E.g., 01/19/2022
E.g., 01/19/2022

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

Rising sea levels threaten Pacific Islands

While media and academic discussions of "climate refugees" paint a picture of mass displacement of millions, in reality many communities vulnerable to climate change may choose to stay as a result of strong cultural, historical, and spiritual attachments to place. This article explores this "voluntary immobility" and its implications in the Pacific Islands.

Canadian family on Canada Day

Though small, the population of Canadians in the United States is quite diverse, and includes students, highly skilled professionals on H-1B or NAFTA visas, family migrants, and retirees. Canadian immigrants have much higher educational attainment and incomes than the native- and overall foreign-born populations. This article offers an interesting data snapshot of Canadians in the United States.

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.

A boy peers through fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.

DGSwingKathleen Interview

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.

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Though little recognized as such, the Workforce Investment Act represents one of the most important immigrant integration initiatives in the United States, assisting workers in obtaining the necessary training and language skills to advance in the workforce. Despite a steady increase of immigrants in need of these services, a decreasing share are able to access the programs to keep pace with a changing labor market.

For two decades, Australia has experimented with different asylum policies in response to an increase in refugees and asylum seekers entering the country. A look at the country's challenges in managing a hotly contested political and public debate.

For economic and political reasons, more governments are turning to visas to admit select groups of highly skilled immigrants (especially in high-tech and high-growth fields) to their countries to boost entrepreneurship and enhance job creation. A look at the challenges, opportunities, and increasing popularity of these entrepreneur visa programs.

Immigrant legalizations in the United States and Europe ("regularizations" in the EU context) have been used repeatedly for broad and discrete groups of immigrants. A look at how these programs have been implemented historically and the political and policy implications they face today.

An estimated 7 percent of people in Mexico were not registered with the government at birth and thus lack official record of their name, age, parentage, and citizenship. Without a birth certificate, unregistered Mexican children lack access to education, health care, and basic social services, while unregistered adults face significant economic and civic-integration challenges. Both groups are more vulnerable to being trafficked, exploited, or recruited into criminal groups. This article provides a primer on this important issue, with insight into the experiences of unregistered, unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the United States.

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The majority of South American born counted in the 2000 census were from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. MPI's David Dixon and Julia Gelatt look at the social and economic profiles of the foreign born from this region.

Over half of all Central American foreign born in the United States are from El Salvador and Guatemala. MPI's Megan Davy examines the numbers as well as events and policies that have shaped Central American migration.

The Asian born accounted for more than a quarter of the total U.S. foreign-born population in 2000. MPI's David Dixon looks at the social and economic profiles of the foreign born from Eastern, Southeastern South Central and Western Asia.

About five million students with limited proficiency in English were enrolled in U.S. public schools in the 2003-2004 school year. MPI's Jeanne Batalova examines their characteristics.

MPI's David Dixon looks at the social and economic profiles of the foreign born from Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa.

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Julia Gelatt and Jennifer Yau report on resumption of free flights for undocumented border crossers, Senators Kyl and Cornyn's immigration enforcement proposals, and the use of immigration laws in national security investigations.
MPI's Jennifer Yau outlines the main points of the McCain-Kennedy bill and reports on the passage of the Real ID Act, medical costs of the undocumented, and more.
MPI’s Betsy Cooper reports on the new U.S. passport requirements, the Arizona Minuteman project, the latest REAL ID Act developments, and more.
MPI’s Jennifer Yau reports on the immigration-related impacts of recent summit-level talks among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, plus a proposed ICE and CBP merger, and more.
MPI's Jennifer Yau and Betsy Cooper report on the immigration provisions in the President's budget proposal, the State of the Union address, and more.

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