E.g., 02/25/2021
E.g., 02/25/2021

Migration Information Source

President Joe Biden signs executive orders on immigration in the White House.
Adam Schultz/White House

President Joe Biden has grand ambitions to reshape the U.S. immigration system, but his administration has run into early stumbling blocks in rolling back the strict enforcement regime of his predecessor. Administrative resistance, a tangled web of legal agreements signed by the Trump administration, and anxieties about a possible uptick in immigrants and asylum seekers at the border have posed early challenges to Biden’s agenda.

A man leans against the fence in the Dry Corridor of Honduras.
Angels Masó/World Bank

Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.

New U.S. citizens attend a naturalization ceremony in Washington, DC.
Kelsey Bell/National Archives

Have a question about U.S. immigration trends and the country's immigrant population? This article collects in one place the most sought-after information about the world's largest immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Drawing from a wide array of authoritative data sources, this article provides an up-to-date snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and information on emerging trends, including slowing immigration and changing origins.

Arrivals from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, depart a train in Moscow.
IOM/Elyor Nematov

In recent decades Russia has been increasingly reliant on Central Asian migrant workers. Those workers, in turn, have sent back remittances that have been crucial for their countries of origin. Since 2015, many of these ex-Soviet countries have come together in the Eurasian Economic Union to solidify their bonds and ease migrants' passage to Russia. This article explores the bloc and how it reflects Russia's role in the region.

Joe Biden attends a pre-election event in Nevada.
Gage Skidmore

The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.

Riders on a bus in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Hendri Lombard/World Bank

While intraregional migration is a pillar of the African Union's focus on enhancing regional integration and economic development, visa-free travel or visas upon arrival are a reality for only about half of the countries on the continent. Progress towards free movement for Africans has occurred mostly at a subregional level, as this article explores.

Recent Articles

Two women use their laptops

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.

The National Museum of History in Tirana, Albania features a large mosaic with nationalist imagery.

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.

The Haitian National Palace in Port-au-Prince was heavily damaged after the 2010 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.

Drummers at an event in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami

The United States is the top global destination for Haitian migrants, who left Haiti in the wake of political instability and a series of natural disasters, including a 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. Haitian immigrants in the United States contribute an important flow of remittances to their country of origin, which is the second largest in the world as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). Remittances to Haiti have increased nearly sixfold since 2000.

Migrants aboard a rubber vessel are rescued in the Mediterranean

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

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Digital fingerprint

As governments seek to push their borders out by amassing ever more data on travelers and migrants, their creation of increasingly complex border surveillance systems and use of risk-assessment technologies could ease mobility for some while rendering other groups immobile based on hypothetical risk profiles and decisions that are not publicly known and cannot be challenged, as this article explores.

A nurse assists a woman in a wheelchair

Japan is hoping to bring in as many as 350,000 medium-skilled foreign workers over five years to fill labor market gaps in its rapidly aging society. Yet does this system of Specified Skilled Workers represent an effort to secure a workforce without making long-term settlement possible? And considering its linkage to a Technical Intern Training Program much criticized for abusive practices, does this change represent real reform? This article examines these and other issues.

Migrants being smuggled in a car trunk are intercepted at U.S.-Mexico border

As highly industrialized countries ramp up their border controls, human smugglers are playing a central role in moving migrants through key migration corridors around the world. Despite the illicit nature of their work and being cast as villains in the public eye, smugglers have complex, multifaceted relationships with their clients. At times, the relationship can be mutually beneficial or even lifesaving; at others, it can be predatory and dangerous, as this article explores.

Indian nurses in a classroom

India is the world's largest source for immigrant physicians, and for Indian-trained doctors and nurses the allure of working abroad is strong despite an acute domestic shortage of health-care workers. Against this pull, the Indian government has enacted a number of policies to limit and regulate the emigration of health-care professionals, though these have been more ad hoc in nature and not part of a fully realized strategy.

Aunque colombianos encontraron un refugio cálido en Ecuador después de ser desplazados de su país por una guerra civil que duro décadas, la vida se ha vuelto más difícil para ellos en los últimos años, en parte como resultado del flujo de venezolanos que buscan seguridad. Este artículo se basa en encuestas de migrantes en Quito, comparando y contrastando las experiencias de colombianos y venezolanos, y evaluando sus percepciones de discriminación, victimización y esperanzas para el futuro.

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Two men in military attire stand with a veteran

Approximately 530,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2018, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.6 million veterans nationwide. Immigrant veterans tend to have higher education levels and household incomes compared to native-born veterans, and the vast majority are naturalized citizens, as this data-rich article explores.

