E.g., 08/05/2020
E.g., 08/05/2020

Migration Information Source

People at an annual July 4 citizenship ceremony
National Park Service

A looming furlough of 70 percent of staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services could halt processing for tens of thousands of green cards, citizenship applications, and other immigrant benefits each month it is in effect. Alongside the long list of Trump administration policies slowing immigration to the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, this could contribute to a precipitous—and likely historic—decline in new arrivals to the United States.

Photo of a Jeepney in LA's Historic Filipinotown neighborhood
Wapacman/Wikimedia Commons

Immigration from the Philippines to the United States has been taking place for more than a century, escalating towards the end of the 20th century. Filipinos now represent the fourth-largest U.S. immigrant group. Compared to all immigrants, Filipinos are more highly educated, are more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens, have higher incomes and lower poverty rates, are less likely to be uninsured, and have greater English proficiency.

Bangladeshi migrants in Egypt wait to return home
Stabilisation Unit/DFID

Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest migrant-origin countries, and money sent home by its workers abroad is crucial to an economy that has become one of the more vibrant ones in South Asia. Against this backdrop, the COVID-19 pandemic has injected turmoil into the economy as Bangladeshi migrants have lost their jobs, families are seeing reduced remittances, and would-be migrant workers have had to shelve their plans to work abroad.

Protesters at a rally in Minneapolis call for abolishing ICE
Fibonacci Blue/Wikimedia Commons

Calls by activists to "defund the police," in the wake of a string of deadly encounters for Black community members, echo earlier demands to "abolish ICE" and reflect broader criticism of enforcement systems perceived as overly aggressive. Budgets have ballooned at federal immigration agencies and within the immigrant detention system as enforcement has become increasingly muscular in the post-9/11 period.

People celebrating a Cuban Day Parade
Luigi Novi

Cuban immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, rising by 2 percent from 2017 to 2018. Overall, Cubans represent 3 percent of all immigrants in the United States. Compared to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations, Cuban immigrants are less likely to be proficient in English, have lower educational attainment, and earn lower household incomes. Learn more about the 1.3 million Cuban immigrants in the United States with this data-rich article.

A gathering in Tel Aviv for asylum seeker rights
Ben Kelmer/Physicians for Human Rights

Israel has a remarkably open immigration system for anyone who can prove Jewish ethnicity. But as this country profile explores, migration is extremely difficult for non-Jews, including asylum seekers. This article describes immigration flows under the Law of Return and examines labor migration and the rise in asylum seekers, reviewing the main challenges that have emerged within the last three decades.

 

Recent Articles

Border Patrol agents and child migrants

Approximately 11,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, putting this year on track to exceed 2014's surge. As the U.S. government struggles to care for these child migrants, with public outrage mounting over reports of unsafe, filthy conditions in initial Border Patrol custody, the failure of the executive branch and Congress to plan for increased shelter and care demands are increasingly apparent, as this article explores.

Digital litter

Several years after a flurry of tech innovations arose to respond to the 2015-16 European migration crisis and assist asylum seekers, "digital litter"—now-dormant websites, broken links, and poor-quality information spread through apps and social media—is floating around. At best, digital litter is a nuisance. At worst, it can place refugees and migrants in harm's way and undermine their decision-making, as this article explores.

The United States has historically been the top country for refugee resettlement, but was surpassed in 2018 by Canada amid record cuts to admissions by the Trump administration. Approximately 22,500 refugees were resettled in the United States during fiscal year 2018, as well as 26,500 asylees. This article examines where these newcomers came from and many other characteristics, including religious affiliation, age, and gender.

A view of Prague

Since regaining its independence in 1989, the Czech Republic has transformed from a country of emigration to one of rising immigration, amid growing labor market needs. Even as Czechia received few asylum seekers during the 2015-16 European migration crisis, the country has taken a harder line on immigration, and public opinion and political stances have grown more negative towards immigrants and refugees.

President Trump's May 2019 Rose Garden speech

The Trump administration’s plan to create a "merit-based" U.S. immigration system, lessening the longstanding focus on family reunification in favor of more economic migrants, has met with a lackluster response from Democrats and Republicans alike. This Policy Beat article explores how the Trump proposal would reshape immigration to the United States, and how it compares to selection systems in other countries and past debates about changing the U.S. system.

Pages

Refugees attend a job training fair

After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.

Woman in refugee camp

The mental health of asylum seekers has emerged as an important issue following the 2015-16 European migration and refugee crisis. Many asylum seekers suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and similar conditions—with implications not only for their well-being but also potentially for the outcomes of their claims and the integrity of the asylum system as a whole, as this article explores.

