E.g., 01/21/2022
E.g., 01/21/2022

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

The number of Central American immigrants in the United States has grown dramatically, amid political corruption, violence, and natural disasters in their native countries. But recent images of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border do not tell the whole story, with more than half the population arriving in 2000 or earlier. This article offers key data on the 3.8 million Central American immigrants in the United States.

An Afghan man speaks to an interpeter working with the U.S. Marine Corps.

The U.S. government is racing to speed up the evacuation and immigration of Afghan translators and others who provided assistance during the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The eleventh-hour moves are a response to long delays and backlogs that have plagued the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program since it was unveiled more than a decade ago. This article provides an overview of the SIV program and the rush to evacuate Afghan allies.

Two officials visit the China-Uganda Agricultural Cooperation Industrial Park in Uganda.

Trade between China and Africa has ballooned, reaching nearly $200 billion in 2019. Yet many of the migrant entrepreneurs and traders who contribute to this relationship live in precarious positions in both China and Africa. This article explores the informal systems navigated by many migrants in both regions and the policies that drive the precarity in which many of these traders live.

A woman holding an Iranian flag at sunset.

The United States is home to the largest population of Iranian migrants in the world. More than half of Iranian immigrants in the United States live in California. This article explores key details of this immigrant population, which is older, more highly educated, and has significantly higher median household incomes than the U.S.-born and overall immigrant populations.

A private refugee sponsor in Canada plays with a boy.

Canada is one of the world’s top countries for resettling refugees, relying on individual Canadians and nonprofit groups—not the government—for much of this resettlement. This article examines Canada’s unique system of private sponsorship, which has become a model for other countries as they seek to increase capacity for refugee resettlement at a time of record global need.

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africa intracontinental movement

While intraregional migration is a pillar of the African Union's focus on enhancing regional integration and economic development, visa-free travel or visas upon arrival are a reality for only about half of the countries on the continent. Progress towards free movement for Africans has occurred mostly at a subregional level, as this article explores.

syrian family germany integration faith

Faith plays a significant role in the mental health and social integration of refugees and asylum seekers. Yet in Germany, concerns about Islam and migrants from Muslim-majority countries have complicated social cohesion efforts, particularly in the wake of the 2015-16 refugee and migration crisis.

thailand flooding climate migration

Migration can help build resilience against the encroaching effects of climate change. Instead of being passive victims of environmental degradation, individuals sometimes move to gain money, knowledge, and skills that can fortify their household of origin. Migrant workers from Thailand demonstrate how and under what conditions this process works.

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Climate-induced migration can lead to tensions and violence between host communities and new arrivals. This conflict can flare up at various levels, including among rural farmers and herders in relatively peaceful countries such as Tanzania.

climate change migration flood

Climate change is affecting human movement now, causing internal displacement and international migration, and will do so in the future. But the impact is often indirect, and rarely is the process as straightforward as one might think. This article provides an overview of research on how climatic hazards drive and affect migration, reviewing which types of people might migrate and under what conditions.

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HealthWorkers_Flickr_JakeGreenbergUSPacificFleet

Immigrants make up a disproportionately high number of U.S. health-care workers, from doctors and nurses to home health aides. In 2018, more than 2.6 million immigrants worked in the U.S. health-care field. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, immigrants have played a key role in the frontline response. This article explores the demographics of this group of essential workers by occupation, origin, language, education, and more.

VenezuelanGirl FlickrValentinGuerrero

Until recently, the Venezuelan immigrant population in the United States was relatively small compared others from South America. But it has grown significantly, reaching 394,000 in 2018, as Venezuela's destabilization has driven large-scale emigration. Compared to other immigrants in the United States, Venezuelans have higher levels of education but are also more likely to live in poverty, as this Spotlight explores.

WomanAndChild UNSplash_jhon david

Immigrant women and girls constituted slightly more than half of the 44.7 million immigrants in the United States in 2018. This is higher than the global average, likely because immigrants are more likely to enter the United States through family reunification channels rather than labor migration ones (which globally are predominantly male). This article offers a rich data profile on immigrant women and girls in the United States including age, education, employment, and poverty levels.

_Flags Chicago Airport

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.

ChinatownResidents_FlickrZachKorb

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.

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ColombiaIDP BHeger UNHCR

Colombia has more internally displaced persons (IDPs) than any other country in the world, the result of a 52-year civil war. Beyond improving the lives of its 7.3 million IDPs, the country faces a number of crucial migration issues as it works to achieve stability in the wake of an historic peace accord signed in late 2016. This country profile examines historical trends and current and future migration challenges in Colombia.

JapanElderly HanselAndRegrettal Flickr

One of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, Japan is looking to immigration to address increased labor shortages—albeit slowly and largely without public debate. This country profile offers a brief overview of Japan’s migration history and examines the current immigration system, in particular policies and programs to bring in foreign workers, particularly on a temporary basis.

LearningKorean TruongVanVi ILO

Faced with labor shortages in key sectors of the economy, South Korea has moved carefully in recent decades toward accepting greater numbers of workers—albeit in temporary fashion. Its Employment Permit System, launched in 2003, earned international accolades for bringing order and legality to immigration in the country, although several challenges remain to be addressed as this Country Profile explores.

BerlinSeesSyria ekvidi Flickr

Although long one of the world's top migrant destinations, only in the recent past has Germany come to acknowledge and adjust to its role as a country of immigration. Its welcoming approach—a relatively new development—has been put to the test amid massive humanitarian inflows beginning in 2015. This country profile examines Germany's history on immigration and highlights current and emerging debates.

CongoleseRefugee FNoy UNHCR

One of the least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has experienced significant migration outflows and inflows tied to political and economic crises in recent decades. While most Congolese migrants head to neighboring countries, destinations have diversified, with an uptick in those leaving for opportunities in Europe and beyond. This country profile explores historical and contemporary patterns of migration to and from DR Congo.

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PB Jan2020 F2

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.

DACANov19

The fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has ping ponged between all three branches of government. But with the Supreme Court poised to decide DACA's future in spring 2020, Congress may finally be forced to act to resolve the status of DREAMers after nearly two decades of considering various DREAM Act bills. Could this break the long stalemate Congress has had on passing substantive immigration legislation, and pave the way for other actions?

GEOGroupProtest

From online petitions to organized walkouts, corporate America is facing increasing employee activism over its business involvement with agencies implementing the federal government's immigration policies. This "cubicle activism," seen at companies ranging from Amazon and Google to Bank of America and Wayfair, has garnered mixed success to date, forcing divestiture from private prison contractors but fewer results in other contexts, as this article explores.

AsylumIV

Buoyed by initial successes challenging Trump administration immigration actions such as the travel ban in federal court, many critics expected the judiciary to act as a brake on major changes to the immigration system. Yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown a willingness to affirm the executive branch's immigration policies, most recently permitting what is arguably the most significant asylum policy change in four decades to proceed.

AOCPelosi

Ideological differences in the Democratic Party over immigration that were once masked by unity against President Trump’s border wall and immigration agenda are now being exposed as Democratic presidential candidates seek to stand out in a crowded field and amid controversy over an emergency border spending bill. As the 2020 electoral calendar accelerates, how the party navigates the gulf between its most liberal and conservative wings will become a greater challenge for its leaders.

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