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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Climate change promises to profoundly impact all aspects of human society. This special issue of the Migration Information Source and a companion podcast, Changing Climate, Changing Migration, examine how the effects of environmental change are shaping migration across the globe, now and in the future.
Whether as migrant-sending or migrant-receiving locations—or both—many countries have rich, complex international and internal migration histories. MPI's online journal, the Migration Information Source, offers profiles of more than 70 nations. Written by leading scholars, these profiles delve into countries' migration histories, demographics, policymaking, and more.
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.
While migration once was a lower-priority topic for African governments, the last decade has seen a deepening in governance. Policymakers have integrated migration into their national development strategies and mainstreamed it across policy domains such as health and education. The actions are promising on paper, yet questions remain about the extent to which they will translate to more effective migration management.
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.
The high-stakes gambit taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to allow tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants free movement to the Greek border demonstrated the fragility of the EU-Turkey deal and the European Union's broader approach to outsource migration management to third countries. This article examines the causes for the tensions, the EU approach to external partnerships, and a hardening European attitude towards unwanted arrivals.
As governments seek to push their borders out by amassing ever more data on travelers and migrants, their creation of increasingly complex border surveillance systems and use of risk-assessment technologies could ease mobility for some while rendering other groups immobile based on hypothetical risk profiles and decisions that are not publicly known and cannot be challenged, as this article explores.
Together, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are home to nearly one-quarter of the world's migrants. Despite shifts in the profile of those who migrate and changing demographic realities across the region, such as population aging, perceptions and policies remain set in earlier eras. This article explores the intersection of migration and population dynamics in North America and the Northern Triangle of Central America.
After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.
The mental health of asylum seekers has emerged as an important issue following the 2015-16 European migration and refugee crisis. Many asylum seekers suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and similar conditions—with implications not only for their well-being but also potentially for the outcomes of their claims and the integrity of the asylum system as a whole, as this article explores.
Chile's immigrant population has more than quadrupled since the country emerged from dictatorship in the early 1990s. As immigration has grown and moved away from its European roots to become more diverse, it has emerged as a hot-button political issue, complicating longstanding efforts to reform the country's 1975 immigration law. This article explores Chile's shift to the right on immigration, and how policies might evolve under the presidency of conservative Sebastián Piñera.
Even as the United States and countries in Europe have made a right turn on immigration in recent years, Canada has remained a largely welcoming country. Underlying this resilience is an approach to immigration focused on active management and refinement of policies as well as long-term economic, social, and political integration, as this article explores.
Cuban immigrants are afforded a special place in U.S. immigration law, with most able to gain permanent residency after one year in the country. Following a history of surges in maritime migration, more than 1.1 million Cuban immigrants resided in the United States in 2013, accounting for about 3 percent of the total foreign-born population. This article explores key characteristics of Cubans in the United States, including educational attainment, income, and more.
Immigrant women constitute a varied and dynamic population in the United States with 51 percent or 21.2 million of the country's total foreign-born population. Examining key gender-based socioeconomic indicators from origin and fertility to educational attainment and immigration status, this Spotlight raises implications for sending and receiving countries, with respect to labor opportunities, family structure, gender roles, and more.
An estimated 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States in 2013, about 13 percent of the total U.S. population, constituting the world's largest foreign-born population. This Spotlight from MPI's Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova offers the most current and sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—including origin, educational attainment, the unauthorized, deportations, and more—in one easy-to-use resource.
With the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 and normalization of U.S.-China relations in the late 1970s, Chinese immigration to the United States has steadily increased, to a population of more than 2 million. Using the latest data, this Spotlight highlights characteristics of Chinese immigrants from mainland China and Hong Kong, including their top state and metro areas of residence, immigration pathways, educational attainment, and more.
Migration to the United States from the Korean peninsula, largely from South Korea, owes its roots to political, military, and economic factors, with an estimated 1.1 million Korean immigrants in the United States as of 2013. Korean migration to the United States has stalled in recent years, and even declined, with a small but growing number of immigrants and their U.S.-born children returning to Korea, as this article explores.
Since the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004, the debate on immigrant integration has become more intense. MPI Senior Policy Analyst Joanne van Selm provides the latest developments in this updated Country Profile.
A source for Europe's labor needs since the 1960s, Moroccan migrants and their remittances are central to the economy back home. But as Hein de Haas of Radboud University Nijmegen explains, Morocco is also becoming a transit and immigration country for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.
After its independence in 1993, the Czech Republic became home to tens of thousands of economic migrants. But as Dušan Drbohlav of Charles University reports, tighter restrictions and new laws in accordance with EU standards have not resolved the problems of illegal and transit migration.
Israel is home to Jews and Jewish immigrants as well as Israeli Arabs, Palestinian refugees, and others. But the arrival of foreign workers in the 1990s has further complicated the country's migration issues, as Martha Kruger reports.
Although Georgia eventually wants to join the European Union, it must first confront its large population of internally displaced persons and high rates of emigration. MPI's Joanne van Selm takes a detailed look at a country in transition.
While budget issues and the debt ceiling dominated the congressional agenda and public attention last week, thousands of activists in Washington were stepping up civil disobedience and mobilization tactics to pressure lawmakers into voting to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. This article explores this growing trend and its possible implications for immigration reform in the 113th Congress. It also provides an update on other national, state, and local developments in immigration policy.
Iowa has just become the third state to gain access to federal SAVE immigration data for the purpose of removing noncitizens from its voter lists. This practice, which signifies a major departure from the system's intended purposes, comes amid renewed focus over voting rights. This article explores the recent surge in state activism regarding the possibility of noncitizen voting and also examines the current leadership vacuum in the Department of Homeland Security, new guidance for immigration benefits for same-sex couples, and more.
On June 27, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to overhaul the U.S. immigration system on a scale not seen in decades. Despite this major breakthrough, it is clear that immigration reform faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives, where the dynamics are much different than in the Senate. This article assesses the prospects for immigration reform in the House, explores provisions of the Senate bill, the implications for U.S. immigration policy of the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, and more.
As the U.S. Senate continues its debate over a bill to overhaul the nation's immigration system, the fiscal impacts associated with enactment of such legislation have emerged as a divisive issue. Following the release of an official congressional cost estimate on Tuesday, this article examines the crucial question of how immigrants' contributions to the tax base compare to the public benefits they would receive under S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.
State-level immigration laws have gradually softened in tone since the Supreme Court in 2012 affirmed federal primacy in immigration enforcement in a landmark Arizona case — a trend further solidified by a changed post-election political calculus on immigration reform. This article examines this unanticipated shift away from restrictive state immigration actions as well as the recent new trend in the passage of immigrant-friendly laws regarding in-state tuition and the granting of driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants.