Kevin O’Neil was formerly a Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. Dr. O’Neil is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR). Dr. O’Neil’s primary research interests include migration, immigrant integration, demographic change in cities, and policies related to migration, refugees, diversity and demographic change.
Nearly 200 localities in the United States have seriously considered policies intended to restrict immigration or its impact. Kevin O'Neil of Princeton University analyzes the types of laws local governments pursue and the reasons they take action.
The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was the first legislative attempt to comprehensively address the issue of unauthorized immigration. The bill included sanctions against employers for the hiring of undocumented migrants, more robust border enforcement, and an expansive legalization program that was unprecedented.
The regularization, or legalization, of unauthorized immigrants has become a central, if controversial, policy tool in many developed countries’ struggle to manage irregular immigration. Because of the sheer size of irregular immigration in the advanced industrial world, regularization programs have become a significant source of legal workers and, in many instances, of prospective citizens.
The Sept. 11 attacks prompted greater government scrutiny of undocumented immigrants in the United States. MPI Research Assistant Kevin O'Neil takes a look at how many Mexicans living in the U.S. without authorization have turned to a Mexican government ID called the "matrícula consular" to better establish their identity.