants, who are set to play an increasingly significant role in the US economy in coming decades as more baby boomers retire. Because many immigrants are concentrated in low-wage or low-skill jobs, the 2007-09 economic crisis accentuated their vulnerabilities in the labor market, with a risk that the crisis could prove to be a turning point in their future upward socioeconomic mobility. While historically, in the absence of government integration policies, the workplace has played a key role in immigration integration, it remains unclear if this approach will continue to ensure strong economic integration moving forward. Download Report
Mexican and Central American Immigrants in the United States By Kate Brick, A. E. Challinor, and Marc R. Rosenblum
The Mexican and Central American immigrant population in the United States has increased by a factor of 20 since 1970 — a period during which the overall US immigrant population increased four-fold. This report examines the age, educational, and workforce characteristics of immigrants and the second generation from Mexico and Central America, finding that these immigrants are younger, more likely to be male, and more likely to be married with children than the US born or other immigrant groups. A high proportion are unauthorized, with key implications for their economic and social status and the overall immigration debate. Download Report
Eight Policies to Boost the Economic Contribution of Employment-Based Immigration By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
Immigration can be a powerful tool for supporting a country’s economic growth and prosperity, but its success in accomplishing that objective depends on well-designed and carefully implemented immigration policies that deliberately and strategically facilitate immigration’s economic contribution. This policy memo, drawing on experiences from Asia, Europe, North America, and the Pacific region, presents eight strategies to create effective and efficient economic-stream immigration systems. Download Memo
The Role of Immigration in Fostering Competitiveness in the United States By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
Immigration is an
piece of any strategy to boost economic growth and prosperity. The United States has a natural advantage in attracting the world’s most talented workers. But employment-based immigration makes up too small a proportion of overall US permanent immigration, and US policy is inflexible in the face of changing circumstances, including the growth of other skill-focused immigration programs across the developed world. This report examines effective strategies to ensure that immigration policy facilitates US economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness. Download Report | European Competitiveness Report
MPI, Wilson Center Convene High-Level Study Group on Migration and Economic Competitiveness
MPI and the Latin American Program/Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center have convened a Regional Migration Study Group to develop and promote a long-term, strategic vision for building up the region’s human-capital infrastructure as a means of improving the lives of the region’s people; laying the foundation for stronger and more equitable economic growth; helping foster a more economically competitive region; and making migration relations within the region normal and ordinary, rather than a subject of constant tension. The Study Group is co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein; and its members include high-ranking former officials, civil-society leaders, and immigration specialists in the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The first report of the three-year initiative assesses the implications for regional migration resulting from the rapidly evolving demographic and human-capital profiles of Mexico and Central America as well as the longstanding shifts in the US economy and labor market that were accelerated by the recent economic crisis.
Download Report | Press Release | Learn More about Study Group
Immigrants in the United States: How Well Are They Integrating into Society?
By Tomás R. Jiménez
Even though immigration is intertwined with the history of the United States, fears about immigrants' ability to integrate remain an area of concern. Yet an examination of immigrants’ integration across five major indicators – language proficiency, socioeconomic attainment, political participation, residential locale, and social interaction with host communities – shows they are integrating reasonably well. Remarkably, the process has unfolded almost entirely without policy intervention. The author examines the laissez faire policy approach to integration, raising concerns about how the state of public education and size of the US unauthorized population may remain powerful barriers to immigrants' full social, economic, and political integration. Download Report | European Integration Challenges Report
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. Download Report | Press Release | Video | Audio/Podcast
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. Download Report
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. Download Report
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. Download Report
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. Download Report
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. Download Report | Press Release
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
Aligning Temporary Immigration Visas with US Labor Market Needs: The Case for Provisional Visas
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Doris Meissner, Marc R. Rosenblum, and Madeleine Sumption
Reform of a rigid employment-based visa system that is out of sync with the needs of employers, the US economy, US society, and immigrants alike must be part of effective comprehensive immigration reform legislation. In this report, MPI recommends creation of a new stream of visas known as provisional visas, which would bridge temporary and permanent admissions to the United States for work purposes in a predictable and transparent way. The authors make the case that the concept hits the sweet spot in balancing the two main goals of labor market immigration policy: It supports economic growth and competitiveness while protecting the wages and interests of US workers; and it facilitates the social and economic integration of immigrants. Download Report | Press Release
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. Download Report | Press Release | Purchase Hard Copy
Mandatory Verification in the States: A Policy Research Agenda
By Michael Fix, Doris Meissner, Randy Capps, Elizabeth Dennison, and Roberto Suro
In this report, prepared for US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Office of Policy and Strategy, the authors examine the concept of mandatory employment verification, the devolution of immigration enforcement to state governments in recent years, and the E-Verify system. They sketch a research agenda comprised of employer surveys, case studies, polling, and data analysis to determine employer compliance, population movement, changes in public attitudes, and other issues surrounding mandatory employment verification. Download Report
MPI has compiled in one easy-to-access location its key research and data resources on issues, policies, enforcement programs, and more that relate to the immigration reform debate underway in Washington. Visit www.MigrationPolicy.org/cir to browse MPI’s research and data offerings and for the new CIR issue briefs series.
MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou discusses proposed legislation to provide green cards for STEM graduates during a recent appearance on BioCentury This Week.
MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner discusses US immigration policy during the Fireside Forum on Foreign Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The other participants are Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera and Douglas Savage, Assistant Director of the Institute of World Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Tackling Brain Waste among Immigrant Professionals: Initiatives to Improve the Recognition of Foreign Qualifications This event marks the release of MPI's final project report on international cooperation for the mutual recognition of foreign credentials. Report authors Demetrios Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption of MPI, will be joined by Constantinos Fotakis, former Employment and Social Analysis Advisor in the European Commission; Éric Théroux, Quebec's Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy, Francophone, and Multilateral Affairs; Johan E. Uvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Strategic Initiatives in the US Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education, and Nikki Cicerani, CEO of Upwardly Global, a organization that works to connect skilled immigrants and employers.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
MPI Conference Room
10th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference The 10th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured keynotes by US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as well as panel discussions covering a range of key immigration topics. Among the topics of discussion: Prospects for legislative action, policy options, and political mobilization; opportunities for action on immigration issues absent legislative movement; lessons learned from past immigration legislation and programs, including the Immigration Reform and Control Act and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; and an assessment of current conditions at the US border and considerations for future border and immigration policy.
November 1, 2013 Listen to/Watch Panels & Speeches
The Ongoing Challenge of Ensuring Human Rights for Migrants in the European Union and United States In the wake of the Lampedusa tragedy, Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, discusses the state of rights protection in Europe as well as his agency’s role in this evolving arena, while ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project Founder and former National Director Lucas Guttentag, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson, and US Justice Department Civil Rights Division Senior Counsel Becky Monroe discuss the US immigrant-rights movement.
October 21, 2013 Listen to the Event | View Video
Sharing Lessons, Sharing Responsibility: Combating Human Trafficking
A discussion on Dutch, US, and international experiences in preventing human trafficking, with speakers Herman Bolhaar, Chair of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service; Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen, National Rapporteur for Human Trafficking in The Netherlands; Jane Nady Sigmon, Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, US Department of State; Jack Blakey, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, Cook County, Illinois State Attorney’s Office; and MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou.
April 25, 2013
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Listen to Audio
The Fundamentals of Immigration Reform
MPI's President, Demetrios Papademetriou, and the Editor-in-Chief of The American Prospect, Kit Rachlis, discuss the policies and politics that have created the United States' immigration system and how to create a modern-day, flexible immigration system suited for 21st century competitiveness. Watch Video | Read Related Article
Young Children of Black Immigrants in America: Changing Flows, Changing Faces Book release event with US Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy Ajay Chaudry; Gerald D. Jaynes, Yale University Departments of Economics and African-American Studies; and chapter authors Dylan Patricia Conger, from the George Washington University School of Public Policy and Public Administration, and Kevin Thomas of Pennsylvania State University ; with volume editors Randy Capps and Michael Fix, both of MPI.
December 14, 2012 Listen to Audio |
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Rethinking National Identity in the Age of Migration A discussion on the anti-immigrant political movement in both Europe and the United States and its implications for community cohesion and national identity, with Patrick Simon, Institut national d’études démographiques, Cas Mudde, University of Georgia; Charles Kamasaki, National Council of La Raza; Frank Sharry, America’s Voice; and moderated by MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou.
October 24, 2012 Listen to Audio |
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Browse the MPI Bookstore
Recently redesigned for easier navigation through its varied offerings, the MPI Bookstore presents a selection of publications – from topics such as migrants and the recession, migration management, national security, refugee protection, and immigrant integration. As well as being in-depth, nonpartisan reading, the books are excellent material for academic use, staff trainings, strategic planning, program evaluation, board and donor education, advocacy efforts, and other migration-related work.
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US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin details his agenda for CBP and discusses illegal immigration, border enforcement, the future of the Secure Border Initiative, and other top priorities and challenges facing his agency. Earlier Leadership Visions speakers include US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Homeland Security Assistant Secretary John Morton, who heads US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas details his agenda for his agency, and discusses E-Verify, fees, the transformation initiative, processing of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, and other top priorities for USCIS. Podcast of event
Homeland Security Assistant Secretary John Morton details his agenda for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the kickoff of MPI's new speakers series, Leadership Visions. During his speech, Morton discussed ICE's detention reform proposals, 287(g), Secure Communities, and other agency priorities. Watch Part I | Watch Part II | Click here for podcast of event
9th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference The conference features discussion on current immigration policy issues by senior officials from US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, immigration law experts, state officials, and immigration advocates. Topics covered include: analysis of the role of states and the federal government in immigration law; immigration policy and the 2012 campaigns; the implementation of the Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and other legal service provision issues; and US policy on protection for refugees and asylees.
