E.g., 06/27/2022
E.g., 06/27/2022
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

A young female nurse wearing medical scrubs and a stethoscope sits on a park bench
iStock.com/lightspeedshutter

Immigrants play important roles across the U.S. health-care workforce, but not all of those with in-demand health and medical degrees are able to put their skills to work. Addressing this skill underutilization, or “brain waste,” has only become more important during the pandemic. This brief examines the extent of skill underutilization among immigrants with health degrees in Illinois, a state with a long history of immigration, and efforts to better leverage these skills.

A U.S. service member helps an older Afghan woman off a plane at a naval air station
William Chockey/U.S. Marine Corps

Dating to the 1950s, Congress on multiple occasions has provided a direct path to permanent residence for Hungarians, Vietnamese, Cubans, and others fleeing upheaval in their countries. Given this precedent, this commentary suggests Congress should act to provide a more secure future for the more than 72,000 Afghans who were airlifted to the United States under an uncertain immigration status known as parole.

President Trump sits with his hands clasped at a desk with papers and a pen in front of him
Shealah Craighead/White House

The Trump administration set an unprecedented pace for executive action on immigration, reshaping many aspects of the U.S. immigration system through changes large and small. This report chronicles the 472 administrative changes enacted during this four-year period—ranging from COVID-19 response measures and immigration enforcement, to humanitarian protection, travel bans, legal immigration and DACA changes, and more.

Organic Blue Corn from a farm in New Mexico
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service New Mexico

There is increasing recognition that the United States, Mexico, and migrant-origin countries in Central America will need to work together to address the large-scale, irregular movement of people through the region. While it is critical to improve humanitarian protection for those in need, expanding legal opportunities to take up employment abroad is another part of this equation, as this policy brief explores.

Photo of woman walking around a school campus.
iStock.com/RyanJLane

The number of U.S. adults who could benefit from efforts to boost postsecondary credential attainment is strikingly large. Nearly 96 million working-age adults lack a postsecondary credential, 28 million of them of immigrant origin, MPI estimates. This commentary examines how enabling immigrant-origin adults to attain credentials beyond a high school diploma is vital to both building a skilled workforce and closing equity gaps.

U.S. Border Patrol agents prepare to process migrant encountered near Arizona
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

While there were more encounters of migrants seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization during fiscal 2021 than any prior year, this does not necessarily mean that more migrants were intercepted or illicitly entered the country than was the case 21 years ago, a new commentary explains.

Recent Activity

Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Articles
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Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Border Patrol agents and child migrants
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Articles

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Policy Briefs
October 2007
By  Claire Bergeron , Aaron Terrazas and Doris Meissner
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Policy Briefs
May 2007
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
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Fact Sheets
May 2007
By  Julia Gelatt
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Reports
November 2006
By  Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Michael Fix
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Fact Sheets
November 2006
By  Jeanne Batalova
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Policy Briefs
October 2006
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

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BorderWall BBCWorldService Flickr

Over the past several decades, in response to the uptick in spontaneous migration flows, there has been a surge in construction of border walls and fences. This trend begs several questions: Why now? Did border walls work in the past? Do they work today? This article examines the history of border barriers and assesses how effective they are at deterring unauthorized migration.

SyrianFamily MohamedAzakir WorldBank

With weeks to spare, the Obama administration met its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September 2016, and announced plans to increase the overall refugee ceiling to 110,000 in fiscal 2017. However, opposition continues to mount in Congress, statehouses, and on the campaign trail, with Republicans citing security concerns in calling for lower numbers or additional screening, as this article explores.

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.

CitizenshipF_amily2

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.

TrumpRNC IdaMaeAstute ABC

The stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic parties on immigration was codified in their 2016 party platforms, and showcased in the rosters of convention speakers—featuring victims of unauthorized immigrant crimes on the one hand, and unauthorized immigrants living in fear on the other. This article explores the evidence, even compared to earlier platforms, of two divergent universes regarding immigration.

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Video
August 2, 2013

Testimony of Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate.

Four panelists sitting with Chicago Council banner in background
Audio
July 16, 2013

At this release event in Washington, DC, co-sponsored by MPI, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and ImmigrationWorks USA, the Chicago Council's independent task force on immigration released its report, U.S. Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform.

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Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

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Video, Audio
April 5, 2013

This discussion with Mexico's new Ambassador to the United States focused on changing dynamics in Mexico, and their implications for both Mexico and the U.S.

MI_InvestingWiselyFuture
Video, Audio
March 27, 2013

With the prospects for immigration reform greater than they have been in more than a decade and the U.S. economy slowly shrugging off the effects of the recession, the United States may be on the cusp of historic changes that make the immigration system a more effective tool for innovation, economic growth and the competitiveness of its firms—large and small. 

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Recent Activity

Articles

Ideological differences in the Democratic Party over immigration that were once masked by unity against President Trump’s border wall and immigration agenda are now being exposed as Democratic presidential candidates seek to stand out in a crowded field and amid controversy over an emergency border spending bill. As the 2020 electoral calendar accelerates, how the party navigates the gulf between its most liberal and conservative wings will become a greater challenge for its leaders.

Commentaries
July 2019

Dado el incremento de los flujos migratorios provenientes de Centroamérica, el pasado mes de junio de 2019, los Estados Unidos y México acordaron tomar una serie de medidas para reducir los flujos irregulares. Sin embargo, será muy difícil mantener estos esfuerzos de corto plazo, debido a una debilidad institucional crónica y a estructuras de política pública poco planificadas en ambos países. Este comentario ofrece cinco recomendaciones a ambos países considerando soluciones de mediano y largo plazo para disuadir la migración irregular y, al mismo tiempo, garantizar que aquellos que busquen protección tengan un proceso justo.

Commentaries
July 2019

Amid surging migration from Central America, the United States and Mexico in June 2019 agreed to a series of enforcement measures. Yet these near-term efforts will be difficult to maintain given chronic institutional weaknesses and poorly thought-out policy structures in both countries. This commentary, by the presidents of MPI and El Colegio de México, offers a set of long-term, collaborative solutions to dissuade illegal migration while ensuring fairness to those seeking protection.

Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

Articles

Approximately 11,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, putting this year on track to exceed 2014's surge. As the U.S. government struggles to care for these child migrants, with public outrage mounting over reports of unsafe, filthy conditions in initial Border Patrol custody, the failure of the executive branch and Congress to plan for increased shelter and care demands are increasingly apparent, as this article explores.

Video, Audio
June 26, 2019

This discussion on the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) showcases MPI Fellow Charles Kamasaki's book, Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die. Kamasaki is joined by other veterans of the IRCA debate for a conversation on the lessons, the intended and unintended consequences, and how the law’s legacy has shaped contemporary politics on immigration.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

Articles

The United States has historically been the top country for refugee resettlement, but was surpassed in 2018 by Canada amid record cuts to admissions by the Trump administration. Approximately 22,500 refugees were resettled in the United States during fiscal year 2018, as well as 26,500 asylees. This article examines where these newcomers came from and many other characteristics, including religious affiliation, age, and gender.

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