E.g., 02/24/2024
E.g., 02/24/2024
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

A man in a high-visibility jacket and gloves at work
Aaron Sussell/U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. employment-based visa policies, last updated in 1990, are not aligned with the country’s current and future labor market needs. This policy brief outlines MPI’s proposal for a new visa pathway that could help the United States better leverage immigration to meet its labor market needs, boost protections for both U.S.- and foreign-born workers, and flexibly adapt to future economic and demographic changes.

Inadmissible migrants, some seeking asylum, are processed by CBP officers
Mani Albrecht/CBP

The U.S. humanitarian protection system, known for its long history of assisting those in need, has come under incredible pressure in recent years. The asylum adjudications system, which is under-resourced, is struggling to keep up with record asylum seeker arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines the state of the asylum system, including changes under the Biden administration and potential lessons for other countries.

 A young nurse hugs an elderly patient in a wheelchair
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits in the United States is governed by a complex patchwork of rules that make many groups of noncitizens eligible for some benefits but not others, while other noncitizens are excluded completely. This report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, driver’s licenses, and more.

U.S.-Mexico border fence with Tijuana on the left
Josh Denmark/CBP

Unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a high-profile and politically divisive issue for decades. But as the nature of migration at the border has changed profoundly, U.S. policy responses have struggled to keep up. This report explores the changing nature of migration flows and migration policy at the border from the early 1990s until today, highlighting key lessons for contemporary policy-making.

CBP officers screen border crossers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry
Jerry Glaser/CBP

All eyes are on the U.S.-Mexico border, where shifting migration trends and record migrant arrivals have stretched the U.S. border management system beyond its capabilities. As the Biden administration continues to implement its new regime of incentives for orderly arrivals and disincentives for unauthorized crossings, this report analyzes the rapidly changing policy and migration realities and outlines recommendations for a more effective, durable system of border control.

Aerial photo of the U.S. Capitol
Architect of the Capitol

The $13.6 billion border emergency supplemental spending bill the Biden administration is seeking lays out the elements for resourcing immigration functions to full capacity across the entire border enforcement system. Without resourcing the system across all its parts, including adjudications and management, no administration, present or future, will be able to effectively manage spontaneous border arrivals, this commentary argues.

Recent Activity

A migrant scheduled to be deported from the United States is escorted to a charter flight.
Cover image for The Skills and Economic Outcomes of Immigrant and U.S.-Born College Graduates
Fact Sheets
December 2022
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for Four Strategies to Improve Community Services for Unaccompanied Children in the Unit
Policy Briefs
December 2022
By  Jonathan Beier, Lauren Farwell, Rhonda Fleischer and Essey Workie
A guest takes a photo at a Diwali reception at the White House.
Articles
A person walks with luggage in John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
Articles
Cover image for A Profile of Low-Income Immigrants in the United States
Fact Sheets
November 2022
By  Julia Gelatt, Valerie Lacarte and Joshua Rodriguez
Venezuelan migrants at a reception center in Brazil.
Articles

Pages

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Policy Briefs
November 2019
By  Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Coverthumb MPI Migracion Mexico EstadosUnidos SPANISH
Reports
September 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Claudia Masferrer
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Reports
September 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Claudia Masferrer
Coverthumb Orrenius Zavodny Gullo LaborMarket
Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny and Stephanie Gullo
Coverthumb MPI Holzer Future US Labor Market
Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Harry J. Holzer
Coverthumb RethinkingImmigration ConceptNote
Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Doris Meissner
Coverthumb Border ControltoCrisis Report 2019
Reports
August 2019
By  Randy Capps, Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce

Pages

Image of marchers at Dominican Day parade in New York City

Immigrants from the Caribbean living in the United States come from a diverse set of countries and territories, with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago the top origins. This article offers a sociodemographic profile of Caribbean immigrants, who represent 10 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population and nearly half of all Black immigrants in the United States.

Image of women smiling on hike

The adoption of immigration measures by state and local governments can affect the sense of belonging not just for immigrants but also for the U.S. born, with impacts on individuals’ wellbeing, their engagement with others, and political participation. As the number of subfederal immigration measures has proliferated in recent years, research suggests this growth could have wider-ranging repercussions than commonly understood.

Image of aspiring pastor and DACA recipient speaking at DACA event in Minneapolis

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program reached its 10th anniversary in June 2022. This article reviews the evidence on DACA’s impacts for Dreamers and the broader society, looks at the increased reliance on similar limited legal statuses to help segments of the unauthorized immigrant population, and examines the legal challenges the program has and is continuing to face.

Migrants from Haiti intercepted by U.S. authorities off the coast of Florida.

