Associate Policy Analyst
Jessica Bolter is an Associate Policy Analyst with the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at MPI. Her research focuses on migration patterns at the U.S.-Mexico border, extracontinental migration in the Americas, immigration enforcement, and asylum and refugee issues.
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.
How did the U.S. border enforcement picture go in the span of two years from the lowest levels of illegal immigration since 1971 to a spiraling border security and humanitarian crisis? This report draws on enforcement and other data as well as analysis of changing migration trends and policies to tell this story. The authors outline key elements for a new strategy that can succeed over the long term.
Ideological differences in the Democratic Party over immigration that were once masked by unity against President Trump’s border wall and immigration agenda are now being exposed as Democratic presidential candidates seek to stand out in a crowded field and amid controversy over an emergency border spending bill. As the 2020 electoral calendar accelerates, how the party navigates the gulf between its most liberal and conservative wings will become a greater challenge for its leaders.
The Trump administration’s plan to create a "merit-based" U.S. immigration system, lessening the longstanding focus on family reunification in favor of more economic migrants, has met with a lackluster response from Democrats and Republicans alike. This Policy Beat article explores how the Trump proposal would reshape immigration to the United States, and how it compares to selection systems in other countries and past debates about changing the U.S. system.
Remain in Mexico—the Trump administration policy aimed at deterring the rising numbers of migrants from Central America by requiring them to stay in Mexico through most of their U.S. asylum adjudication process—bears striking similarities to U.S. policy in the 1980s and 1990s that sought to discourage Haitians from making the sea journey to the United States. This article explores the parallels and differences between Remain in Mexico and the earlier narrowing of asylum for Haitians.
How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.
With more than 3 million Venezuelans having fled their country in crisis, this event features the release of an MPI-OAS report that examines the creative responses that host countries in Latin America are providing. These include the opening of legal pathways to residence, access to formal labor markets, and greater use of forms of ID for recognition.
Two years after the Trump administration’s much-litigated travel ban was created, the policy has demonstrated a significant impact on the admission of foreigners from the banned countries, while also reshaping U.S. security vetting procedures and the refugee resettlement process in enduring ways, as this article explores on the second-year anniversary.
Who is an immigrant? Does that status change if, for example, a foreigner marries a native-born resident or serves in his or her adopted country's military? This explainer answers basic questions about international migrants—who they are, their top destinations, where they come from, how they are counted, and more.