E.g., 01/24/2022
E.g., 01/24/2022

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

DGSwingKathleen Interview

Over the past decade, migration has emerged as one of the most pressing issues facing governments around the world. Nearing the end of his tenure as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing sat down with MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland to reflect on his ten years leading IOM, as well as the international community's role on migration going forward.

Chinese students

The United States has long been the top choice for international students from around the world, hosting about 1.1 million foreign students in higher education institutions in 2016-17. However, U.S. enrollment has slowed in recent years due to several factors. This article offers a data snapshot of the population of international students in the United States.

Eloy Detention Center

Nearly 2.5 million immigrants have passed through the U.S. immigration detention system since 2003. As the United States has expanded detention in recent decades, it has increasingly relied on contracts with facilities run by for-profit companies to house large numbers of detainees. This article traces the growing involvement of the private prison industry in U.S. immigration enforcement.

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.

IcelandPort NickSarebi Flickr

A small, isolated country, Iceland has been home to a largely homogenous population for much of its history. But in recent years, a booming economy and expanding tourism sector have drawn rising numbers of immigrants to the island nation. This article explores Iceland's balancing act of maintaining economic growth through immigration while preserving its culture and language.

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Documentary filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini, the team behind the acclaimed How Democracy Works Now series that explores the battle over comprehensive immigration reform in the 2000s, discuss what it was like to experience Washington, DC and the policymaking process from an insider's perspective.

feb12 robertson camerini 300
In 2001, filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini embarked on a journey that took them across the country and into the offices of the U.S. Capitol, local town halls, high-level negotiations, election races, and activist rallies, all to tell one large and complex story: how the U.S. policy process — particularly in immigration reform — really works. Joyce Matthews, editor of the Migration Information Source, recently caught up with Michael and Shari for a candid conversation about their ambitious project and what they took away from their six years filming the U.S. immigration debate. Foreword by Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of the Migration Policy Institute.

Rarely is migration among the Chinese from Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, and Taiwan to the countries of the Pacific Rim as cut and dry as the labels "immigrant," "emigrant," and "returnee" suggest. In fact, Chinese migrants from each of these areas of origin share a tendency for traversing between their homeland; country of work, study, or residence; and even a third country as the needs of the family dictate. This article examines these contemporary migration patterns using Chinese migrants in New Zealand as a case study.

The past decade has brought tens of thousands of Chinese migrants to Africa, and well over half of all Chinese migrants to the continent head to South Africa. Yoon Jung Park of Rhodes University discusses the history of Chinese migration to South Africa, the various communities of Chinese currently residing in the country, and their levels of political, social, and economic integration.

Most of China's roughly 145 million rural-to-urban migrants were born after 1980, making this population the "new generation" of internal migrant workers. Having been directly influenced by China's rapid economic growth and recent sociodemographic policy changes, this cohort of rural-urban migrants offers much to learn with respect to their motivations. This article discusses survey data indicating that new-generation migrants have somewhat different motivations and expectations than their more traditional counterparts, such as the desire for excitement, fun, and career development independent of the needs of the family back home.

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The U.S. federal government has spread immigration-related responsibilities among six agencies. MPI’s Megan Davy, Deborah Meyers, and Jeanne Batalova explain which agencies handle such tasks as assisting refugees, issuing visas, and handling interior enforcement.
According to the 2000 census, more than 150,000 foreign born lived in the counties affected by Hurricane Katrina. MPI's Jeanne Batalova takes a detailed look at the foreign-born population in the areas hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
About one in 10 U.S. immigrants is self-employed. MPI’s Jeanne Batalova and David Dixon explore the importance and dimensions of this phenomenon.

The European born are more likely to be proficient in English, work in higher-level occupations, and have higher earnings than the overall foreign-born population. MPI's David Dixon examines the social and economic profiles of the foreign born from Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Europe.

The importance of knowledge, skills, and technologies in post-industrial economies has beckoned well-educated migrants to the United States. MPI's Jeanne Batalova takes a detailed look at the foreign born with a bachelor's degree or higher.

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MPI's Jennifer Yau and Betsy Cooper report on the immigration provisions in the President's budget proposal, the State of the Union address, and more.
MPI’s Jennifer Yau and Betsy Cooper report on Supreme Court rulings, DHS leadership and oversight, and immigrant workers.
MPI's Jennifer Yau and Betsy Cooper report on intelligence reform, the safe third country agreement between the U.S. and Canada, and changes to the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.
MPI's Jennifer Yau reports on Arizona's Proposition 200, U.S.-Mexico migration talks, and continued debate on the Homeland Security Bill.
Policy BeatCongressional Leaders Consider Homeland Security Bill... H-1B Visa Cap for 2005 Reached on First Day of Fiscal Year... USCIS Releases New Immigrant Orientation Guide... Policy Beat In Brief...

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