E.g., 01/22/2022
E.g., 01/22/2022

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

An Afghan refugee in the United States.

The dramatic evacuation from Afghanistan may bring more than 50,000 new Afghan immigrants to the United States, according to government predictions. These new arrivals would join a small but growing population of Afghans in the United States, most of whom have arrived since 2010. This article provides insights into this immigrant group, many of whom arrived on the Special Immigrant Visa.

A girl in Farah province, Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has prompted fears of a rollback of human rights and a new refugee crisis. This article examines the prospects for possible future Afghan displacement in the region and beyond by looking at the last four decades of forced migration from Afghanistan and new factors that could determine what happens now that the U.S. military and its allies have pulled out.

A member of the MS-13 gang.

Gang violence is a major driver of migration, particularly from Central America to the United States. But governments on both sides often rely on outdated and static understandings of gangs and their membership. This article explains the history of groups such as MS-13 and Barrio 18 and why they are relevant for immigration policy.

La gente lleva la bandera de la República Dominicana en un desfile en Washington, DC.

Los inmigrantes de la República Dominicana son el cuarto grupo de inmigrantes hispanos más grande de los Estados Unidos y suman casi 1.2 millones de personas. Esta población se ha multiplicado casi por diez desde 1960, pero sigue concentrada principalmente en unas pocas áreas metropolitanas. Este artículo proporciona una descripción general de los inmigrantes dominicanos en los Estados Unidos.

Refugees prepare to be resettled in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom was once a country primarily of emigration, but in recent decades many more migrants have arrived at its borders than have left. This decades-long transition was interrupted by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, and this article describes the inflection point at which the country finds itself.

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Across North America and Europe, immigrants rely on public transit at higher rates than the native born. This article explores why migrants are disproportionately more likely to use public transportation, the role these systems play in immigrant integration, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commuter trips, budgets, and services.

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The Rohingya people have been rendered stateless and subjected to repeated abuse that has made them the world’s most persecuted minority, with hundreds of thousands pushed into neighboring Bangladesh, as well as India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the Rohingya, including who they are, where they come from, and how they have been systematically marginalized in their native Myanmar and internationally.

syrian migrant refugee conditions

Millions of people flee civil wars for safety elsewhere, but predicting precisely when refugees and asylum seekers will be displaced is not as easy as it seems. There is not always a direct correlation between episodes of violence and patterns of migration. This article explores how civilians require both motivation and opportunity to leave conflict zones.

dry corridor honduras food migration

Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.

eurasian economic union russia

In recent decades Russia has been increasingly reliant on Central Asian migrant workers. Those workers, in turn, have sent back remittances that have been crucial for their countries of origin. Since 2015, many of these ex-Soviet countries have come together in the Eurasian Economic Union to solidify their bonds and ease migrants' passage to Russia. This article explores the bloc and how it reflects Russia's role in the region.

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Indian New Jersey

There are 2.7 million Indian immigrants in the United States, making them the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans. This number has increased dramatically in recent years, growing 13-fold between 1980 and 2019. This article provides an overview of this population, which is more highly educated, more likely to work in management positions, and higher-earning than the U.S. born and overall immigrant population.

College Graduates_uhwestoahu

Nearly 13 million immigrants have a four-year college degree or better. But these highly educated immigrants are not spread evenly throughout the labor market. They make up disproportionate shares of certain jobs, especially in the science and technology fields, accounting for 45 percent of software developers, 42 percent of physical scientists, and 29 percent of physicians. Yet there are signs that the trends of this population might be changing, as this article explores.

Little_Haiti_party

The United States is the top global destination for Haitian migrants, who left Haiti in the wake of political instability and a series of natural disasters, including a 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. Haitian immigrants in the United States contribute an important flow of remittances to their country of origin, which is the second largest in the world as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). Remittances to Haiti have increased nearly sixfold since 2000.

Filipinotown_PWC_Jeepney

Immigration from the Philippines to the United States has been taking place for more than a century, escalating towards the end of the 20th century. Filipinos now represent the fourth-largest U.S. immigrant group. Compared to all immigrants, Filipinos are more highly educated, are more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens, have higher incomes and lower poverty rates, are less likely to be uninsured, and have greater English proficiency.

