E.g., 01/28/2022
E.g., 01/28/2022

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.

Recent Articles

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When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

College Graduates_uhwestoahu

Nearly 13 million immigrants have a four-year college degree or better. But these highly educated immigrants are not spread evenly throughout the labor market. They make up disproportionate shares of certain jobs, especially in the science and technology fields, accounting for 45 percent of software developers, 42 percent of physical scientists, and 29 percent of physicians. Yet there are signs that the trends of this population might be changing, as this article explores.

India pandemic migrant

India has no refugee law and has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, leaving many of its estimated 250,000 recognized refugees in a legal gray area. Meanwhile, more than 450 million internal migrants form the foundation of the country's economy, yet often have trouble accessing government benefits, identity cards, and other services. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these shared vulnerabilities into stark relief.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the effects of the so-called digital divide for U.S. immigrants and other groups with reduced online connectivity. Internet access and the skills to navigate digital environments have become even more critical for work, education, and health care during the public-health crisis, yet immigrants make up a disproportionately large share of U.S. residents unable to take advantage of these tools.

Albania mosaic

Southeastern Europe is experiencing one of the sharpest depopulations in the world, with countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia on pace to see their populations shrink by at least 15 percent in coming decades. To counter this trend, governments in the region, NGOs, and the private sector are increasingly, if unevenly, tapping into large diaspora communities to spur economic growth and strengthen cultural ties.

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MexicansinCanada

Mexicans migrate to Canada in much smaller numbers than to the United States, yet over the last 30 years the country has become an increasingly attractive destination. Canada prioritizes highly skilled, educated Mexicans for permanent residency, but also attracts temporary workers from Mexico. This article examines Mexican migration to Canada and how it has been shaped by visa requirements, trade policy, and more.

MigrantCaravanMapCDMX

Mexico is facing a new reality: Rising migration from Central America, the reintegration of returning migrants, and protection of Mexicans in the United States. As President Andrés Manuel López Obrador seeks to shift the country’s migration policy from enforcement to protection, his task is complicated by changing U.S. border policy and the need to avoid domestic backlash over Central American migration to and through Mexico.

SyrianRefugeesLebanon

Lebanon is home to more refugees per capita than any other country. The arrival of approximately 1 million refugees from neighboring Syria has created tensions not only with the native population, but also with long-established Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon. A lack of integration and resources, plus a complex domestic context, suggest further hardship may lie ahead for recent and earlier-arrived refugees alike.

Somali migrant returnees Yemen

War and impending famine in Yemen have captured significant attention. Yet often overlooked is the country’s role as the epicenter of one of the world’s busiest mixed migration routes, linking Africa, Asia, and Europe. This article examines the migration pathways to and through the country, push and pull factors, and the impact of civil war on human movement.

NigerianVoluntaryReturn IOM MariamKhokhar

The European Union's focus on formal readmission agreements with migrant-origin countries to manage the return of irregular migrants and failed asylum seekers has given way since 2016 to informal arrangements. This article explores the potential effect that nonbinding readmission pacts could have on migrant returns to sub-Saharan Africa, where return rates from EU Member States have been low.

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Students and Reading _JMH5036 (1) US Dept of Ed   Flickr

Although the number of U.S. residents who speak a language other than English has grown in recent decades, the share of those who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) has fallen: 40 percent in 2015, compared to 44 percent in 1980—even as immigration rose rapidly. This article examines growing linguistic diversity in the country and sketches a profile of the LEP population, including size, location, and socioeconomic characteristics.

MilitaryImmigrants SgtRandallAClinton MarineCorps

Approximately 511,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.8 million veterans nationwide. This Spotlight article offers key information on the population of immigrant veterans in the United States, focusing on its size, top countries of origin, racial and ethnic composition, and socioeconomic characteristics.

CaribbeanFlags PaulStein Flickr

Approximately 4 million immigrants from the Caribbean resided in the United States in 2014, representing 9 percent of the country's total immigrant population. While 90 percent of Caribbean immigrants come from five countries, this population overall is very diverse in its skill levels, racial composition, language background, and immigration pathways. This Spotlight article provides information on the Caribbean immigrant population in the United States, focusing on its size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics.

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More than 653,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens in fiscal year 2014, bringing the total number of naturalized U.S. citizens to 20 million—nearly half the overall immigrant population of 42.4 million. Over the past decade, naturalizations have ranged from about 537,000 yearly to just more than 1 million. Learn more about naturalization trends in the United States with this Spotlight article.

LittleBrazil DiegoTorresSilvestre Flickr

The Brazilian immigrant population in the United States doubled during the 1980s and almost tripled in the 1990s, but stabilized following the Great Recession. While this population has long included a significant share of unauthorized immigrants, Brazilians are increasingly coming to the United States through family, employment, and study channels. Learn more about Brazilian immigrants with this Spotlight.

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A classic labor-surplus nation, Indonesia sends thousands of low-skilled workers every year to countries in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, particularly neighboring Malaysia. Graeme Hugo of the University of Adelaide provides an updated look at this and other migration trends in the world's fourth most populous country.

ec map_0

La diversidad geográfica del Ecuador es casi comparable a los varios modelos migratorios que tiene este mismo país. A pesar de su tamaño, este pequeño país andino de aproximadamente 13,3 millones de habitantes tiene un gran porcentaje de emigrantes. En efecto, los ecuatorianos constituyen uno de los grupos migratorios más grandes localizado en la ciudad de Nueva York y el segundo más grande en España.

lu map 300
Luxembourg's stable, prosperous economy would not be possible without foreign workers, most of whom come from other EU countries. But this small country has also struggled to cope with asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia and to integrate children of immigrants, as Serge Kollwelter explains.
ec map

Thousands of Ecuadorians live in the United States and Spain, making migration-related development policy a major issue for the government. At the same time, the country has received economic migrants from Peru but has done little to address the Colombian refugee situation, as Brad Jokisch of Ohio University explains.

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Historically a diverse country, Singapore since the 1980s has become a top destination for Asian and Western professionals as well as low-skilled migrants from across the region. Brenda S.A. Yeoh of the National University of Singapore reports.

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GuatemalaDrought ECHO HAvril Flickr

The complex push and pull factors driving child and family migration from Central America to the United States have changed little since the 2014 crisis. Despite some fluctuation in arrival numbers, recent trends suggest the characteristics of an enduring phenomenon. This Policy Beat explores the latest developments in U.S. policy responses, including enforcement operations, development assistance, and family detention.

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Passed with minimal controversy and public debate, the 2016 spending bill included some of the most substantial immigration policy changes enacted by Congress in the last decade. The changes touched on aspects including temporary worker visas, visa security, and the immigration courts, and could signal a new strategy for legislative change to the immigration system.

NoAmnesty KaterKate Flickr cropped

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to maintain an injunction on President Obama's signature deferred action programs and the timing of the administration's Supreme Court appeal will prove critical amid the 2016 election campaign. This Policy Beat also explores a federal judge's decision not to block a Texas policy refusing to issue birth certificates to the U.S.-born children of unauthorized parents. Should the policy be upheld, it could open the door for further limitations on birthright citizenship.

LBJ 1965 Act Helicopter YoichiOkamoto LBJLibrary

Signed into law 50 years ago, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 had several unintended consequences that have had a profound effect on the flow of immigrants to the United States and contributed to the transformation of the U.S. demographic profile. This Policy Beat explores the law's lasting impact and lessons for policymaking today.

KarnesDetentionBedroom CharlesReed ICE

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.

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