Experts & Staff
Jessica Bolter is a Research Assistant at MPI, where she provides research support to the U.S. Immigration Policy Program. She has interned with MPI, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs, and the Center for Democracy in the Americas.
Ms. Bolter holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies and Spanish area studies from Kenyon College, where she focused on relations between the United States and Latin America.
President Trump has made reshaping the U.S. immigration system a top priority. Yet the fragmented nature of policy-making in the United States—with power split between branches and levels of government—has made it difficult to pursue some of his most ambitious proposals. This report explores the evolution of migration policy under Trump, and what these changes may mean in the long run.
The House is set to vote on two bills that would largely dismantle the U.S. asylum system at the southern border by significantly narrowing grounds to apply for asylum, eliminating protections for the vast majority of unaccompanied minors, and unilaterally declaring Mexico a safe third country. The result would be a sharp reduction in the number of people permitted to seek humanitarian protection, as this commentary explains.
Monthly apprehension statistics at the Southwest border have become a preoccupation for the Trump administration, which compares the 2018 numbers to 2017 and declares a crisis. Yet it was 2017, when the "Trump effect" temporarily paused illegal crossings, that was the outlier. Recent trends have reverted to the pattern seen in 2016, a result notable at a time of very low U.S. unemployment, as this commentary explores.
Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.
The Trump administration has significantly cranked up the immigration enforcement machinery in the U.S. interior. Yet even as arrests and deportations are up in the early Trump months, they remain less than half their peaks. This report demonstrates how pushback from California and other "sanctuary" locations makes it quite unlikely that ICE will be able to match record enforcement levels.
While much attention has focused on President Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the administration has moved, via a much wider scope of actions, to reduce legal immigration to the United States. This article explores changes including slowed processing of family- and employment-based visas, dramatic cuts in refugee admissions, and heightened vetting and evidence requirements for would-be immigrants.
The Trump administration has been steadily building a case to penalize "sanctuary" cities—those jurisdictions that in some way limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities—after threatening to cut federal funding. Despite court rulings that seemed to strike a blow against these efforts, the Justice Department is moving forward with its strategy, relying on a broad interpretation of a federal statute, as this article explores.
An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.