E.g., 01/16/2022
E.g., 01/16/2022

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

royal navy rescue

Even as the number of people making the dangerous journey through the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe has declined since the migration and refugee crisis of 2015-16, the rate of deaths has increased. This article evaluates the role of Europe's hardening approach to trans-Mediterranean migration and the criminalization of search-and-rescue operations by nongovernmental organizations.

Trump_Biden_Immigration divide

In the United States, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on immigration. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have offered sharply diverging policy positions, and the outcome of the election is sure to have profound consequences for the U.S. immigration system. Yet this partisan divide is relatively new. Just two decades ago, the parties were much more united on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy and society.

Greece_Lesvos_tents

When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

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MPI Source Digital Litter with Text V2 01 cropped

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.

Plane_FlickrOskariKettunen

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.

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.

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.

BritishForeignFighters

Even with the collapse of the Islamic State's "caliphate," thousands of Western foreign fighters are estimated to remain in the Middle East. Deciding how to handle the return of the radicalized—and their dependents—is no easy issue. Some countries seek to revoke their citizenship. Yet citizenship revocation has unclear impact and raises deep questions about the limits of a state’s responsibility to its citizens, as this article explores.

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Guatemalans EricChan Flickr

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.

Guatemalans EricChan Flickr

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.

Naturalization OldSalemInc Flickr

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.

KoreansNYC YoungSokYun Flickr

Approximately 1 million Korean immigrants (overwhelmingly from South Korea) lived in the United States in 2015, representing 2.4 percent of the U.S. immigrant population. While earlier waves consisted largely of unskilled laborers and their families, contemporary Korean immigration boasts high socioeconomic standing and Koreans are generally considered among the most successful immigrant groups.

SyriansDallas CNeukum IRC

More than 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Nearly half of Syrian refugees are under age 14, and this population is more dispersed geographically across the country than the overall Syrian immigrant population. This article offers a demographic profile of Syrian refugees, including age, gender, language, and religion, as well as top state and city destinations.

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sf map
South Africa is struggling to define a post-apartheid migration policy that is responsive to its changing role in Africa, the relationship between migration and development, and the country's rampant xenophobia, seen most graphically in May 2008. Jonathan Crush of the Southern African Migration Project reports on the latest developments.

Economic, social, and political conditions have pushed North Koreans to illegally leave their country and migrate to South Korea, China, Russia, and elsewhere. MPI's Hiroyuki Tanaka examines humanitarian and economic migration flows from North Korea, and the situation of North Koreans living abroad.

Thousands of Salvadorans fled the country during its civil war in the 1980s, many of them to the United States. The government is focused on engaging its diaspora but also must deal with immigrants from neighboring countries and issues around human trafficking.

mk map

Macedonia avoided the interethnic conflict that ripped through the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. It was the only state to emerge with its independence (in 1991) and no loss of blood.

et map
While Ethiopians have long followed seasonal migration patterns within the Horn of Africa, it was only after the political upheavals of the 1970s that they began to settle in the West, as MPI's Aaron Matteo Terrazas reports.

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DAPASCOTUS VictoriaPickering Flickr

A split ruling by the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas has dealt a hard blow to the Obama administration's signature deferred action programs. While the decision makes it unlikely the DAPA program and DACA expansion will be implemented in their current form, the outcome at the high court may have opened a path for renewed movement on immigration policy changes in Congress, as this article explores.

Green_Card

While the EB-5 investor visa program from inception has had its share of critics, its sharp expansion over a short period of time—combined with the emergence of several high-profile controversies—has markedly increased scrutiny, and thus the possibility of legislative reform. This Policy Beat outlines the debate surrounding the EB-5 program and possible changes awaiting the program in Congress.

architect of the capitol_supreme court

The fate of the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program could hinge on narrow legal grounds, as became clear when the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the DAPA challenge. This Policy Beat examines the DAPA case and developments regarding the H-1B and EB-5 visa programs, a Department of Homeland Security crackdown on student visa fraud, and more.

HomeSetup WorldReliefSpokane Flickr

The Brussels terrorist attacks have renewed national debate in the United States over whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists to enter the country. Meanwhile, federal courts have frustrated state efforts to block resettlement of Syrian refugees even as some members of Congress have sought to reform the refugee admissions process through new legislation, as this article explores.

GuatemalaDrought ECHO HAvril Flickr

The complex push and pull factors driving child and family migration from Central America to the United States have changed little since the 2014 crisis. Despite some fluctuation in arrival numbers, recent trends suggest the characteristics of an enduring phenomenon. This Policy Beat explores the latest developments in U.S. policy responses, including enforcement operations, development assistance, and family detention.

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