E.g., 01/17/2022
E.g., 01/17/2022

Migration Information Source

Mother and daughter from Middle Eastern background
iStock/Phynart Studio

Migration from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to the United States doubled between 2000 and 2019, yet these immigrants represented less than 3 percent of the overall U.S. foreign-born population as of 2019. MENA immigrants are more likely than other immigrants to be English proficient, have a college degree, and work in management, business, science, and arts occupations.

A Dutch family at Ellis Island between 1915 and 1920.
Library of Congress

As host to more immigrants than any other country, the United States has been shaped and reshaped by immigration over the centuries, with the issue at times becoming a flashpoint. This article covers the history of U.S. immigration and the major laws governing immigration, and provides a comprehensive overview of the present-day immigrant population.

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Family members take a selfie at an airport in Greece.
IOM/Konstantina Mintzoli

The slow and uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic prompted new patterns of movement in parts of the world in 2021. New conflicts also erupted, ongoing crises smoldered, and migrants were often stuck in the middle. Our annual Migration Information Source Top 10 countdown reviews what we consider to be the year's most important migration trends and events.

Migrants enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Biden administration's court-ordered restart of the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols, known informally as the Remain in Mexico policy, puts it in the awkward position of reviving a program it is simultaneously still trying to end. The Trump-era program forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait out the duration of their U.S. immigration court hearings in Mexico and was only questionably successful at deterring unauthorized arrivals.

Two boys pose in an informal settlement east of Johannesburg largely populated by immigrants.
John Hogg/World Bank

South Africa hosts the most immigrants of any African country. Yet it faces conflicting pressures, including the legacy of apartheid, a steady outflow of well-educated South Africans, and the need to juggle bilateral labor mobility schemes at a time of economic insecurity and high unemployment. This article traces these pressures and how they have developed over time.

New U.S. citizens take an oath during a naturalization ceremony.
U.S. National Archives

More than half of all immigrants in the United States are naturalized citizens. The number of new naturalizations has fluctuated from year to year, hitting a decade-long low in fiscal year 2020, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising processing times. This article provides information on naturalized citizens in the United States, including historical trends and socioeconomic characteristics.

Recent Articles

MigrantsBoat IrishDefenseForces Flickr

European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.

ICEHSI ICE crop

In its first year, the Trump administration moved to deliver on some of Donald Trump’s campaign promises on immigration, including ramping up enforcement in the U.S. interior and ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The administration also announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of some countries. This article explores some of the top policy changes.

SouthSudaneseGirl EdwardEchwalu EUECHO

Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.

Resettlement MuseMohammed IOM

The global refugee resettlement landscape changed dramatically in 2017, as the United States began to step back from its role as global leader on resettlement. The Trump administration reduced the 2018 refugee admissions ceiling to the lowest level since the program began in 1980. While other countries increased their commitments or launched new programs, this was not enough to make up for the gap left by the United States.

AfghanRefugees ZsuzsannaGal UNHCR

Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.

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As an update to this month's Policy Beat, MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the DREAM Act's failure in the Senate.

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.

Indian immigrants in the United States may not want their U.S.-born children to live and work in India, but some members of the second generation are 'returning' to their parents' homeland for economic and personal reasons, as Sonali Jain of Duke University explains.

Europe's largest minority group has long faced discrimination, but France's deportation of Roma as part of its security policies has sparked criticism from the European Union and human rights groups. Kristi Severance explains how the situation has evolved in recent months, the relevant EU laws, and how Europe is likely to move forward.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that all children, no matter their immigration status, have the right to attend a U.S. public school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Michael Olivas of the University of Houston examines the original case, direct and indirect challenges to it, Plyler's role in the college-tuition debate, how Plyler could be challenged in the near term, and its long-term outlook.

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MPI’s Jill Wilson provides an in-depth look at the United States’ population of people born in Africa.

MPI Research Assistant Kevin O'Neil outlines key aspects of remittances from the United States.
MPI’s Ramah McKay examines the family reunification program, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of permanent immigration to the U.S. each year.
MPI Research Assistants Maia Jachimowicz and Ramah McKay outline the government's "Special Registration" program, which is designed to register foreign visitors from certain designated countries who are already in the United States.
With the war in Iraq intensifying, the media has focused on the Iraqi foreign born in the United States. To ensure the accuracy of public debate, MPI Data Manager Elizabeth Grieco uses U.S. Census Bureau statistics to describe the size of the Iraqi immigrant population.

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Justice Department Allows Indefinite Detention of Undocumented Immigrants... Homeland Security Department to Replace NSEERS... Special Registration Deadline Passes for Fourth Group of Foreign Visitors... Immigrants Killed While in U.S. Military Earn Posthumous Citizenship... Student Adjustment Act Reintroduced to Congress... Immigration Bureaus of DHS Receive Additional Funding...
Justice Department Allows Indefinite Detention of Undocumented Immigrants... Homeland Security Department to Replace NSEERS... Special Registration Deadline Passes for Fourth Group of Foreign Visitors... Immigrants Killed While in U.S. Military Earn Posthumous Citizenship... Student Adjustment Act Reintroduced to Congress... Immigration Bureaus of DHS Receive Additional Funding...
FBI, BICE Conduct 'Voluntary Interviews' of Iraqi-Born Immigrants... DHS Plans Operation to Detain Asylum Seekers from Certain Countries... Attorney General Announces Changes to Visa Waiver Program... Tighter Entry Rules Affect Nationals of over 50 Countries... Mexican Consulates Crowded with Applicants for Dual Citizenship... Angolans Lose Temporary Protected Status...
Homeland Security Department Incorporates INS During Restructuring... Proposed DHS Budget Would Fund Foreign Visitor Tracking, Visa Processing... INS Extends Special Registration Deadlines... Lawmakers Demand Details on Registration Program... INS Releases Report on Undocumented Immigrants... Funding for State Jailing of Criminal Undocumented Immigrants Slashed...
INS Special Registration Program Reaches Third Round... Ridge Sworn in as Secretary of Homeland Security... Mexican 'Matricula Consular' Cards Face Opposition... Schools Face Deadline on Electronic Tracking of Foreign Students... INS Adjusts Status Rules for Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao Resident Aliens...

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