E.g., 01/18/2022
E.g., 01/18/2022

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

DarienMigrantBoats

Growing numbers of African and Asian migrants are moving through Latin America, many hoping to reach the United States or Canada after expensive, arduous, and often dangerous journeys that can take months or even years. As more extracontinental migrants transit through South and Central America, Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica have developed the most comprehensive policies to manage these flows, sometimes working in coordination with the U.S. government.

AsylumSeekersCanada

Nearly 50,000 asylum seekers have entered Canada irregularly via land crossing from the United States since spring 2017—contributing to a doubling in the overall number of asylum requests seen in 2016. Based on interviews with asylum claimants, this article analyzes their motivations for making the journey and the political implications of rising irregular migration to Canada.

HungaryReferendum

The recent rise in xenophobia in Hungary stands in marked contrast with the country's rich migration history. After 390,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in 2015, the government of Viktor Orbán issued policies to significantly limit migration and enacted a law criminalizing humanitarian assistance to migrants. This country profile examines Hungary’s migration past and present, tracing the country’s multicultural heritage to the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment.

JusticeDept

With a backlog of more than 1 million removal cases, the U.S. immigration court system is in crisis. Pressure from external forces, internal challenges, and lagging resources for the courts at a time of massive increases in spending on immigration enforcement have contributed to the backlog. This article explores how the system got to the breaking point, and what opportunities for reform exist.

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.

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ScienceLab MichaelTipton Flickr

More than 1 million international students were in the United States in 2015-16, a significant share of them in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields. While countries increasingly are vying for this population, these individuals face a complex choice upon graduation: to stay or leave? This article examines international STEM students in the United States and the motivations underlying their postgraduation plans.

MexicanGirl CurtCarnemark WorldBank

While Mexican women account for a significant share of migration flows to the United States, there has been little focus on their movement and effects on children in Mexico. This article, based on survey data of children in Puebla, Mexico, explores the impact of maternal Mexican migration on educational experiences and aspirations of the children left behind.

SB1070Rally JacobRuff Flickr

Over the past decade, state and local policymakers have increasingly stepped into the void left by Washington over legislative reform of the immigration system and have enacted their own policies, particularly in regard to illegal immigration. This article explores this trend of increased activism and examines whether restrictive state immigration laws have had an effect on the size of immigrant populations at the state level.

HKDomesticWorkers IDWF Flickr

Hong Kong is home to more than 340,000 foreign domestic workers, who can be found in one of every seven households. Despite efforts by the governments of Hong Kong and top sending countries, these workers remain uniquely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. This article examines the conditions foreign domestic workers face, the policies governing their employment, and the challenges in protecting their rights.

BorderWall BBCWorldService Flickr

Over the past several decades, in response to the uptick in spontaneous migration flows, there has been a surge in construction of border walls and fences. This trend begs several questions: Why now? Did border walls work in the past? Do they work today? This article examines the history of border barriers and assesses how effective they are at deterring unauthorized migration.

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Spotlight march13 Cent America Map 324

Since 1990, the number of Central American immigrants in the United States has nearly tripled. This immigrant population grew faster than any other region-of-origin population from Latin America between 2000 and 2010. This article focuses on a wide range of characteristics of Central American immigrants residing in the United States, including the population's size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Over the past five decades, Mexicans have constituted the single largest group of immigrants to the United States originating from Latin America. In 2011, 11.7 million Mexican immigrants resided in the United States, representing 29 percent of the U.S. immigrant population and close to 4 percent of the overall U.S. population. This article examines the latest data on Mexican immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Immigrants accounted for 16 percent of the 58.8 million college-educated persons in the United States in 2011, with one in three immigrants holding a college degree. In this spotlight, MPI's Qingqing Ji and Jeanne Batalova provide a demographic and socioeconomic profile of college-educated natives and immigrants in the country.

There were more than 53 million nonimmigrant (temporary) admissions to the United States in 2011. MPI's Qingqing Ji and Jeanne Batalova outline the definition of nonimmigrants and take a detailed look at admissions data and data limitations in this spotlight.

In 2011, more than 1 million people were granted lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of new LPRs were immigrants with family ties in the United States, report MPI's Joseph Russell and Jeanne Batalova in this updated look at the latest statistics on legal immigration.

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Chile's economic growth, political stability, and increased immigration are spurring the development of a new migration policy, according to Cristián Doña and Amanda Levinson.
cw map

Paul Spoonley describes a massive economic and cultural shift caused by emigration from the Cook Islands to New Zealand.

md map
Moldova is a small country facing huge emigration spurred mainly by economic hardships, according to Michael Jandl.

Judit Juhasz of examines the forces that have made Hungary into a sending, transit, and destination country for migration.

Long a country of emigration, immigration, and asylum, Turkey has also become a country of transit for immigrants, according to Kemal Kirisci of Boagazici University.

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MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and the impact that law has had on past and present immigration policies.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the halted implementation of Alabama's HB 56, the new DHS prosecutorial discretion policy, the opening of the 2013 diversity visa lottery, and more.

Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the immigration measures enacted in response to 9/11 and the fate of those measures ten years later.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against Alabama's new immigration enforcement law, policy changes in the Secure Communities program, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the recent Supreme Court decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, the ongoing controversy surrounding states' participation in Secure Communities, the extension of TPS for Haitian nationals, and more.

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