E.g., 02/17/2020
E.g., 02/17/2020

Migration Information Source

Flags fly at the Chicago airport
Nicola/Flickr

Interested in answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about immigration and immigrants in the United States? This incredible resource collects in one place top statistics from authoritative government and nongovernmental sources, offering a snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and data on emerging trends, including the slowing of growth of the foreign-born population, changing origins, and increasing educational levels.

Migrants being smuggled in a car trunk are intercepted at U.S.-Mexico border
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

As highly industrialized countries ramp up their border controls, human smugglers are playing a central role in moving migrants through key migration corridors around the world. Despite the illicit nature of their work and being cast as villains in the public eye, smugglers have complex, multifaceted relationships with their clients. At times, the relationship can be mutually beneficial or even lifesaving; at others, it can be predatory and dangerous, as this article explores.

Map of state consent or lack of consent for refugee resettlement
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Forty-two governors, Republican and Democrat alike, have affirmed their consent for continued refugee resettlement, bypassing an invitation from the Trump administration to stop accepting refugees. These actions, which reportedly surprised the White House, suggest there may be limits to the Trump immigration agenda when it comes to refugees, as this Policy Beat explores.

Indian nurses in a classroom
Aravind Eye Care System

India is the world's largest source for immigrant physicians, and for Indian-trained doctors and nurses the allure of working abroad is strong despite an acute domestic shortage of health-care workers. Against this pull, the Indian government has enacted a number of policies to limit and regulate the emigration of health-care professionals, though these have been more ad hoc in nature and not part of a fully realized strategy.

Group of people sit in a park in New York's Chinatown
Zach Korb

Nearly 2.5 million Chinese immigrants lived in the United States in 2018—the third largest foreign-born population in the country. Chinese immigration has grown nearly seven-fold since 1980, and China became the top sending country of immigrants in the United States in 2018, replacing Mexico. Chinese immigrants tend to be highly educated and employed in management positions, as this Spotlight article explores.

The son of Colombians who sought refuge in Ecuador
Michelle Snow/USAID

Though Colombians displaced by a decades-long civil war found a welcome refuge in Ecuador, life has become more difficult for them in recent years, in part as a result of the influx of Venezuelans seeking safety. This article draws on surveys of migrants in Quito, comparing and contrasting the experiences of Colombians and Venezuelans, and assessing their perceptions of discrimination, victimization, trust in institutions, and hopes for the future.

Recent Articles

Migrant pointing at map of Mexico

Mexico is facing a new reality: Rising migration from Central America, the reintegration of returning migrants, and protection of Mexicans in the United States. As President Andrés Manuel López Obrador seeks to shift the country’s migration policy from enforcement to protection, his task is complicated by changing U.S. border policy and the need to avoid domestic backlash over Central American migration to and through Mexico.

Eloy Detention Center

Though a faceoff between the U.S. executive and legislative branches is now in the courts, with President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency so he can allocate more money for construction of a border wall, a less-noted dispute has been taking place over the Department of Homeland Security's decision to add thousands more immigration detention beds than Congress provides annually, as this article explains.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Lebanon is home to more refugees per capita than any other country. The arrival of approximately 1 million refugees from neighboring Syria has created tensions not only with the native population, but also with long-established Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon. A lack of integration and resources, plus a complex domestic context, suggest further hardship may lie ahead for recent and earlier-arrived refugees alike.

Caribbean Day dancers

Caribbean immigrants represent 10 percent of the 44.5 million immigrants in the United States, with the vast majority coming from just five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. Depending on their origin country and period of arrival, immigrants from the Caribbean have varying skill levels, racial composition, language background, and motivations for migration, as this article explores.

Somali migrants disembarking.

War and impending famine in Yemen have captured significant attention. Yet often overlooked is the country’s role as the epicenter of one of the world’s busiest mixed migration routes, linking Africa, Asia, and Europe. This article examines the migration pathways to and through the country, push and pull factors, and the impact of civil war on human movement.

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South Sudanese child

Nearly 4 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes by violence or food insecurity since late 2013, roughly half seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Drought and conflict have converged in the young country to fuel one of the world's most severe humanitarian emergencies. This article examines refugee flows from South Sudan, underlying drivers, and regional and international responses to the crisis.

Cambodian worker in Thailand

Thailand has become a key destination for migrant workers, primarily from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Many lack authorization, however, and as their numbers have grown, so has the government's intent in regulating their movement—sometimes provoking unintended results. This article explores recent patterns in labor migration to Thailand and examines the likely impacts of a 2017 decree criminalizing illegal employment.

Bangladeshi migrant workers

Bangladeshis in 2017 suddenly emerged as one of the top migrant groups entering Europe illegally. While Europe is a new destination, Bangladeshi labor migration has been an important part of the country's development since the 1970s, with growing numbers heading abroad, largely to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This article explores and contextualizes the new phenomenon of Bangladeshi migration to Europe.

A Chinese businessman looks out over a hazy Shanghai.

