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E.g., 01/25/2022

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

AfghanMotherChildUNHCR MathiasDepardon

Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.

NoMoreDeaths

As industrialized countries are adopting harder-edge immigration and asylum policies to deal with real and perceived crises, humanitarian actors have sought to blunt the effects of those policies by launching rescue missions at sea, rendering direct aid to migrants in need, and offering legal assistance. A concerted pushback to this resistance emerged in 2018, with governments using legislative, legal, and other tools to fight back.

Ethiopia ReturningMigrants

Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

MoriaReceptionCenter

Faced with absorbing vast numbers of asylum seekers who headed to Europe during the 2015-16 migration crisis and the ongoing arrival of much smaller, but steady flows of Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border, EU Member States and the United States in 2018 took or explored significant steps to narrow asylum and harden policies.

marrakech_Michelle

The world’s first international agreement on migration was approved by 164 countries in December 2018, but not without turbulence. U.S. withdrawal from the nonbinding Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, on grounds it could impinge on sovereignty, triggered similar actions by others, particularly in Eastern Europe. Amid ongoing political ripple effects, attention now turns to implementation of the deal's goals.

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_Ankarada

Turkey’s migration identity has shifted from being principally a country of emigration and transit to becoming a destination for immigrants and people fleeing conflict. In response, Turkish policymakers recently enacted a comprehensive migration and asylum law that took effect in April 2014. This article examines the new law, which is intended as a significant step toward managing both legal and irregular migration to Turkey, including humanitarian migration.

FE TPS July2014 Haiti
From a massive typhoon in the Philippines last November to the ongoing civil war in Syria, recent global events demonstrate that natural disasters and political strife occur suddenly and often without warning. This article examines the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that grants humanitarian relief to nationals of certain countries embroiled in violent conflict or recovering from natural disaster.
Source CARarticle BanguiAirport UNHCR L.Wiseberg Dec.2013
The humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Central African Republic (CAR) has received scant world attention, even as more than 20 percent of the population of 4.25 million has been displaced as a result of deadly sectarian violence. This article examines the causes of the violence, the international community response, and the impacts of large-scale displacement within the country and beyond its borders.
Source Marshallese May2014

Approximately one-third of the population of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a series of islands and atolls in the Pacific, has relocated to the United States, with Hawaii, Guam, and Arkansas key destinations. Lack of economic and employment opportunities are among the leading factors that have prompted this migration. Access to education and health care, which are critically important for a population that has reduced life expectancy and significant negative health indicators, also represent key factors.

ilo_gcc construction workers

As Qatar races to build its infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup, international civil-society actors increasingly are highlighting the harsh conditions under which temporary labor migrants often work in Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This article examines the emerging roles, challenges, and opportunities that civil-society groups face in the region; it also analyzes the prevailing legal and political structures where civil society operates in the Gulf.

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The middle class has received considerable attention during the current economic crisis. About 15 million people resided in middle-class immigrant households in 2007, and three-quarters of all children in such households were native-born U.S. citizens. MPI's Aaron Terrazas examines where the heads of middle-class immigrant households are from, when they arrived in the United States, their occupations, and other characteristics.

The 102,000 Iraqi immigrants residing in the United States in 2007 accounted for just 0.3 percent of all U.S. immigrants. MPI's Aaron Terrazas examines their socioeconomic characteristics, where they live, and the category of admission of the Iraqi-born immigrant population.

The 1.4 million African immigrants residing in the United States in 2007 accounted for 3.7 percent of all U.S. immigrants. MPI's Aaron Terrazas examines their socioeconomic characteristics, where they live, and the category of admission of the African-born immigrant population.

The 1.0 million Korean immigrants residing in the United States in 2007 accounted for 2.7 percent of all U.S. immigrants. MPI's Aaron Terrazas examines their socioeconomic characteristics, where they live, and the size of the Korean-born unauthorized population.

Contrary to a widely held view, not all immigrants have little education. About one in three immigrants is a person with either a U.S. or foreign college degree.

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MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the USCIS naturalization application backlog, final Real ID regulations, proposed H-2A visa changes, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on Arizona's employer sanctions law, a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative passport provision delay, H-2B caps, and more.

MPI's Gretchen Reinemeyer, Aaron Matteo Terrazas, and Claire Bergeron report on USCIS backlogs, actions to limit access to driver's licenses in Oregon and Maine, the latest on "no-match" letters, and more.

MPI's Aaron Matteo Terrazas and Trinidad Macias report on driver's licenses for the unauthorized in New York State, H-2A reform, a material support bar exemption for Hmong, and more.

MPI's Aaron Matteo Terrazas and Claire Bergeron report on the halting of DHS plans to crack down on unauthorized employment, Iraqi refugee admissions, the extended deployment of the National Guard on the Southwest border, and more.

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