E.g., 06/21/2024
E.g., 06/21/2024

Migration Information Source

Immigrants arriving on a ferry near Ellis Island.
National Archives

The Immigration Act of 1924 shaped the U.S. population over the course of the 20th century, greatly restricting immigration and ensuring that arriving immigrants were mostly from Northern and Western Europe. The century-old law was one of the most restrictive in U.S. history and helped create the framework for key provisions of the U.S. immigration system that remain in place a century later. This article analyzes the effect and legacy of the 1924 law.

An immigrant from Rwanda serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Samuel King Jr./U.S. Air Force

Immigrants have served in the U.S. armed forces since the nation's founding. In recent years, a growing share of U.S. military veterans are immigrants, due to shrinking numbers of veterans overall and a rising number of foreign born. This article offers details about the composition of the immigrant population with U.S. military service.

Iraqis voting abroad from Jordan.
IOM

In recent decades, countries worldwide have expanded voting rights to their diasporas as well as certain resident noncitizens. Voting access in general has grown over time, as barriers based on sex, literacy, and other characteristics have fallen, and migrants' increasingly expansive rights to vote are part of that trend worldwide. This article provides a global overview of the dynamics.

U.S. Border Patrol agents transporting migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border
Jerry Glaser/CBP

Once an obscure section of U.S. law, Title 42 was used to expel unauthorized migrants reaching U.S. borders nearly 3 million times from March 2020 to May 2023. Despite idealized depictions of its impact by some politicians, the order was largely ineffective in deterring irregular migration. Instead, it represented a dramatic break with decades of law providing protection to asylum seekers, as this article details.

A returned migrant with his family in Bangladesh
IOM

For a young country, Bangladesh has a complex migration history, with periods of forced migration during the partition of India and Pakistan as well as the 1971 war of independence. In recent years, labor emigration has proved a major economic boon to the country. This country profile reviews trends and the impact of emigration, with a particular focus on the effects of remittance sending and receipt.

Flags of South American countries.
iStock.com/fumumpa

The South American immigrant population in the United States has grown at a faster rate than that of the overall foreign-born population, amid crises in Venezuela, Colombia, and elsewhere. Yet South Americans still account for only about one in ten U.S. immigrants. While they mirror the overall U.S. immigrant population in several demographic characteristics, there are some notable differences, as this article details.

Recent Articles

Afghan refugees in Iran's Semnan refugee settlement.

Floods, heatwaves, and other extreme weather events have displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Iran, with repercussions for residents including the 3.4 million refugees and other forced migrants, who are restricted to climate-affected areas. Environmental challenges may also be pushing some people to move internationally. This article offers a rare look at the climate and migration dynamics in Iran.

A member of the Texas National Guard faces migrants in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Rising tensions between Texas and the federal government have sparked fears of a constitutional crisis after the state deployed its National Guard to prevent the U.S. Border Patrol from conducting operations in a city park in Eagle Pass, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott saying the “invasion” of migrants triggered the need for action. This article provides an overview of the standoff and the larger context of current and past state-federal tensions over immigration enforcement.

A migrant from Nepal in Qatar.

Countries such as Nepal and the Philippines have grown reliant on sending workers abroad to earn money, skills, and connections that help boost their economies. In these cases, emigration has become a way for governments in the Global South to offer their citizens access to social services and protections that they could not otherwise provide. This article details the emergence of this new mode of state-society relations.

A family of Afghan evacuees leaving Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

The Afghan immigrant population in the United States has grown dramatically since 2010, and particularly since the 2021 withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Most Afghans who obtained a green card in recent years have done so through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, reserved for interpreters and other Afghans who worked with the U.S. government. This article offers data on the approximately 195,000 Afghan immigrants in the United States.

A temple in Dharamsala, India.

The number of Tibetan refugees in India, Nepal, and Bhutan has been on a steady decline since the mid-2000s, posing a threat to the future of an exile community that has developed a robust governance, cultural, educational, and religious structure. While the Tibetan government-in-exile has become a model for displaced communities, a series of factors have contributed to the shrinking population in South Asia, as this article describes.

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A woman and child walk in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Is climate change a major driver of migration and displacement? From where are people leaving, and where are they going? This informative primer, a Climate Migration 101 of sorts, provides answers to basic questions about climate change and migration, starting with how and where climate change triggers human movement.

Migrantes en la aldea de Canaán Membrillo, en el Tapón del Darién, Panamá.

El paso por el Tapón del Darién ha transformado la migración en las Américas. Cada día, más de 1.000 personas cruzan lo que no hace mucho era un tramo de selva poco transitado entre Colombia y Panamá, la mayoría con la esperanza de llegar a Estados Unidos o Canadá. Es un viaje increíblemente arriesgado. Los gobiernos se han esforzado por responder al creciente movimiento, que se espera que supere los 500.000 cruces en 2023.

A man walks through a community affected by river erosion in Bangladesh.

Despite the widespread impression that people inevitably migrate away from climate-vulnerable areas, many adapt to environmental changes, choose to remain in their homeland, or simply cannot leave, due to a lack of money, connections, legal avenues, or other means to do so. These “trapped populations” may be among the most affected victims of climate change, this article explains.