Over the past decade, immigrant investor programs have proliferated around the world, and Chinese applicants have dominated in a number of countries. In 2015, about 9,000 Chinese millionaires moved to other countries, many through so-called golden visa programs. This article explores the social and cultural factors driving well-off Chinese to move abroad and examines perceptions of elite emigration in China.

Female Bangladeshi migrant workers

The changing nature of conflict has brought an uptick in gender-based violence in war-torn countries, with instances of rape particularly common in conflict zones. While many women leave their countries to escape such violence, setting off on the journey is no guarantee of safety, as they are vulnerable to further gender-based abuse in transit and at destination. This article explores the rates of gender violence among refugee, asylee, and migrant women, and examines supports available to survivors in the United States.

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Mexican immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, and since the Great Recession more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico than have migrated to the United States. Mexicans, however, remain the largest origin group in the country, accounting for 28 percent of all immigrants. See how Mexican immigrants compare to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations on key indicators with this Spotlight article.

Growing rapidly from a population of 90,000 in 1960 to nearly 3 million in 2014, South American immigrants now represent 7 percent of all foreign born in the United States. Family-based immigration is the primary pathway for all South American groups, ranging from 45 percent of Venezuelan immigrants to 97 percent of those from Guyana.

The number of college-educated immigrants in the United States has more than tripled in the last two decades. Asians accounted for 46 percent of the 10.5 million college-educated immigrants, with India the top origin country. This Spotlight article examines key indicators of the college-educated population, including international students and high-skilled H-1B visa holders.

The number of Asian immigrants in the United States has increased exponentially over the last 50 years, and Asia is now the second-largest region of birth of U.S. immigrants. The growth of this population dates to the abolition in 1965 of national-origin quotas that barred immigration from Asia. This article delves into key data on Asian immigrants, from settlement and employment patterns to immigration pathways, and more.

European migration, once the driving force of U.S. immigration, has steadily declined over the last 50 years. In 2014, 4.8 million European immigrants accounted for 11 percent of the total foreign-born population, down from 75 percent in 1960. Discover key statistics on this population in this Spotlight article, including countries of origin, language proficiency, employment, and more.

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Immigration to the United States continued steadily from the 1970s until the recent recession, which also diminished a sense of urgency to enact immigration reform legislation. MPI's Kristen McCabe and Doris Meissner provide a comprehensive look at major legislation and events affecting U.S. immigration, the size and attributes of the immigrant population, and policy changes under the Obama administration.

The world's second most populous country also has a vast diapora spread across nearly every continent. Daniel Naujoks provides a broad overview of Indian migration flows and major populations worldwide, and discusses India's diaspora policies, refugees and asylum seekers from the region, and illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Ireland's economy and openness to labor migration from new EU Member States fueled immigration flows, including return migration, over the past few years. But the global recession has hit the country hard, and unemployment among both foreigners and Irish nationals is rising. Emma Quinn of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin updates the Ireland country profile with a look at recent trends, policies, and data.

Recent immigration to the United Kingdom is larger and more diverse than at any point in its history. This updated profile examines how the global recession is affecting migration flows, the latest immigration and asylum data, and overviews of new immigration and integration policies.

South Africa is struggling to define a post-apartheid migration policy that is responsive to its changing role in Africa, the relationship between migration and development, and the country's rampant xenophobia, seen most graphically in May 2008. Jonathan Crush of the Southern African Migration Project reports on the latest developments.

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The killing of a young woman in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant coincided with the Obama administration's rollout of the Priority Enforcement Program, a new vehicle for improving federal-local relations on immigration enforcement. The tragedy has rekindled debate over the role of "sanctuary" cities and propelled illegal immigration to the forefront of the 2016 presidential race.
As legal challenges continue to impede President Obama's deferred action programs to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the window of opportunity for implementation before the 2016 election is growing ever narrower. Even as advocates continue mobilizing immigrants to apply, attention is shifting to other new policies announced by the president last November.
Mexico has lost its long-held status as the top source country of new immigrants to the United States, dropping to third place behind China and India. This historic shift is remarkable for the rapid decline in Mexican inflows combined with a steady rise in Asian immigration, largely through high-skilled visa programs. This Policy Beat explores the reasons behind these trends and their potential impact on U.S. demographics.
The H-2B visa allows U.S. employers to bring in foreign workers to temporarily fill low-skill nonagricultural jobs across a wide range of states and industries. A series of recent legal challenges has exposed the presence of fraud and abuse, while stripping the program of its regulations and raising uncertainty about its future. This Policy Beat examines the implications in the debate surrounding temporary worker programs.
Attention is now squarely focused on the U.S. federal courts where the legal battle over President Obama's executive actions on immigration continues. While congressional efforts to roll back the directives appear to have been put aside, at least temporarily, implementation of the signature deferred action programs announced in November 2014 remains blocked. The administration, however, is moving forward with other aspects of the executive order, as this article explores.

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