E.g., 01/20/2022
E.g., 01/20/2022

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

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The Rohingya people have been rendered stateless and subjected to repeated abuse that has made them the world’s most persecuted minority, with hundreds of thousands pushed into neighboring Bangladesh, as well as India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the Rohingya, including who they are, where they come from, and how they have been systematically marginalized in their native Myanmar and internationally.

iStock immigrants from asia us resize

Nearly one-third of all immigrants in the United States come from Asia, and Asian countries such as India, China, and the Philippines are the origin for a growing number of foreign-born U.S. residents. Compared to overall immigrants and the U.S. born, the foreign born from Asia tend to earn higher incomes, work in management jobs, and have higher levels of education, as this article explores.

syrian migrant refugee conditions

Millions of people flee civil wars for safety elsewhere, but predicting precisely when refugees and asylum seekers will be displaced is not as easy as it seems. There is not always a direct correlation between episodes of violence and patterns of migration. This article explores how civilians require both motivation and opportunity to leave conflict zones.

biden immigration order

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.

dry corridor honduras food migration

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.

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Source Smugglers 2020

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.

IndianNurseTraining_Flickr_CommunityEyeHealth

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.

ColombianBoyinEcuador_USAIDFlickrMichelleSnow

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.

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.

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.

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PolishGirls rocketfuel Flickr

European immigrants in the United States have largely dwindled in number since 1960, after historically making up the bulk of immigration to the country. Today, immigrants from Eastern Europe account for the largest share of European arrivals, and Europeans overall are much older and more educated than the total foreign- and native-born populations. This article explores the data on Europeans in the United States.

HmongFarmersMN MediaMikeHazard Flickr

The immigrant population in the United States grew faster than the national average in a number of states—including Alaska, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and West Virginia—from 2010 to 2016. This Spotlight offers detailed data on size, origins, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of immigrant populations in the 15 fastest-growing destination states.

Canadian family on Canada Day

Though small, the population of Canadians in the United States is quite diverse, and includes students, highly skilled professionals on H-1B or NAFTA visas, family migrants, and retirees. Canadian immigrants have much higher educational attainment and incomes than the native- and overall foreign-born populations. This article offers an interesting data snapshot of Canadians in the United States.

Chinese students

The United States has long been the top choice for international students from around the world, hosting about 1.1 million foreign students in higher education institutions in 2016-17. However, U.S. enrollment has slowed in recent years due to several factors. This article offers a data snapshot of the population of international students in the United States.

DominicanBakery BrianGodfrey Flickr

In 2016, some 1.1 million Dominican immigrants lived in the United States, up from just 12,000 in 1960. Dominicans are highly concentrated in the New York metro area, and they and their descendants comprise the fifth-largest U.S. Hispanic group. This article profiles Dominican immigrants in the United States, finding them more likely to come via family ties and have lower incomes and less education than immigrants overall. 

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Once known for large-scale emigration, Greece has become the main point of entry for unauthorized migrants heading toward Europe. The country must now — amid economic turmoil — grapple with issues related to its highly porous borders, mounting asylum applications, and inadequate immigrant-detention system.

In a highly selective way, flows of internal migrants within Taiwan have responded quickly to political, economic, and social changes throughout the nation’s history, and have spurred development of the country’s industrial, services, and technological industries. In the past 20 years, however, international migration has reemerged in relevance and now includes the immigration of foreign workers and wives and the emigration of some of Taiwan’s best and brightest.

Canada has long been a country of net immigration and has designed its current immigration policy around attracting highly educated and skilled migrants for entry into its labor force. In this country profile, Ashley Challinor discusses the challenges associated with this approach and provides a sense of the actual scale and nature of migration into Canada.

The realities of poverty, underemployment, and a large working-age population mean that international labor migration is an expected and necessary part of life for many Bangladeshi men and women. Nazli Kibria of Boston University explains the challenges and opportunities facing Bangladesh as the small nation struggles to balance the need for economic migration and its resulting remittances with the protection of its citizens abroad.

Ronald Skeldon of the University of Sussex maps out the past and present migration patterns of China — the source of tens of millions of migrants around the globe — and discusses the country's budding status as an immigrant-receiving nation.

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DepartmentOfJustice GregoryVarnum Wikimedia

The Trump administration has been steadily building a case to penalize "sanctuary" cities—those jurisdictions that in some way limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities—after threatening to cut federal funding. Despite court rulings that seemed to strike a blow against these efforts, the Justice Department is moving forward with its strategy, relying on a broad interpretation of a federal statute, as this article explores.

7Eleven KimDavies Flickr

An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.

Salvadoran family

The Trump administration’s announcement that it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan has brought unprecedented attention to the program and its future. Established in 1990, TPS offers work authorization and deportation relief to foreign nationals already in the United States unable to return to countries embroiled in conflict or the effects of a natural disaster. This Policy Beat explores past and current TPS designations and debates surrounding the program.

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.

DreamRallyLA MollyAdams Flickr

The Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deportation-relief program launched in 2012 has sparked new urgency to find a longer-term fix for "DREAMers," the unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. This Policy Beat article examines movement in the courts and in Congress on the DREAM Act and similar proposals, exploring likely paths forward.

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