Peruvians in Santiago, Chile

Chile's immigrant population has more than quadrupled since the country emerged from dictatorship in the early 1990s. As immigration has grown and moved away from its European roots to become more diverse, it has emerged as a hot-button political issue, complicating longstanding efforts to reform the country's 1975 immigration law. This article explores Chile's shift to the right on immigration, and how policies might evolve under the presidency of conservative Sebastián Piñera.

Citizenship ceremony in Edmonton

Even as the United States and countries in Europe have made a right turn on immigration in recent years, Canada has remained a largely welcoming country. Underlying this resilience is an approach to immigration focused on active management and refinement of policies as well as long-term economic, social, and political integration, as this article explores.

South Sudanese child

Nearly 4 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes by violence or food insecurity since late 2013, roughly half seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Drought and conflict have converged in the young country to fuel one of the world's most severe humanitarian emergencies. This article examines refugee flows from South Sudan, underlying drivers, and regional and international responses to the crisis.

Pages

Mexican immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, and since the Great Recession more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico than have migrated to the United States. Mexicans, however, remain the largest origin group in the country, accounting for 28 percent of all immigrants. See how Mexican immigrants compare to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations on key indicators with this Spotlight article.

Growing rapidly from a population of 90,000 in 1960 to nearly 3 million in 2014, South American immigrants now represent 7 percent of all foreign born in the United States. Family-based immigration is the primary pathway for all South American groups, ranging from 45 percent of Venezuelan immigrants to 97 percent of those from Guyana.

The number of college-educated immigrants in the United States has more than tripled in the last two decades. Asians accounted for 46 percent of the 10.5 million college-educated immigrants, with India the top origin country. This Spotlight article examines key indicators of the college-educated population, including international students and high-skilled H-1B visa holders.

The number of Asian immigrants in the United States has increased exponentially over the last 50 years, and Asia is now the second-largest region of birth of U.S. immigrants. The growth of this population dates to the abolition in 1965 of national-origin quotas that barred immigration from Asia. This article delves into key data on Asian immigrants, from settlement and employment patterns to immigration pathways, and more.

European migration, once the driving force of U.S. immigration, has steadily declined over the last 50 years. In 2014, 4.8 million European immigrants accounted for 11 percent of the total foreign-born population, down from 75 percent in 1960. Discover key statistics on this population in this Spotlight article, including countries of origin, language proficiency, employment, and more.

Pages

South Africa is struggling to define a post-apartheid migration policy that is responsive to its changing role in Africa, the relationship between migration and development, and the country's rampant xenophobia, seen most graphically in May 2008. Jonathan Crush of the Southern African Migration Project reports on the latest developments.

Economic, social, and political conditions have pushed North Koreans to illegally leave their country and migrate to South Korea, China, Russia, and elsewhere. MPI's Hiroyuki Tanaka examines humanitarian and economic migration flows from North Korea, and the situation of North Koreans living abroad.

Thousands of Salvadorans fled the country during its civil war in the 1980s, many of them to the United States. The government is focused on engaging its diaspora but also must deal with immigrants from neighboring countries and issues around human trafficking.

Macedonia avoided the interethnic conflict that ripped through the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. It was the only state to emerge with its independence (in 1991) and no loss of blood.

While Ethiopians have long followed seasonal migration patterns within the Horn of Africa, it was only after the political upheavals of the 1970s that they began to settle in the West, as MPI's Aaron Matteo Terrazas reports.

Pages

Facing legal setbacks and political opposition, the Obama administration may be required to overhaul its policy of detaining families in immigration custody. Recent court decisions have undermined the government's justification of the policy as a deterrent to future illegal immigration and may result in the release of more than 1,400 unauthorized immigrant women and children.

The killing of a young woman in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant coincided with the Obama administration's rollout of the Priority Enforcement Program, a new vehicle for improving federal-local relations on immigration enforcement. The tragedy has rekindled debate over the role of "sanctuary" cities and propelled illegal immigration to the forefront of the 2016 presidential race.
As legal challenges continue to impede President Obama's deferred action programs to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the window of opportunity for implementation before the 2016 election is growing ever narrower. Even as advocates continue mobilizing immigrants to apply, attention is shifting to other new policies announced by the president last November.
Mexico has lost its long-held status as the top source country of new immigrants to the United States, dropping to third place behind China and India. This historic shift is remarkable for the rapid decline in Mexican inflows combined with a steady rise in Asian immigration, largely through high-skilled visa programs. This Policy Beat explores the reasons behind these trends and their potential impact on U.S. demographics.
The H-2B visa allows U.S. employers to bring in foreign workers to temporarily fill low-skill nonagricultural jobs across a wide range of states and industries. A series of recent legal challenges has exposed the presence of fraud and abuse, while stripping the program of its regulations and raising uncertainty about its future. This Policy Beat examines the implications in the debate surrounding temporary worker programs.

Pages