E.g., 02/18/2020
E.g., 02/18/2020

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

Digital litter

Several years after a flurry of tech innovations arose to respond to the 2015-16 European migration crisis and assist asylum seekers, "digital litter"—now-dormant websites, broken links, and poor-quality information spread through apps and social media—is floating around. At best, digital litter is a nuisance. At worst, it can place refugees and migrants in harm's way and undermine their decision-making, as this article explores.

The United States has historically been the top country for refugee resettlement, but was surpassed in 2018 by Canada amid record cuts to admissions by the Trump administration. Approximately 22,500 refugees were resettled in the United States during fiscal year 2018, as well as 26,500 asylees. This article examines where these newcomers came from and many other characteristics, including religious affiliation, age, and gender.

A view of Prague

Since regaining its independence in 1989, the Czech Republic has transformed from a country of emigration to one of rising immigration, amid growing labor market needs. Even as Czechia received few asylum seekers during the 2015-16 European migration crisis, the country has taken a harder line on immigration, and public opinion and political stances have grown more negative towards immigrants and refugees.

President Trump's May 2019 Rose Garden speech

The Trump administration’s plan to create a "merit-based" U.S. immigration system, lessening the longstanding focus on family reunification in favor of more economic migrants, has met with a lackluster response from Democrats and Republicans alike. This Policy Beat article explores how the Trump proposal would reshape immigration to the United States, and how it compares to selection systems in other countries and past debates about changing the U.S. system.

Plane engines

This article explores post-deportation dynamics and challenges returnees face in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Even as European countries focus on increasing returns of migrants deemed not to have a right to stay, little attention has been given to conditions at return—even to a country such as the DRC where allegations of serious human-rights violations against returned migrants have been reported for years.

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Construction site in Kuwait

In Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, migrants make up a significant share of the private-sector workforce. While mainstream narratives commonly focus on the exploitation and abuse some of these migrant workers experience, their lives and relationships with the native born are much more complex and less unequal than is often perceived, as this article explores.

Honduran boy

Since fiscal year 2010, more than 70,000 immigrant children have applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a pathway to a green card for youth who have been abused or neglected by their parents. Based on interviews with SIJ applicants, judges, and attorneys, this article provides an overview of the SIJ program and identifies limitations on access.

Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador

The deepening of Venezuela's social, economic, and political implosion has resulted in the fastest movement of people across borders in Latin American history. Neighboring countries have responded with a patchwork of policy measures, though the scale and growing diversity of Venezuelan arrivals have challenged regional actors, as this article explores.

Muhammad Ashiq

The social and economic effects of migration are widely known and discussed. But do people become happier overall after moving abroad? Using the latest research, this article examines happiness outcomes of migration on migrants as well as the native born in immigrant-receiving countries.

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.

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A Burundian refugee family outside their home in Boise, Idaho.

The United States has historically led the world on refugee resettlement, and today remains the top country, having resettled approximately 85,000 refugees in fiscal 2016. It also granted asylum status to more than 26,000 individuals in FY 2015. This article examines characteristics of U.S. refugee and asylee populations, including top countries of origin, states of resettlement, age and gender, and more.

A woman sells West African clothing at a market in Washington, DC.

The population of sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States has grown rapidly in recent decades, from 130,000 in 1980 to 1.7 million in 2015. The current flow of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa consists of skilled professionals, individuals seeking reunification with relatives, and refugees from war-torn countries. This article provides the latest data on immigrants from the region in the United States.

Mujeres guatemaltecas asisten a misa en una iglesia en Los Ángeles.

La migración centroamericana a los Estados Unidos comenzó en gran números en los años ochenta, impulsada por la inestabilidad política, los desastres naturales y las dificultades económicas. Aproximadamente 3,4 millones de centroamericanos vivieron en los Estados Unidos en 2015, principalmente de El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras. Dónde viven en los Estados Unidos, su competencia en inglés, su estado legal, las vías de inmigración, y más, están cubiertos en este artículo.

Guatemalan immigrants attend mass at a church in Los Angeles.

Central American migration to the United States began in large numbers in the 1980s, fueled by political instability, natural disaster, and economic hardship. Approximately 3.4 million Central Americans lived in the United States in 2015, primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Where they live in the United States, their English proficiency, legal status, immigration pathways, and more are covered in this article.

In 2015, 43.3 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the population. The foreign-born population grew more slowly than in prior years, up 2 percent from 2014. Get sought-after data on U.S. immigration trends, including top countries of origin, Mexican migration, refugee admissions, illegal immigration, health-care coverage, and much more in this Spotlight article.

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Belgium is often overlooked as a country of immigration because of its size and its less known history of immigration. Yet over the last three decades Belgium has become a permanent country of settlement for many different types of migrants. Our updated Belgium profile delves into modern migration flows and policies in Belgium which are inching away from a piecemeal approach towards a well-needed, long-term strategy.

Unaccustomed to a large number of migrants, Chile has seen an increase in migrants in the past three decades. Cristián Doña-Reveco and Amanda Levinson examine how the country, still wedded to its dictator-era migration framework, is balancing shifting migration patterns with a piecemeal approach to migration policy.

Jim Cobbe of Florida State University discusses how the close ties between Lesotho (ethnically, almost wholly Basotho) and South Africa (with an even larger Basotho population) are expressed in a history of economic migration, and how new immigrants from China are changing the face of modern-day Lesotho.

Over the past decade, Singapore's multicultural yet nationalist society has experienced substantial inflows of Asian and Western professionals, low-skilled migrants from across Southeast Asia, and new immigrants from nontraditional sending countries. This, coupled with increasingly permanent emigration of educated and skilled Singaporeans, has presented the city-state with complex challenges related to migration policymaking.

Once known for large-scale emigration, Greece has become the main point of entry for unauthorized migrants heading toward Europe. The country must now — amid economic turmoil — grapple with issues related to its highly porous borders, mounting asylum applications, and inadequate immigrant-detention system.

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The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt President Trump's controversial executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement has strong legal parallels to an earlier injunction, which blocked a very different Obama administration initiative on immigration two years ago in a challenge mounted by Republican governors. The two cases have brought new focus to the limits of executive authority in the immigration arena.

President Obama faced criticism over his administration's handling of immigration enforcement from both the left and the right, labeled "deporter in chief" even as he was also accused of lax enforcement. A closer examination of his administration's record paints a more nuanced picture. This article explores how immigration enforcement practices shifted to achieve two key goals over the course of the Obama era.

Donald Trump has made a series of postelection statements suggesting he may backtrack on several campaign pledges on immigration, including building a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Still, his choice of top advisors points to a hard-line agenda. This Policy Beat article examines what some of the better known elements of Trump's immigration policy might look like.

In the wake of a hurricane that has once again devastated Haiti, the United States quickly reversed its toughened policy toward the thousands of Haitian nationals arriving at the California-Mexico border without prior authorization. This Policy Beat examines the shifts in U.S. admission and deportation policy toward Haitian migrants since the 2010 earthquake, and other national and state developments on immigration.

With weeks to spare, the Obama administration met its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September 2016, and announced plans to increase the overall refugee ceiling to 110,000 in fiscal 2017. However, opposition continues to mount in Congress, statehouses, and on the campaign trail, with Republicans citing security concerns in calling for lower numbers or additional screening, as this article explores.

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