E.g., 11/24/2020
E.g., 11/24/2020

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Aerial view of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Addressing regional cooperation around migration will be among the immigration challenges and opportunities facing the incoming Biden administration. This report examines how movement between the United States, Mexico, and Central America has evolved in recent decades, and lays out a four-part strategy to expand opportunities for legal migration, address humanitarian protection needs, improve enforcement, and mitigate some of the forces driving people to emigrate.

Joe Biden speaking with supporters in Henderson, Nevada
Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden pledged during his campaign to reverse some of the most restrictive immigration actions undertaken during Donald Trump’s four years in office. While some actions can be undone with the stroke of a pen, others will take more time. This policy brief outlines the incoming administration’s top immigration priorities, examines challenges and opportunities ahead, and previews MPI policy ideas that could improve the immigration system and advance the national interest.

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct an operation near Sasabe, Arizona
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Consistent with its world view of immigration as threat, the Trump administration has shut down meaningful access to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, expelled more than 205,000 arrivals during the pandemic, and constructed hundreds of miles of border barriers. Yet these strategies cannot succeed over the long term, given realities. This road map sketches what an effective border management system would look like.

A National Cancer Institute technician working in a lab
Daniel Sone/National Cancer Institute

Immigrants and their U.S.-born children are key drivers of U.S. labor force growth. As some occupations grow and others decline, this report explores how these immigrant-origin workers fit within the changing world of work. It examines the degree to which workers from different racial/ethnic groups hold growing and declining jobs, and what changes in the mix of jobs mean for workforce development and immigration policy.

Penn State students studying
Penn State

Immigrants and the children of immigrants make up a large and growing segment of students at U.S. colleges and universities—up from 20 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2018. This fact sheet offers a first-of-its-kind profile of this population’s size and growth, identifies the top states for these students, and explores characteristics such as race/ethnicity and immigration status.

Headway/Unsplash

The Trump administration's changes to the H-1B visa program are the most significant in three decades, promising to end the practice of replacing U.S. workers with highly skilled immigrants. While the problems the administration has identified and the interest in protecting U.S. workers are legitimate ones, its approach may cripple the H-1B program itself, as this commentary explains.

Recent Activity

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Policy Briefs
August 2013
By  Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker and Randy Capps
Policy Briefs
May 2013
By  Randy Capps, Michael Fix, Jennifer Van Hook and James D. Bachmeier
Reports
May 2013
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Doris Meissner and Eleanor Sohnen
Policy Briefs
April 2013
By  Madeleine Sumption and Demetrios G. Papademetriou

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President Obama faced criticism over his administration's handling of immigration enforcement from both the left and the right, labeled "deporter in chief" even as he was also accused of lax enforcement. A closer examination of his administration's record paints a more nuanced picture. This article explores how immigration enforcement practices shifted to achieve two key goals over the course of the Obama era.

More than 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Nearly half of Syrian refugees are under age 14, and this population is more dispersed geographically across the country than the overall Syrian immigrant population. This article offers a demographic profile of Syrian refugees, including age, gender, language, and religion, as well as top state and city destinations.

Donald Trump has made a series of postelection statements suggesting he may backtrack on several campaign pledges on immigration, including building a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Still, his choice of top advisors points to a hard-line agenda. This Policy Beat article examines what some of the better known elements of Trump's immigration policy might look like.

Over the past decade, state and local policymakers have increasingly stepped into the void left by Washington over legislative reform of the immigration system and have enacted their own policies, particularly in regard to illegal immigration. This article explores this trend of increased activism and examines whether restrictive state immigration laws have had an effect on the size of immigrant populations at the state level.

In the wake of a hurricane that has once again devastated Haiti, the United States quickly reversed its toughened policy toward the thousands of Haitian nationals arriving at the California-Mexico border without prior authorization. This Policy Beat examines the shifts in U.S. admission and deportation policy toward Haitian migrants since the 2010 earthquake, and other national and state developments on immigration.

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Video, Audio
July 23, 2015

Marking the release of an MPI report, this briefing explores the effects of recent revisions in DHS immigration enforcement priorities on deportations within the U.S. interior.

Video, Audio
April 17, 2015

A discussion with the Director of The White House Domestic Policy Council on the content of the new National Integration Plan delivered to the President by the recently created White House Task Force on New Americans, along with the plan for implementation.

Video, Audio
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

Video, Audio
March 12, 2015

This webinar, with perspectives from MPI, the WE Global Network, and Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service, examines the role of economic development initiatives and refugee resettlement programs/infrastructure in immigrant integration.

Video, Audio
March 5, 2015

This webinar, with perspectives from MPI, the National Partnership for New Americans, and the National Skills Coalition, looks at the role of adult education and English language and skills training in the immigrant integration process.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio
April 10, 2019

MPI's Kathleen Newland, Refugee Council USA's Mary Giovagnoli, and David Scott FitzGerald, author of Refuge beyond Reach, discuss how and why international and national responses to the rising challenge of refugee displacement are diverging. They examine what lies ahead for the Global Compact on Refugees and how adjustments to asylum policies in many high-income democracies are narrowing the paths to protection.

Commentaries
April 2019

Closing the U.S.-Mexico border and cutting off aid to Central America would only feed the crisis unfolding at key points along the U.S.-Mexico border. This commentary outlines a range of immediate and long-term policy responses that would more effectively address the complex mix of factors fueling rising Central American migration to the United States.

Articles

Remain in Mexico—the Trump administration policy aimed at deterring the rising numbers of migrants from Central America by requiring them to stay in Mexico through most of their U.S. asylum adjudication process—bears striking similarities to U.S. policy in the 1980s and 1990s that sought to discourage Haitians from making the sea journey to the United States. This article explores the parallels and differences between Remain in Mexico and the earlier narrowing of asylum for Haitians.

Fact Sheets
March 2019

With immigrants and their U.S.-born children poised to be the main source of labor-force growth, these adults are an important target for efforts to build the skills of the U.S. workforce to meet the knowledge-based economy of tomorrow. This fact sheet and state data snapshots explore the characteristics of adults without an academic degree or professional credential, by immigrant generation, race/ethnicity, and more.

Commentaries
March 2019

The first bill introduced in the 116th Congress to offer a path to legal status to DREAMers, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, could legalize nearly 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, as well as those eligible for Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure, as this commentary explains.

Articles

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.

Video, Audio, Webinars
March 8, 2019

This webinar discusses the first-ever profile of the 30 million immigrant-origin adults in the United States who lack a postsecondary credential and offers analysis of the significant payoff credentials could bring in terms of workforce participation and wages.

Reports
March 2019

As the U.S. workforce ages and the economy becomes ever more knowledge-based, policymakers face a key question: Do workers have the skills to meet tomorrow's demands? This report examines how immigrants and their children—the primary source of future labor-market growth—fit into the discussion. The report offers a first-ever profile of the 30 million immigrant-origin adults without a postsecondary credential.

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