6.6.10CubanParadeUCByLuigiNovi5

Cuban immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, rising by 2 percent from 2017 to 2018. Overall, Cubans represent 3 percent of all immigrants in the United States. Compared to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations, Cuban immigrants are less likely to be proficient in English, have lower educational attainment, and earn lower household incomes. Learn more about the 1.3 million Cuban immigrants in the United States with this data-rich article.

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AfghanChildren MMaguire UNHCR

Nearly 6 million Afghans fled after violence erupted in the late 1970s, primarily to Iran and Pakistan. While millions returned after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, the security situation has since deteriorated and the government struggles to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the internally displaced. This country profile explores Afghanistan’s complex migration and displacement history as well as ongoing challenges.

Grand Canal in Venice

Long a country of emigration—13 million Italians went abroad between 1880 and 1915—Italy has also experienced significant inflows of Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African workers in recent decades. Italy has also been on the frontlines of Europe's refugee crisis. This country profile examines Italy's shifting migration patterns, policy responses over time, and debates.

Philippines BernardSpragg Flickr

In the Philippines, a pervasive culture of migration has led millions to seek opportunities abroad, particularly since an economic downturn in the 1970s. The government has long embraced exporting labor as official economic policy, but over time, the focus has shifted: first to protecting workers overseas and much more recently to linking migration and development. This article explores the evolution of Filipino migration policy and trends.

CubaCar PedroSzekely Flickr

The Cuban Revolution unleashed a massive exodus from the island. Cuba is now among the top origin countries of immigrants in the United States—where for decades they have received preferential treatment—with smaller numbers across Europe and Latin America. This article explores the evolution of Cuban migration, particularly within the context of the Cold War and shifting U.S. policies toward the country.

Russia YNakanishi Flickr

The history of dynamic migration flows throughout the Soviet Union pre- and post-collapse has significantly shaped the current migration reality in Russia. Even as borders have shifted and policies changed, inflows and outflows still occur mostly within the former Soviet space. As this article explores, Russia has worked in recent decades to strengthen its migration management system and update its residence and citizenship policies.

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Calls by activists to "defund the police," in the wake of a string of deadly encounters for Black community members, echo earlier demands to "abolish ICE" and reflect broader criticism of enforcement systems perceived as overly aggressive. Budgets have ballooned at federal immigration agencies and within the immigrant detention system as enforcement has become increasingly muscular in the post-9/11 period.

Source PB TrumpProclamation May2020 JoyceBoghosian WikiCommons

The U.S. in April became the first country to explicitly justify immigration curbs not on grounds of COVID-19, but to protect the jobs of U.S. workers at a time of skyrocketing unemployment. A Trump administration proclamation limiting green cards for new arrivals was greeted coolly by the president's base, with many expecting the White House would issue new limits for nonimmigrant workers—which could have a more significant impact.

ImmigrantFarmWorker_LauraElizabethPohl_Bread fortheWorld

On the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic yet also more disproportionately affected by the virus and with reduced health-care access, immigrants in the United States have largely found themselves blocked from federal economic relief. As states and philanthropic groups seek to plug the gap, this article examines conditions and changing policies around immigration and the coronavirus response.

TravellersCoronavirus_FlickrChadDavis

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the intersection of U.S. immigration and public health policy, and the unique challenges that immigrants face. This article analyzes the Trump administration’s introduction of some of the most stringent immigration restrictions in modern times, the often disparate fallout of the outbreak on immigrant communities, the status of federal immigration agency operations, and more.

ManAtBorderFence_BBCNinaRobinson

Through a set of interlocking policies, the Trump administration has walled off the asylum system at the U.S.-Mexico border, guaranteeing that only a miniscule few can successfully gain protection. While the Migrant Protection Protocols, more commonly known as Remain in Mexico, have been a key part of throttling asylum applications, two newer, far less visible programs hold the potential to complete the job, as this article explores.

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