E.g., 01/24/2022
E.g., 01/24/2022

Migration Information Source

Photo of U.S. President Joe Biden delivering remarks in front of White House.
Katie Ricks/White House

While Donald Trump’s presidency is perceived as being the most active on immigration, touching nearly every aspect of the U.S. immigration system, President Joe Biden’s administration has far outpaced his predecessor in the number of executive actions taken during his first year in office—even as the pace of change has gone largely unnoticed, as this article explores.

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.

Articles
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.

Recent Articles

BalticFlags

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.

AmsterdamCanal

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.

TrumpCBPofficer

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.

ImmigrantBelonging

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.

KoreanMarchingBand

Approximately 1 million Korean immigrants—the vast majority from South Korea—resided in the United States in 2017. Korean immigrants tend to be highly educated and of high socioeconomic standing. Get the latest data on this population, including flows over time, geographic distribution, employment, and more in this Spotlight.

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DirectRelief MalawiMangochiDistrict Flickr

The emigration of health-care professionals from Malawi led to drastic labor shortages in the impoverished nation in the early 2000s. To combat this brain drain, the government launched an action plan that has largely stabilized the outflow. However, human resource challenges to Malawi's health-care system remain acute and complex, as discussed in this feature article.

IOM IOMandJapanhelpSyrians Flickr

Japan is one of the world's most generous contributors to humanitarian appeals, yet accepts a very small number of asylum seekers—indeed only 11 were granted refugee status in 2014. Even as Japan has witnessed a record number of asylum applications, the approval rate has declined. This feature explores Japan's low acceptance of asylum seekers, including institutional barriers and negative public perceptions.

RefugeesinFYRM StephenRyanIFRC Flickr

As Europe struggles to reach a consensus on how to respond to the refugee crisis, the seemingly unending flow of migrants and refugees arriving on its shores is bringing national asylum systems to their breaking point. This article analyzes the context of the crisis, discussing the root causes of the flows, why they are spiking now, and growing protection challenges.

NicaraguanCoffeePickers IngmarZahorsky Flickr

With the growing urbanization and consolidation of Nicaraguan immigrants in sectors such as construction and domestic service, Costa Rica has shifted its focus from immigration enforcement to integration. Tension has emerged between the government and private sector as a new mechanism for regularizing unauthorized immigrant workers has failed to gain traction.

YoungImmigrantLineUp1 WBEZPeterHolderness Flickr

This article explores differences in application and renewal rates for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program among unauthorized immigrants from Latin America and Asia. Based on interviews with immigrant advocates and service providers, it appears participation in the deportation relief program may be different among origin groups based on varying perceptions of lack of trust in government and shame over legal status, as well as political barriers.

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The 2.9 million Central American immigrants living in the United States were more likely than both the native born and the foreign-born population overall to be of working age and to be participating in the U.S. labor force. MPI's Aaron Terrazas examines the population's size, geographic distribution, and demographic characteristics.

Interested in information on annual naturalization trends, illegal immigration, the geographical distribution of immigrants in the United States, current and historical shares, and a host of other topics? MPI's Jeanne Batalova and Aaron Terrazas have assembled the latest, most interesting data on immigrants and immigration into one easy-to-use resource.

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While the number of people detained reached a five-year high of over 383,000, apprehensions hit a 34-year low of 613,000 in 2009. MPI's Jeanne Batalova and Kristen McCabe examine the latest immigration enforcement data in this updated Spotlight.

Few visas in the U.S. alphabet soup of visa types have become as well-known — or controversial — as the H-1B has in its 20-year history. MPI's Jeanne Batalova examines the program's background and the numbers and characteristics of those granted H-1B visas in 2009.

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Compared to the foreign born overall, the 1.1 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States were less likely to hold a bachelor's degree but had much higher naturalization and homeownership rates. MPI's Aaron Terrazas and Cristina Batog look at the population's size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics.

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MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on immigrant provisions in current health-care reform legislation, ICE's plans to make detention more "civil," a small drop in the size of the U.S. foreign-born population, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on Senator Edward Kennedy's contributions to U.S. immigration policy, the end of arrest quotas in ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, E-Verify for federal contractors, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the expansion of the 287(g) immigration enforcement program, ICE's planned detention overhaul, immigration from Mexico and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on immigration enforcement policy changes, Obama's immigration summit, grants to states for incarcerating unauthorized immigrants, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the Secure Communities program, suspension of a rule for temporary agricultural workers, the decline in arrests along the U.S. border, and more.

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