E.g., 01/23/2022
E.g., 01/23/2022

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

ColombianBoyinEcuador_USAIDFlickrMichelleSnow

Though Colombians displaced by a decades-long civil war found a welcome refuge in Ecuador, life has become more difficult for them in recent years, in part as a result of the influx of Venezuelans seeking safety. This article draws on surveys of migrants in Quito, comparing and contrasting the experiences of Colombians and Venezuelans, and assessing their perceptions of discrimination, victimization, trust in institutions, and hopes for the future.

TimesSquareTourists

In fiscal year 2018, the U.S. State Department issued 9 million temporary visas, a 7 percent decrease from the previous year. Temporary visa issuance has been declining in recent years, and the Trump administration’s immigration priorities may help explain this trend. This Spotlight explores visa issuance and admission, and highlights key demographic information on visitors for pleasure and business, temporary workers, and foreign students.

 

DACANov19

The fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has ping ponged between all three branches of government. But with the Supreme Court poised to decide DACA's future in spring 2020, Congress may finally be forced to act to resolve the status of DREAMers after nearly two decades of considering various DREAM Act bills. Could this break the long stalemate Congress has had on passing substantive immigration legislation, and pave the way for other actions?

TajikWorkers

More than 1 million Tajiks migrate to Russia every year—a sizeable outflow for a country of about 9 million people. These high levels of emigration have had major effects for Tajikistan, especially in the generation of remittances that help lift everyday Tajiks out of poverty but have also made the country increasingly dependent on Russia. This article explores challenges faced by Tajik migrants in Russia and the effects of emigration on Tajikistan’s economy and society.

SomaliImmigrantUS

The sub-Saharan African immigrant population in the United States is a small, but quickly growing, one. Between 2010 and 2018, the size of the sub-Saharan African population increased 52 percent, far outpacing the overall rise in the foreign born. Immigrants coming from the 51 sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are diverse in their origins and socioeconomic characteristics, as this Spotlight explores.

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CanadaBorder ckowalik Flickr

Amid a sense of declining welcome in the United States, growing numbers of asylum seekers have crossed into Canada in recent months, entering illegally to take advantage of a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. The result? Refugee advocates and politicians in Canada are issuing growing calls to change or suspend the treaty. This article examines the treaty's history, effects, and current challenges.

AfricanSwitzerland Thomas8047 Flickr

In recent years, Switzerland has become a popular destination for highly skilled migrants, including from the Senegambia region of West Africa. Meanwhile, migration also flows the opposite way with Swiss migrants heading to Senegal and The Gambia. This article compares and contrasts the experiences of these migrants at destination as well as their motivations to migrate and attitudes toward remittances and citizenship.

BorderBus AntAndCarrieColeman Flickr

Two significant migration shifts at the U.S.-Mexico border have been obscured by talk of walls and further border security: Mexicans no longer represent the top unauthorized crossers, replaced by Central Americans seeking protection, and flows are diversifying with increased arrivals of Cubans, Haitians, Asians, and Africans. This article sketches the evolving trends, which have key implications for U.S. and regional migration policy.

DroughtEthiopia UNICEFEthiopia Flickr

Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.

Burmese ThierryFalise ILO

Having emerged from a long era of military rule, Myanmar's leaders and many citizens are looking outward. In particular, with Burmese labor migration abroad on the rise, policymakers are examining ways in which to harness remittances as a vehicle for economic development, particularly in impoverished rural areas. This article explores Burmese labor migration flows, financial reforms, and challenges on migration and development.

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Immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region residing in the United States are part of a migration flow that dates back several decades. The highly diverse MENA immigrant population has grown from about 50,000 in 1920 to nearly 961,000 in 2012. This article examines the latest data on immigrants from the MENA region in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

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In 2011, India was the third largest country of origin for immigrants in the United States, after Mexico and China. The close to 1.9 million Indian immigrants in the United States accounted for almost 5 percent of the country’s total foreign-born population of 40.4 million. This article examines the latest data on Indian immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

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In 2011, there were 25.3 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals residing in the United States, or roughly 9 percent of the nation's population ages 5 and older. Although most LEP individuals were foreign born, nearly one-fifth of this population was native born, about three-quarters of whom were children ages 5 to 17. This article provides a demographic and socioeconomic profile of LEP individuals residing in the United States, including the population's size, geographic distribution, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

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Immigrants from the Philippines made up 4.5 percent of the 40.4 million immigrants in the United States in 2011. Although this population—1.8 million strong in 2011—has grown 17 times its size since 1960, its share among Asian immigrants overall has decreased since that year. This article examines the latest data on Filipino immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

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Immigrants from South America made up 2.7 million (about 7 percent) of the United States' foreign-born population of 40.4 million in 2011. While the share may seem small, this population has grown 30 times its size since 1960, when about 90,000 South American immigrants resided in the country. This article examines the latest data on South American immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

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Since the 1990s, analysts have pointed to Germany's ongoing need for immigrants to bolster economic development and maintain a dynamic workforce, given the rapid aging of the country's population. However, a process of policy review that began in 2001 with a government commission's report on immigration and integration policy only recently overcame legislative gridlock.

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Greece, once known for outward migration, has become a receiver of migrants and a permanent immigrant destination according to Charalambos Kasimis and Chryssa Kassimi.
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In May, following a UN withdrawal, East Timor's government will have more responsibility for dealing with thorny migration issues.

Ronald Skeldon of the University of Sussex maps out the migration patterns and policies of China, the source of tens of millions of migrants around the globe.

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.

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The Obama administration’s decision to shield from deportation unauthorized immigrant youth who meet certain qualifications represents the boldest immigration policy undertaken by this White House. MPI’s Muzaffar Chishti and Faye Hipsman examine what comes next and explore some of the new policy’s unanswered questions and implementation challenges.

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MPI’s Muzaffar Chishti, Faye Hipsman, and Claire Bergeron examine the potential outcomes to the Supreme Court’s decision on a key provision to Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the reaction to ICE's new detention reforms, the Supreme Court's recent decision in Vartelas v. Holder, the designation of Syria for TPS, and more.

MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on new proposals to amend the E-3 visa program to admit Irish nationals, decisions blocking implementation of more provisions of SB 1070 and HB 56, the Supreme Court's recent decision holding two tax evasion crimes are aggravated felonies, and more.

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MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the Obama administration's new prosecutorial discretion policy and proposed new rule for unlawful presence waivers, a new plan to promote US tourism, the newly designated H-2A and H-2B countries, and more.

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