E.g., 01/27/2022
E.g., 01/27/2022

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

Scaffolding surrounds a mosque in Iran.

Large numbers of well-educated Iranians have left their country of birth since its 1979 revolution, in a “brain drain” that has held back Iran’s economy and cultural institutions. Iran’s isolation from the world has worsened in recent years, and a stuttering economy, currency freefall, and widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to the underlying factors encouraging emigration, as this article examines.

People carry the flag of the Dominican Republic at a parade in Washington, DC.

Immigrants from the Dominican Republic are the fourth-largest Hispanic immigrant group in the United States, and number nearly 1.2 million people. This population has increased almost tenfold since 1960, but remains mostly concentrated in just a few metro areas. This article provides an overview of Dominican immigrants in the United States.

Migrants arrive in Greece on a crowded boat from Turkey.

The European Union’s landmark 2016 migration deal with Turkey offered aid and other benefits in exchange for Turkey's assistance in helping reduce arrivals of asylum seekers and other migrants. At its fifth anniversary, the EU-Turkey deal remains one criticized by human-rights advocates and has met frustration from Turkey, but in many ways created a blueprint for other externalization arrangements, as this article outlines.

unaccompanied children border cbp donna

The number of unaccompanied child migrants at the U.S. southern border has risen, presenting President Joe Biden with challenges similar to those faced by his predecessors in 2014 and 2019. This article examines the previous episodes and evaluates how Biden is mirroring or deviating from previous presidents' responses.

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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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Source Kaushal India CitizenshipLaw Art DTM Wikicommons

The Modi government's push for a Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens sparked deadly riots and chilled India's 200 million Muslims, who fear being relegated to second-class citizenship—and for some, even statelessness. This article explores actions by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, the significance of Bangladeshi illegal immigration as a driver, and what a register of citizens in Assam might mean for India.

AfricanUnionMinisterialConferenceonMigration

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.

EUTurkeyFlags_IanUsher_Flickr

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.

_SurveillanceSystems Source March2020

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.

WomanInWheelchairWithNurse_pikrepo

Japan is hoping to bring in as many as 350,000 medium-skilled foreign workers over five years to fill labor market gaps in its rapidly aging society. Yet does this system of Specified Skilled Workers represent an effort to secure a workforce without making long-term settlement possible? And considering its linkage to a Technical Intern Training Program much criticized for abusive practices, does this change represent real reform? This article examines these and other issues.

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CaribbeanDayDancers

Caribbean immigrants represent 10 percent of the 44.5 million immigrants in the United States, with the vast majority coming from just five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. Depending on their origin country and period of arrival, immigrants from the Caribbean have varying skill levels, racial composition, language background, and motivations for migration, as this article explores.

ChinatownSanFrancisco_TonyWebster_Flickr

The national origins of new arrivals to the United States are shifting, in ways not always fully appreciated. Recent newcomers are more likely to come from Asia, Central America, and Africa, and less likely to be from Mexico. This article offers key demographic information about the 15 immigrant groups that have experienced the largest growth since 2010, including Indians, Chinese, Colombians, Nigerians, and Bangladeshis.

BraziliansinDC

South Americans represent a small, but growing share of immigrants in the United States, composing 7 percent of country’s total foreign-born population. Recent growth has been marked by an uptick in arrivals from increasingly failing Venezuela, with an increase of 61,000 Venezuelan immigrants from 2016 to 2017. This article offers an interesting data snapshot of South American immigrants in the United States.

MexicoSpotlight SouthLawndaleIL

For decades, Mexicans have been the largest immigrant group in the United States. While this is still the case, the Mexican immigrant population is no longer growing at the rate it once was. In fact, between 2010 and 2017, the number of Mexicans in the country first leveled off and then began to decline. This article explores the latest data on Mexican immigrants in the United States.

VietnameseBusiness

The Vietnamese immigrant population in the United States has grown significantly since the end of the Vietnam War, making it the sixth-largest foreign-born population in the country. The main modes of arrival for the Vietnamese have shifted over the years, from refugee protection to family reunification. This article explores the characteristics of Vietnamese immigrants, including their incomes, education, English proficiency, and more.

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During recent decades, large-scale international migration has been an external escape valve for Guatemala, a response to the country's multiple internal problems. This article examines Guatemalan migration, primarily to the United States, into the post-war era; U.S. government immigration policies affecting Guatemalans; the impacts of migration within Guatemala; and Guatemala/Mexico migration dynamics.

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.

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AbolishICE PegHunter Flickr

With the #AbolishICE movement catching fire among some on the left, critics of the Trump administration's immigration policies have seized on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as their main target—even condemning it for actions taken by other agencies. This article explores the evolution of ICE and resistance to it, as well as actions taken by the agency itself that have made its mission even more controversial.

SCOTUSTravelBan TedEytan Flickr

Though the Supreme Court handed the Trump administration a major victory by upholding its much-contested travel ban, less noted has been the fact that the ruling left an opening for future challenges to the policy of barring groups of foreign nationals from the country. This Policy Beat explores the evolution of the travel ban, the justices' arguments for and against, and changes in visa grants from travel-ban countries.

A boy peers through fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.

NationalGuardBorder JonSoucy USArmy

Seizing on reports of a migrant “caravan” making its way northward through Mexico, President Donald Trump called for up to 4,000 National Guard troops to deploy to the Southern border. Although previous presidents took similar action in response to upticks in violence and apprehensions, the picture at the border today differs on several metrics. This article examines how the deployment compares to those under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

MarineCitizen SgtRandallAClinton Flickr

While much attention has focused on President Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the administration has moved, via a much wider scope of actions, to reduce legal immigration to the United States. This article explores changes including slowed processing of family- and employment-based visas, dramatic cuts in refugee admissions, and heightened vetting and evidence requirements for would-be immigrants.

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