A recent uptick in the number of unauthorized migrants attempting to reach the United States by sea has been largely overshadowed by tensions on the southwest border but serves as an echo of eras past. This article explains why migrant interdictions have risen to recent highs, especially among Cubans and Haitians.

Instructors teach an African dance class in Miami.

The population of sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States is relatively small, but it has grown substantially over the last four decades and is likely to continue to increase. This group of 2.1 million people is highly diverse, including individuals with a range of ethnic, linguistic, and other backgrounds, as this article explains.

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SKoreanRemoval ICE
Commentaries
November 2016
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Commentaries
October 2015
By  Kathleen Newland
Constitution
Commentaries
August 2015
By  Michael Fix
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Commentaries
April 2014
By  Marc R. Rosenblum and Doris Meissner

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Expert Q&A, Audio
March 31, 2020

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer.

Pixabay Gerd Altmann
Video, Audio
March 24, 2020

This webinar, organized by MPI and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed migration policy responses around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. 

Greencard US government
Video, Audio
March 5, 2020

On this webinar, MPI experts discussed the public-charge rule and released estimates of the populations that could be deemed ineligible for a green card based on existing benefits use.

flickr Seattle OIRA August 2015 Ready to Work Graduation Celebration Credit Nate Gowdy Photography
Video, Audio
January 23, 2020

On this webinar, experts and state refugee resettlement program leaders discuss activities that can be key parts of a broader strategy for sustaining and improving employment services for refugees, including partnerships with experts in workforce development strategies, access to federal workforce development funding, and other policies and resources.

EVENT PHOTO 2019.10.7.2 Law and Policy Conference
Video, Audio
October 7, 2019

With immigration a central plank of the Trump administration, the 16th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, held in October 2019, featured analysis by top experts regarding changing policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, narrowing of asylum, cooperation with migrant-transit countries, and actions that could reduce legal immigration, including revisions to the public-charge rule.

Pages

Recent Activity

Articles

Every year, thousands of migrants ordered deported from EU Member States, the United States, and elsewhere are not returned to their origin countries. Why? One reason is the multiple nations that refuse to cooperate on readmitting their nationals abroad. This article explores the motivations behind countries’ lack of cooperation and how deporting states have responded.

Fact Sheets
December 2022

College-educated immigrants are more likely to have advanced degrees than their U.S.-born peers with college degrees. But their educational levels have not always translated into similar occupational gains: They are more likely to be overeducated for their positions. Drawing on PIAAC data, this fact sheet sketches educational characteristics, monthly earnings, skill underutilization, and job quality for immigrant and U.S.-born college graduates alike.

Policy Briefs
December 2022

For unaccompanied children leaving federal custody to live with parents or other sponsors, the transition into U.S. communities can be a difficult one. And although a patchwork of services exist to help these children and to address medical, mental health, and other needs, their capacity varies widely by location. This issue brief explores promising practices for improving these critical forms of support.  

Articles

Significant immigration from India to the United States began only after 1965, when the United States dropped national-origin quotas that favored Europeans. Today, Indians make up the nation's second largest foreign-born group. On average, they tend to be very well educated: 80 percent have a college degree and nearly half hold a graduate or professional degree. This article offers a useful sociodemographic profile of the Indian population.

Articles

Legal immigration to the United States fell to its lowest level in years during the COVID-19 pandemic, but preliminary data suggest it is returning to previous levels, belying predictions that the public-health crisis had allowed the Trump administration to make lasting, deep cuts. Yet the patterns have changed and persistent case processing backlogs could spell long-term problems, as this article explores.

Fact Sheets
November 2022

Immigrants in the United States experience strong economic mobility overall. But for some, limited educational attainment and English proficiency, and the challenges of restarting life in a new country, can result in low incomes and economic hardship. This fact sheet looks at the origins, states of residence, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and employment of low-income immigrants.

Articles

The Biden administration’s policy to expel some Venezuelan border arrivals to Mexico marks a significant reversal. For the first time, the U.S. government is invoking the controversial Title 42 expulsions policy not on public-health grounds but as an explicit immigration enforcement measure. The expulsions are being paired with a new humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelans. This article assesses the policy and the uneven treatment of humanitarian migrants by nationality.

Commentaries
October 2022

Los titulares enfocados en la cifra récord de 2,4 millones de migrantes encontrados en la frontera México-Estados Unidos durante el año fiscal 2022 encubren la historia más importante: Los flujos migratorios se han diversificado rápidamente más allá de México y el norte Centroamérica, y como resultado, las políticas de control migratorio son incongruentes con la realidad de hoy. Esto demuestra la evidente necesitad de nuevos enfoques regionales, argumenta este comentario.

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