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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

AfghanChildren MMaguire UNHCR

Nearly 6 million Afghans fled after violence erupted in the late 1970s, primarily to Iran and Pakistan. While millions returned after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, the security situation has since deteriorated and the government struggles to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the internally displaced. This country profile explores Afghanistan’s complex migration and displacement history as well as ongoing challenges.

CubanFlag ElvertBarnes Flickr

Owing to their uniquely preferential treatment under U.S. immigration law, Cubans for decades have been among the largest immigrant groups in the United States. In 2016, nearly 1.3 million Cubans lived in the United States. This Spotlight provides a data snapshot of this immigrant group, which is highly concentrated in Florida, significantly older than the overall U.S. population, and less likely to be proficient in English.

CanadaCitizenship ChrisSchwarz GovernmentofAlberta

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.

SouthSudan AnitaKattakhuzy Oxfam

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.

TrumpPhoenix2 GageSkidmore Flickr

The Trump administration has released a list of hardline immigration demands—including border wall funding, restrictions on federal grants to “sanctuary” cities, and cuts to legal immigration—in exchange for legislation protecting DREAMers. This article examines the prospects for these proposals and more broadly for a legislative fix to resolve the status of unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children.

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Those caught trying to enter the United States illegally in portions of five Southwest border sectors face criminal prosecution under Operation Streamline, which the Department of Homeland Security launched in 2005. MPI's Donald Kerwin and Kristen McCabe examine how Operation Streamline works, highlight trends in the prosecution of immigration offenses, and evaluate the program's outcomes.

Five factors, including wages and professional development, drive skilled people to migrate, and three reasons encourage them to return. Laura Chappell and Alex Glennie of ippr in London look at all of these factors and how motivations vary across different contexts and groups of migrants.

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues estimates there are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries worldwide. Carlos Yescas of the New School for Social Research looks at the definition of indigenous people, the three types of indigenous-people flows, and how indigenous migrants maintain ties with their home communities.

Remittances would seem to boost the chances that children in Mexico complete high school. But money alone does not improve schooling outcomes in the educationally marginalized, migrant-sending regions of southern Mexico, as Adam Sawyer of the Harvard Graduate School of Education reports.

Numerous researchers and organizations have predicted that climate change will trigger historically unprecedented waves of mass migration. MPI's Carolina Fritz examines the complex links between climate change and migration, how and where these links influence current and future migration patterns, and some of the problems with predicting future flows.

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Globalization has made the international mobility of high-skilled workers a vital issue for the United States. MPI's Maia Jachimowicz and Policy Analyst Deborah W. Meyers explain the complicated visa system for high-skilled temporary workers.
Although the foreign born remain concentrated in certain states, many immigrants are moving into "non-traditional" areas. Elizabeth Grieco, MPI Data Manager, has prepared a spotlight on their settlement patterns.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 dramatically reformed the nation's welfare system. MPI's Amanda Levinson takes a closer look at how these changes affected immigrants.

Since the early 1990s, there have been more female than male immigrants to the United States. This Spotlight by Elizabeth Grieco, MPI Data Manager, examines some of the characteristics of this important group of immigrants.

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INS Commissioner to Resign... Requirement for Change of Address Notification... Social Security Changes Affecting Immigrants... H-1B Numbers Reflect Slowing Economy... Identifying Detainees Delayed...
Legislative Progress on Department of Homeland Security Proposal... Local/Federal Law Enforcement Cooperation... Continuation of Secret Detentions... Senior Diplomat Asked to Resign... Extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
INS Included in Homeland Security Proposal... Registering and Monitoring Non-Immigrants... Opposition to Local Enforcement of Immigration Laws Continues... Inquiry Regarding Detention of Haitians...
INS Reorganization Near Certain... Shorter Visa Duration Anticipated... TPS Extended... Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act Becomes Law...

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