Migrants in the Darien Gap village of Canaan Membrillo, Panama.

Passage through the Darien Gap has transformed migration across the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the incredibly perilous journey across the remote jungle between Colombia and Panama, risking exposure to hazardous terrain, criminal groups, and other dangers. As this article outlines, governments have struggled to respond to the growing movement, expected to top 500,000 crossings in 2023.

A female celebrity being photographed at an event.

Famous faces have become a mainstay in promotional campaigns for humanitarian and refugee organizations. Celebrity advocacy can take a variety of forms, including encouraging donations, raising awareness for under-the-radar crises, and lobbying governments for action. This article reviews the trend of star-powered advocacy and examines the factors affecting its success.

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People carry a giant Colombian flag at a parade in Washington, DC.

Colombians comprise the largest group of South American immigrants in the United States. More than half live in Florida, New York, or New Jersey. Compared to the overall immigrant population, Colombians are disproportionately likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens and to have obtained a green card through family pathways.

Varias personas portan una bandera gigante de Colombia en un desfile en Washington, DC.

Cerca de 855,000 inmigrantes colombianos residían en los Estados Unidos, lo que representa alrededor del 2 por ciento de los 45.3 millones de inmigrantes estadounidenses en general y el grupo más numeroso procedente de Sudamérica. Casi uno de cada cuatro inmigrantes de Sudamérica en los Estados Unidos procedía de Colombia.

A refugee family in Phoenix.

U.S. refugee resettlement is slowly increasing after hitting a historic low, rebounding from the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce humanitarian migration as well as pandemic-era restrictions on movement and processing slowdowns. This article offers recent and historical data about refugees resettled in the United States, as well as asylum seekers and asylees.

Banderas de las naciones centroamericanas en una marcha en San Diego.

Los centroamericanos representan menos de una décima parte de la población de inmigrantes en Estados Unidos. Pero su número se ha multiplicado por diez desde 1980. Este artículo proporciona una mirada integral a esta población.

People hold flags of Central American nations at a march in San Diego.

Central Americans comprise less than one-tenth of the overall U.S. foreign-born population, but their numbers have grown tenfold since 1980, amid economic challenges, political crises, and natural disasters in their region. This article provides a comprehensive look at this population.

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Two boys pose in an informal settlement east of Johannesburg largely populated by immigrants.

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.

A woman and her child in southern Ethiopia.

In 1980, more than 2.5 million Ethiopian refugees lived in other countries. Now, Ethiopians are more likely to migrate for labor reasons, particularly to the Middle East and southern Africa, and meanwhile the country has become a refuge for humanitarian migrants from its neighbors. This article traces the history of migration from, to, and through Ethiopia.

Refugees prepare to be resettled in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom was once a country primarily of emigration, but in recent decades many more migrants have arrived at its borders than have left. This decades-long transition was interrupted by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, and this article describes the inflection point at which the country finds itself.

Haitian_national_palace_earthquake

For more than a century, Haiti was considered a prime destination for migrants from the United States and around the world. In the wake of the Haitian Revolution, Haiti marketed itself to freed slaves and others as an island haven where they could break free from the strictures of the United States and a global system of slavery. That changed in the 20th century. Now, there are roughly 1.6 million Haitians living in other countries.

A gathering in Tel Aviv for asylum seeker 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.

 

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An abandoned shoe lies in the mud along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The United States entered a new era with the end of the pandemic-era Title 42 expulsions policy. The government’s hopes of maintaining order at the U.S.-Mexico border post-Title 42 may be complicated by factors including authorities’ limited capacity, ongoing litigation, and cooperation from other countries. This article reviews the Biden administration's changing border policies and possible challenges ahead.

A border checkpoint between Canada and the United States.

The revised U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement closes what critics call a loophole that incentivizes unauthorized border crossings of asylum seekers. While responding to Canadian concerns of increasing irregular arrivals from the United States, the change—taken in tandem with U.S. moves at the U.S.-Mexico border—suggests that the Biden administration increasingly wants to rely on neighboring countries to respond to rising asylum claims.

The U.S. Supreme Court.

Virtually all major U.S. immigration policy reforms have faced lawsuits in recent years, giving federal judges wide latitude to shape national policy. The situation, which began during the Obama administration and has escalated, is a byproduct of congressional inaction and the emergence of immigration as a political wedge issue. This article tracks the trend, which has added new volatility to the immigration system, and places it in context.

President Joe Biden in the White House.

Pandemic-related U.S. policies have led to more than 2.6 million migrant expulsions at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanded public benefits to cover millions more U.S. residents, and offered free COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Many of these policies are now likely to end as the Biden administration in May 2023 formally declares the pandemic to be over, although what comes next remains unclear.

President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At his term's midpoint, President Joe Biden has relied on executive action to advance his immigration agenda more than his predecessors, including Donald Trump. Yet many of the changes to interior enforcement, humanitarian protection, and other areas have been overshadowed by the record pace of arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has presented the administration with major policy and operational challenges.

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