Korean band members march in a parade

Approximately 1 million Korean immigrants—the vast majority from South Korea—resided in the United States in 2017. Korean immigrants tend to be highly educated and of high socioeconomic standing. Get the latest data on this population, including flows over time, geographic distribution, employment, and more in this Spotlight.

People take photos of the Statue of Liberty.

Immigrant arrivals to the United States and the makeup of the foreign-born population have been changing in significant ways: Recent immigrants are more likely to be from Asia than from Mexico and the overall immigrant population is growing at a slower rate than before the 2008-09 recession. This useful article collects in one place some of the most sought-after statistics on immigrants in the United States.

Caribbean Day dancers

Caribbean immigrants represent 10 percent of the 44.5 million immigrants in the United States, with the vast majority coming from just five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. Depending on their origin country and period of arrival, immigrants from the Caribbean have varying skill levels, racial composition, language background, and motivations for migration, as this article explores.

Chinatown, San Francisco

The national origins of new arrivals to the United States are shifting, in ways not always fully appreciated. Recent newcomers are more likely to come from Asia, Central America, and Africa, and less likely to be from Mexico. This article offers key demographic information about the 15 immigrant groups that have experienced the largest growth since 2010, including Indians, Chinese, Colombians, Nigerians, and Bangladeshis.

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One of the least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has experienced significant migration outflows and inflows tied to political and economic crises in recent decades. While most Congolese migrants head to neighboring countries, destinations have diversified, with an uptick in those leaving for opportunities in Europe and beyond. This country profile explores historical and contemporary patterns of migration to and from DR Congo.

From ongoing emigration flows and a surge in asylum seekers, to more than 150,000 returnees, this country profile examines contemporary and historical migration trends in Albania. Driven by extreme poverty and unemployment, more than one-third of Albania's population has emigrated in the last 25 years. The government now seeks to capitalize on diaspora resources by linking migration and development policies.

With a history of encouraging workers to emigrate to relieve unemployment at home, Tunisia now has 11 percent of its population living abroad. The factors underlying the 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring have also fueled emigration desires for many Tunisians. This country profile explores historical and current trends in Tunisia from colonial settlement to the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and the new focus on migrant rights at home and abroad.

The end of the Vietnam war, marked by the fall of Saigon in 1975, precipitated the mass Indochinese refugee crisis, which saw more than 2 million people flee the region, often on unseaworthy boats. Following the war, Vietnamese migration was divided between humanitarian flows to the West, and labor migrants to allied communist countries. More recently, Vietnam's rapid economic growth has prompted increased labor migration to Asia and a rise in migrant brides.

An event in Quito for día del Migrante

This country profile analyzes Ecuador's migration trends and examines how remittances and return migration have become an important policy focus for a country with an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million nationals living abroad, chiefly in the United States, Spain, and Italy. As waves of emigration occurred, the country also has experienced significant inflows of refugees and economic and lifestyle migrants.

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Eloy Detention Center

Though a faceoff between the U.S. executive and legislative branches is now in the courts, with President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency so he can allocate more money for construction of a border wall, a less-noted dispute has been taking place over the Department of Homeland Security's decision to add thousands more immigration detention beds than Congress provides annually, as this article explains.

A man holds a sign protesting the travel ban at an airport

Two years after the Trump administration’s much-litigated travel ban was created, the policy has demonstrated a significant impact on the admission of foreigners from the banned countries, while also reshaping U.S. security vetting procedures and the refugee resettlement process in enduring ways, as this article explores on the second-year anniversary.

Migrant processing at San Ysidro port of entry

The Trump administration’s latest effort to narrow the ability to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border hit a legal roadblock within days of implementation, as has been the pattern for much of its immigration agenda. This article examines the actions on asylum, which alongside deployment of active-duty military to the border, are among measures taken to seek to reduce the flow of Central Americans to the United States.

In less than two years as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions oversaw wide-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system. Even as the zero-tolerance policy, fights with "sanctuary" cities, and DACA termination might be more visible, Sessions' enduring legacy may be his muscular use of a little-noted authority, which he wielded to significantly reshape immigration and asylum policy by referring immigration cases to himself.

Legal and political controversy surrounds the Trump administration's decision to include a question on citizenship status in the 2020 decennial census, the first such inclusion since the 1950 census. This article examines the administration's conflicting statements about the genesis of the plan, concerns that the decision could affect the accuracy of the census, and legal challenges pending in a number of states.

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