October 1, 2012
2012 E Pluribus Unum Prizes The winners of the Migration Policy Institute's 2012 E Pluribus Unum Prizes, honoring exceptional immigrant integration initiatives in the United States, discussed their work during a plenary luncheon on September 24, 2012 at the National Immigrant Integration Conference held in Baltimore, MD. During a Q&A with MPI’s Michael Fix, leaders with ACCESS (the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), Building Skills Partnership, Californians Together, and Citi Community Development discussed key aspects of their work. At discussion's end, the winners received their E Pluribus Unum Prizes from Brad Davidson, a trustee of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, which generously funds the prizes program. Listen to Audio |
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Prosecutorial Discretion: A Progress Report on Implementing New Guidelines and Policies
A discussion on the use of prosecutorial discretion and the review by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of all current cases in the removal pipeline and on the docket of immigration courts, with Doris Meissner, MPI Senior Fellow and Director of the US Immigration Policy Program; Seth Grossman, Deputy General Counsel, US Department of Homeland Security; Juan P. Osuna, Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, US Department of Justice; Jim Stolley, Director, Field Legal Operations, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, ICE; and Crystal L. Williams, Executive Director, American Immigration Lawyers Association.
February 10, 2012
Migration and the Great Recession: The Transatlantic Experience The release event for MPI’s book, Migration and the Great Recession: The Transatlantic Experience, which reviews how the financial and economic crisis of the late 2000s marked a sudden and dramatic interruption in international migration trends, and the effects of the economic turmoil on immigrant workers in major immigrant-receiving countries in Europe as well as the United States. What will be the legacy of the crisis for immigrant workers and their families in coming years? How have the impacts of the recession on immigrant workers themselves, and responses of publics and politicians, differed on both sides of the Atlantic? Speakers are: volume editors Demetrios Papademetriou, Madeleine Sumption, and Aaron Terrazas, of MPI; Chad Stone, Chief Economist, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Gallya Lahav, Associate Professor of Political Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
June 13, 2011 Watch Event Video | Order the Book | View US Powerpoint | View EU Powerpoint
MPI's New Labor Markets Initiative
The Labor Markets Initiative is a comprehensive, policy-focused review of the role of immigration in the labor market. The Initiative will produce detailed policy recommendations on how the United States should rethink its immigration policy in light of what is known about the economic impact of immigration – bearing in mind the current context of growing income inequality, concerns about the effect of globalization on US competitiveness, the competition for highly skilled migrants, and demographic and technological change. The Initiative is guided by a group of leading experts in labor economics, welfare policy, and immigration: the Labor Markets Advisory Group
ACS/Census Data on the Foreign Born by State
Click-of-a-button access to the most current information
on immigrants' social and demographic characteristics, English-language
proficiency, educational attainment, workforce participation, and income levels
in each of the 50 states.
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.
Senior Fellow, Director of the US Immigration Policy program, and Director of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future
With the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2006 and 2007, the politics and the policy issues of immigration have not become any less difficult, complex, or contentious in the years since.
It is more important than ever that policymakers and the American public have solid information, fact-based analysis, and sound policy ideas on which to base their discussions, and, ultimately, their decisions. MPI is uniquely to contribute this knowledge because of the work that went into the report of its Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future.
The Task Force was convened by MPI and co-chaired by former Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) and former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN). MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner directed the panel’s work. Members of the bipartisan group included leaders of key immigration stakeholder groups, experienced senior public policy actors, elected officials, and immigration experts, with ex-officio participation from Mexico, Canada, the European Commission, and executive branch agencies. The Division of United States Studies and the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, as well as Manhattan Institute, collaborated with MPI on this project.
The Task Force undertook a careful analysis of the economic, social, and demographic factors driving today’s large-scale immigration. Concluding that immigration is essential to US national interests and will become even more so in the years ahead, the Task Force recommended that the United States fundamentally rethink its policies and overhaul an outdated system to better reflect current realities.
Simplify and redesign the immigration system by drastically reducing the number of visa classifications and by establishing a new provisional visa category providing legal employment for workers at all skill levels. Provisional visas would bridge the false divide between temporary and permanent immigration and eliminate the need for a large guestworker program.
Introduce a new type of immigration visa called a strategic growth visa to help the United States compete more effectively for international talent.
Create a small, independent federal agency — the Standing Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets — to systematically monitor and analyze workforce, economic, and demographic trends, and make regular recommendations
to the Congress for adjusting temporary, provisional, and permanent immigrant admissions levels.
Place mandatory employer verification and workplace enforcement at the center of immigration enforcement reforms and replace existing Social Security cards with secure, biometric cards so that they — along with existing, already secure “green” cards and immigrant work authorization documents — would be the only ones that could verify work eligibility.
Accelerate implementation of “smart border” measures and strengthen immigration enforcement at legal ports of entry (air, land, and sea) and as part of overseas visa issuance.
Work collaboratively with Canadian and Mexican partners on improving security, curtailing unauthorized migration, and facilitating legal movement and trade.
Create a National Office on Immigrant Integration to provide leadership, visibility, and a focal point at the federal level for integration policy.
The Task Force recommendations articulate a vision that promotes US global competitiveness in the context of post-9/11 security imperatives, while tackling many of the technical details that have made immigration such an intractable public policy problem. This report serves as a durable foundation upon which to build the discourse and policies that can meet the challenges and opportunities that immigration poses for the 21st century.