E.g., 01/19/2022
E.g., 01/19/2022

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

eurasian economic union russia

In recent decades Russia has been increasingly reliant on Central Asian migrant workers. Those workers, in turn, have sent back remittances that have been crucial for their countries of origin. Since 2015, many of these ex-Soviet countries have come together in the Eurasian Economic Union to solidify their bonds and ease migrants' passage to Russia. This article explores the bloc and how it reflects Russia's role in the region.

biden first 100 days immigration

The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.

africa intracontinental movement

While intraregional migration is a pillar of the African Union's focus on enhancing regional integration and economic development, visa-free travel or visas upon arrival are a reality for only about half of the countries on the continent. Progress towards free movement for Africans has occurred mostly at a subregional level, as this article explores.

international students college university 2020

For the first time in a decade, fewer international students were studying in the United States during the 2019-20 school year than the year before. This decline, brought about in part by changing U.S. policy, has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article profiles the international student population in the United States, including their origins and fields of study.

syrian family germany integration faith

Faith plays a significant role in the mental health and social integration of refugees and asylum seekers. Yet in Germany, concerns about Islam and migrants from Muslim-majority countries have complicated social cohesion efforts, particularly in the wake of the 2015-16 refugee and migration crisis.

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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.

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.

Displaced Ukrainians

With nearly 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), Ukraine is home to one of the largest IDP populations in the world. Five years after Russia's annexation of Crimea, displaced Ukrainians continue to face challenges related to national identity, social cohesion, and political participation. While the Ukrainian government has had some success integrating IDPs, the conflict’s end remains uncertain, and many are unlikely to return to their communities of origin no matter the outcome.

MoriaLesvos

As Greece's Aegean islands continue to grapple with migrants arriving on their shores, decisions regarding the needs of newcomers are negotiated in Brussels and Athens, far removed from the situation on the ground. Meanwhile, local communities have had successes in hosting migrants, as this article drawing on observations from the hospitality center and refugee camp on Lesvos explores.

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FilipinaWomen RomelJacinto Flickr

More than 1.9 million Filipinos lived in the United States in 2016, making them the fourth-largest immigrant group. Compared to the foreign-born population overall, Filipinos are more likely to get green cards through family immigration channels and have higher education and naturalization rates. This Spotlight offers key information on Filipinos' demographics, employment, geographic distribution, health coverage, and more.

American SeanDavis Flickr crop

The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.

EgyptianWoman BenPiven Flickr

In 2016, nearly 1.2 million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region lived in the United States. MENA immigration has picked up in recent decades, owing to war and worsening economic prospects. This article offers the latest data on the MENA population in the United States, which is more likely to come via humanitarian routes and less likely via family reunification than the foreign-born population overall.

 

CubanFlag ElvertBarnes Flickr

Owing to their uniquely preferential treatment under U.S. immigration law, Cubans for decades have been among the largest immigrant groups in the United States. In 2016, nearly 1.3 million Cubans lived in the United States. This Spotlight provides a data snapshot of this immigrant group, which is highly concentrated in Florida, significantly older than the overall U.S. population, and less likely to be proficient in English.

Chinatown in New York City

The Chinese represent the third-largest immigrant population in the United States, their numbers having grown rapidly in recent decades. The population is atypical in some respects: Far more highly educated and likely to have come via student and employment pathways than the overall U.S. foreign-born population. This article offers key data on Chinese immigrants, including top destinations, incomes, and English proficiency.

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Arno Tanner of the Finnish Immigration Service and the Universities of Helsinki, and Tampere discusses the historical and current state of migration to and from Finland, and the country's immigration policy priorities going forward.

Since joining the European Union in 2004, Poland has experienced one of the largest emigration flows in its postwar history. But the country has also received thousands of immigrants and refugees, mainly from its eastern neighbors, and is just beginning to invest in immigrant integration. Krystyna Iglicka and Magdalena Ziolek-Skrzypczak look at all aspects of migration in Poland in this updated profile.

In addition to Palestinians, Jordan also hosts forced migrants from Iraq, especially since the 2003 U.S. invasion, as well as Lebanon. Géraldine Chatelard of the Institut français du Proche-Orient examines Jordan's large refugee population, emigration and remittances, labor migration to Jordan, and the government's migration-management policies in this updated profile.

This West African nation deals with a range of migration issues, from massive internal and regional migration to brain drain and a large, well-educated diaspora in the West that its government sees as key to future development. Blessing U. Mberu of the African Population and Health Research Center and Roland Pongou of Brown University take a comprehensive look at migration issues in Africa's most populous country.

This former British colony in the Caribbean, once a destination for forced and indentured labor from across the globe, has experienced large emigration flows of both skilled and unskilled workers and their families to the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada over the last half century. As Alex Glennie and Laura Chappell of the Institute for Public Policy Research explain, the Jamaican government has a number of strategies to limit brain drain and to encourage return.

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FarmWorkersLunch LauraElizabethPoh BreadForTheWorld

Although President Trump has repeatedly pledged to preserve "U.S. jobs for U.S. workers," employers are increasingly relying on temporary visas as a result of labor shortages in agriculture, high tech, and beyond. This article examines the increases occurring in key temporary worker programs, affecting seasonal agricultural and nonagricultural industries, as well as high-skilled tech jobs.

TexasRally JoeWolf Flickr

A new hardline immigration law in Texas marks the resurgence of state-level restrictionist activism that had stalled in 2012 amid adverse federal court rulings. The Texas law, SB 4, is designed to end sanctuary policies in jurisdictions across the state, and closely mirrors aspects of Arizona's controversial 2010 law, SB 1070. This article explores the parallels and new state momentum to crack down on illegal immigration.

Sessions WHBriefing Mar2017 cropped

While Donald Trump often pledged as candidate to strip federal funding from jurisdictions—known as sanctuary cities—that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, no direct action blocking funding has yet occurred. Still, strong statements from the President and Attorney General have spurred a flurry of responses by state and local governments, some adjusting their policies to cooperate fully, others setting limits.

WatchingCity ICE

Beyond representing first steps on key campaign promises, President Trump's executive orders on immigration mandate sweeping data collection and reporting in ways that seek to underscore societal and economic costs with no countervailing attention to positive effects from immigration. This article explores the news-making machinery embedded in the orders and how the reporting requirements might help further the administration's agenda.

NinthCircuit KenLund Flickr

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt President Trump's controversial executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement has strong legal parallels to an earlier injunction, which blocked a very different Obama administration initiative on immigration two years ago in a challenge mounted by Republican governors. The two cases have brought new focus to the limits of executive authority in the immigration arena.

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