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

Two men in military attire stand with a veteran

Approximately 530,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2018, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.6 million veterans nationwide. Immigrant veterans tend to have higher education levels and household incomes compared to native-born veterans, and the vast majority are naturalized citizens, as this data-rich article explores.

Flags from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on display

Faced with high emigration rates and shrinking, aging populations, the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are exploring different ways to lure back nationals who have emigrated and establish or solidify ties with members of the diaspora. Of the three countries, Estonia is proving the most successful, while Latvia appears to be ignoring the looming demographic crisis and lacks an immigration plan.

Canal in Amsterdam

The Netherlands has witnessed a rise in far-right populism, challenging its reputation as a humanitarian haven. Yet, public fears equating immigration with a rise in religious extremism do not necessarily reflect the facts. This profile explores historical and contemporary migration in a country where population growth relies largely on immigration, and analyzes to what extent policymaking has been shaped by rising populism.

President Trump and a Customs and Border Patrol officer stand together

Though it has achieved success in some areas, the Trump administration’s many efforts to stiffen immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior and at the Southwest border are being consistently stymied by court injunctions, existing laws and settlements, state and local resistance, congressional pushback, and migration pressures that are beyond the government’s ability to swiftly address, as this article explores.

Four people stand with a sign at a demonstration

Citizenship and integration policies are often thought of as markers for whether a country is welcoming to immigrants. Yet research suggests that public opinion and political rhetoric play a bigger role in immigrants' sense of belonging. This article explores how boundaries between "us" and "them" are drawn through popular conceptions of nationhood and political rhetoric, and their impact on immigrants' belonging.

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A woman walks alongside a train in Mexico.

In recent years, women from Central America have begun to make up a greater share of migrant apprehensions in Mexico and at the U.S. Southwest border. Systemic insecurity, poverty, and corruption are among the factors driving women and others to flee. This article explores the increase in female migration from Central America and the challenges these women face on their journey.

Over the past decade, migration has emerged as one of the most pressing issues facing governments around the world. Nearing the end of his tenure as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing sat down with MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland to reflect on his ten years leading IOM, as well as the international community's role on migration going forward.

Eloy Detention Center

Nearly 2.5 million immigrants have passed through the U.S. immigration detention system since 2003. As the United States has expanded detention in recent decades, it has increasingly relied on contracts with facilities run by for-profit companies to house large numbers of detainees. This article traces the growing involvement of the private prison industry in U.S. immigration enforcement.

Fishing boats

A small, isolated country, Iceland has been home to a largely homogenous population for much of its history. But in recent years, a booming economy and expanding tourism sector have drawn rising numbers of immigrants to the island nation. This article explores Iceland's balancing act of maintaining economic growth through immigration while preserving its culture and language.

San Jose diner

While research shows immigrants in the United States become integrated over time, this is only a partial account of the changes that immigration brings. As newcomers reshape their communities, longtime residents themselves adjust to shifting social, economic, and political contexts—sometimes re-engaging with their own ethnic or cultural identities. This article explores this process of relational assimilation in Silicon Valley.

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Approximately 1 million Korean immigrants (overwhelmingly from South Korea) lived in the United States in 2015, representing 2.4 percent of the U.S. immigrant population. While earlier waves consisted largely of unskilled laborers and their families, contemporary Korean immigration boasts high socioeconomic standing and Koreans are generally considered among the most successful immigrant groups.

More than 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Nearly half of Syrian refugees are under age 14, and this population is more dispersed geographically across the country than the overall Syrian immigrant population. This article offers a demographic profile of Syrian refugees, including age, gender, language, and religion, as well as top state and city destinations.

Although the number of U.S. residents who speak a language other than English has grown in recent decades, the share of those who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) has fallen: 40 percent in 2015, compared to 44 percent in 1980—even as immigration rose rapidly. This article examines growing linguistic diversity in the country and sketches a profile of the LEP population, including size, location, and socioeconomic characteristics.

Approximately 511,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.8 million veterans nationwide. This Spotlight article offers key information on the population of immigrant veterans in the United States, focusing on its size, top countries of origin, racial and ethnic composition, and socioeconomic characteristics.

Approximately 4 million immigrants from the Caribbean resided in the United States in 2014, representing 9 percent of the country's total immigrant population. While 90 percent of Caribbean immigrants come from five countries, this population overall is very diverse in its skill levels, racial composition, language background, and immigration pathways. This Spotlight article provides information on the Caribbean immigrant population in the United States, focusing on its size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics.

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In a highly selective way, flows of internal migrants within Taiwan have responded quickly to political, economic, and social changes throughout the nation’s history, and have spurred development of the country’s industrial, services, and technological industries. In the past 20 years, however, international migration has reemerged in relevance and now includes the immigration of foreign workers and wives and the emigration of some of Taiwan’s best and brightest.

Canada has long been a country of net immigration and has designed its current immigration policy around attracting highly educated and skilled migrants for entry into its labor force. In this country profile, Ashley Challinor discusses the challenges associated with this approach and provides a sense of the actual scale and nature of migration into Canada.

The realities of poverty, underemployment, and a large working-age population mean that international labor migration is an expected and necessary part of life for many Bangladeshi men and women. Nazli Kibria of Boston University explains the challenges and opportunities facing Bangladesh as the small nation struggles to balance the need for economic migration and its resulting remittances with the protection of its citizens abroad.

Ronald Skeldon of the University of Sussex maps out the past and present migration patterns of China — the source of tens of millions of migrants around the globe — and discusses the country's budding status as an immigrant-receiving nation.

Arno Tanner of the Finnish Immigration Service and the Universities of Helsinki, and Tampere discusses the historical and current state of migration to and from Finland, and the country's immigration policy priorities going forward.

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The stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic parties on immigration was codified in their 2016 party platforms, and showcased in the rosters of convention speakers—featuring victims of unauthorized immigrant crimes on the one hand, and unauthorized immigrants living in fear on the other. This article explores the evidence, even compared to earlier platforms, of two divergent universes regarding immigration.

A split ruling by the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas has dealt a hard blow to the Obama administration's signature deferred action programs. While the decision makes it unlikely the DAPA program and DACA expansion will be implemented in their current form, the outcome at the high court may have opened a path for renewed movement on immigration policy changes in Congress, as this article explores.

While the EB-5 investor visa program from inception has had its share of critics, its sharp expansion over a short period of time—combined with the emergence of several high-profile controversies—has markedly increased scrutiny, and thus the possibility of legislative reform. This Policy Beat outlines the debate surrounding the EB-5 program and possible changes awaiting the program in Congress.

The fate of the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program could hinge on narrow legal grounds, as became clear when the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the DAPA challenge. This Policy Beat examines the DAPA case and developments regarding the H-1B and EB-5 visa programs, a Department of Homeland Security crackdown on student visa fraud, and more.

The Brussels terrorist attacks have renewed national debate in the United States over whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists to enter the country. Meanwhile, federal courts have frustrated state efforts to block resettlement of Syrian refugees even as some members of Congress have sought to reform the refugee admissions process through new legislation, as this article explores.

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