E.g., 11/27/2022
E.g., 11/27/2022
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

A crowd of people outside a food pantry
iStock.com/Massimo Giachetti

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.

Photo of individuals re-entering Mexico after U.S. expulsion
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Headlines focusing on the record-breaking nature of the 2.4 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 overlook the much bigger story: Migrant and asylum seeker flows have rapidly diversified beyond Mexico and northern Central America and as a result, U.S. enforcement policies are misaligned. Today's reality sharply underscores the need for new regional approaches, this commentary argues.

A young woman operating an industrial drilling machine
iStock.com/Omar Osman

As the United States seeks to adapt to trends such as technological change and aging that are reshaping the labor market, increasing productivity and the number of high-skilled workers will be critical. This issue brief explores the characteristics of the 115 million adults without postsecondary credentials, 21 percent of them immigrant, as well as the prospects for credential acquisition for foreign-born subgroups.

Aerial views of Worthington, MN, and Houston, TX
iStock.com/Jacob Boomsma & iStock.com/simonkr

U.S. cities and towns have responded to COVID-19 in ways that are as diverse as the communities they aim to support. This report looks at how two very different locations—Worthington, MN, and the greater Houston area—incorporated immigrants into their relief efforts, through partnerships, strategic outreach, targeted assistance, and more. The report also highlights useful lessons for responses to future emergencies.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other leaders at the 2022 Summit of the Americas
Freddie Everett/State Department

The Los Angeles Agreement on Migration and Protection signed by leaders from 20 countries across the Western Hemisphere at the 2022 Summit of the Americas marks a significant step forward in creating a common language and a coherent set of ideas for more cooperatively managing migration movements across a region that has seen very significant mobility in recent years, as this commentary explains.

Three health-care workers wearing blue protective masks and gowns
iStock/Juanmonino

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic recession have affected the lives of all U.S. residents, but immigrants have been among the hardest hit, with evidence of disproportionately high rates of death as well as a particularly high spike in unemployment. This report takes a look back at how the COVID-19 crisis has affected U.S. immigration policies and levels and the country’s immigrant communities.

Recent Activity

Image of women smiling on hike
Articles
Image of aspiring pastor and DACA recipient speaking at DACA event in Minneapolis
Articles
Cover image for COVID-19’s Effects on U.S. Immigration and Immigrant Communities
Reports
June 2022
By  Julia Gelatt and Muzaffar Chishti
Migrants from Haiti intercepted by U.S. authorities off the coast of Florida.
Articles
Instructors teach an African dance class in Miami.
Articles
U.S. immigration officials walk by a courthouse in Seattle.

Pages

Cover image for Immigrant and Other U.S. Workers a Year into the Pandemic: A Focus on Top Immigrant States
Policy Briefs
June 2021
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Christopher Levesque
Cover image for Strengthening Services for Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities
Reports
June 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Kylie Grow, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin and Essey Workie
Cover image for Rethinking the U.S. Legal Immigration System: A Policy Road Map
Policy Briefs
May 2021
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt and Doris Meissner
The Integration of Immigrant Health Professionals: Looking beyond the COVID-19 Crisis
Policy Briefs
April 2021
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and José Ramón Fernández-Peña
coverthumb_rethinking legalization 2021
Reports
February 2021
By  Jessica Bolter, Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner
Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins
Fact Sheets
December 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Jennifer Van Hook

Pages

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.

U.S. immigration officials walk by a courthouse in Seattle.

New Biden administration guidelines encourage immigration prosecutors to support dismissing many low-priority deportation cases and focus on criminals, threats to national security, and other priorities. This move could have a major impact on clearing backlogs in the overstretched U.S. immigration court system, resulting in quicker determinations in removal and asylum cases, where wait times can presently stretch for years.

A teacher leads a lesson on the Korean alphabet in a U.S. dual-language immersion class

Immigrants from the Korean peninsula are one of the ten largest foreign-born groups in the United States, but their numbers have actually shrunk in recent years. Immigrants from Korea tend to be older, better educated, and earn higher incomes than the overall immigrant and native-born populations.

U.S. Border Patrol agents prepare to transport unauthorized migrants to Mexico under Title 42.

The United States’ controversial Title 42 migrant expulsions policy will come to an end in May 2022, after more than 1.7 million expulsions over two years. The COVID-19-era public-health restriction ushered in an unprecedented period of mass expulsions, including of would-be asylum seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Unwinding the policy will be complicated amid predictions of a significant increase in unauthorized migration.

Pages

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Commentaries
July 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jennifer Van Hook and Julia Gelatt
USCISBudgetWoes WikimediaCommonsGulbenk
Commentaries
June 2020
By  Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
_DoctorsOfficePublicCharge
Commentaries
March 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
CoronavirusCommentary Art
Commentaries
March 2020
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton and Susan Fratzke
medical insurance
Commentaries
October 2019
By  Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
ResettledRefugeesLA2016UN PhotoMarkGarten
Commentaries
September 2019
By  Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt and Amy Holovnia
SNAP commentary USDA Flickr
Commentaries
August 2019
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg

Pages

World of Migration Episode 1
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 13, 2021

MPI co-founder Demetrios G. Papademetriou takes on many questions, including whether the role of think tanks has evolved over the last two decades, in this conversation with MPI’s Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan. They also look ahead to the challenges that will dominate immigration policymaking in the years ahead.

Changing Climate Changing Migration episode tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 1, 2021

In Western countries, a common narrative has developed that only poor or developing nations will have to confront human displacement caused by climate change. But communities in the United States and elsewhere have repeatedly moved because of environmental disasters such as flooding. This episode features a discussion on the U.S.

Video, Audio
September 27, 2021

The 2021 annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured a keynote conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and analysis by top experts on the early months of the Biden administration and how immigration law and policy can respond to our changing world in a manner that is humane and in the national interest.

Video, Audio
September 2, 2021

The sprawling U.S. immigration detention system has long been controversial for its conditions of care, number of immigrants and asylum seekers detained, and costs. This discussion of a report provides a vision for a reimagined immigration custody system. 

Video, Audio
July 21, 2021

Featuring findings from a recent MPI report, speakers examined the process of releasing unaccompanied children to sponsors, the current structure of federal post-release services, and the most significant needs these children and their U.S. sponsors experience.

Pages

Recent Activity

Articles

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.

Commentaries
June 2022

The Los Angeles Agreement on Migration and Protection signed by leaders from 20 countries across the Western Hemisphere at the 2022 Summit of the Americas marks a significant step forward in creating a common language and a coherent set of ideas for more cooperatively managing migration movements across a region that has seen very significant mobility in recent years, as this commentary explains.

Articles

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.

Reports
June 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic recession have affected the lives of all U.S. residents, but immigrants have been among the hardest hit, with evidence of disproportionately high rates of death as well as a particularly high spike in unemployment. This report takes a look back at how the COVID-19 crisis has affected U.S. immigration policies and levels and the country’s immigrant communities.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Articles

New Biden administration guidelines encourage immigration prosecutors to support dismissing many low-priority deportation cases and focus on criminals, threats to national security, and other priorities. This move could have a major impact on clearing backlogs in the overstretched U.S. immigration court system, resulting in quicker determinations in removal and asylum cases, where wait times can presently stretch for years.

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 20, 2022

Experts on this webinar examined the scope and reality of skills shortages and the role of immigrants in the U.S. labor market, ways to address the underemployment of highly skilled immigrants, and how immigrants and immigration policy can be used to fulfil needs in the education sector, STEM occupations, and other skills needs. The webinar also marked the launch of Leveraging the Skills of Immigrant Health-Care Professionals in Illinois and Chicago,

Pages