E.g., 01/30/2023
E.g., 01/30/2023
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Tia Dufour/DHS

At his term's midpoint, President Joe Biden has relied on executive action to advance his immigration agenda more than his predecessors, including Donald Trump. Yet many of the changes to interior enforcement, humanitarian protection, and other areas have been overshadowed by the record pace of arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has presented the administration with major policy and operational challenges.

An FDA researcher stores stem cell samples for analysis
Michael J. Ermarth/FDA

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.

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.

Recent Activity

Image of the hands of two people at a desk going over paperwork
Commentaries
September 2022
By  Jonathan Beier and Essey Workie
 Close-up image of passport with third gender X marker
Image of band playing music at a concert in Athens, GA.
Articles
Cover image for The Missing Link
Reports
July 2022
By  Essey Workie, Lillie Hinkle and Stephanie Heredia
Image of young Afghan girls.
Articles
Image of marchers at Dominican Day parade in New York City
Articles
Image of women smiling on hike
Articles

Pages

Cover image for Immigrants’ U.S. Labor Market Disadvantage in the COVID-19 Economy: The Role of Geography and Industries of Employment
Policy Briefs
September 2021
By  Randy Capps, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
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

Pages

Image of band playing music at a concert in Athens, GA.

Persistent economic turmoil and civil and political insecurity have been drivers of emigration from Brazil, including to the United States. Although the number of Brazilian immigrants in the United States has been on the rise since the 1980s, the magnitude of these flows has made the past decade unique. Read a useful profile of Brazilians immigrants, including U.S. destinations, modes of entry, and educational and work characteristics.

Image of young Afghan girls.

The sluggishness of an overwhelmed U.S. immigration system and long lead times for refugee resettlement pushed government officials to use ad hoc pathways for Afghans and Ukrainians to enter the United States, with a two-year parole status given to most. This article examines the use of parole, the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program, and how the use of ad hoc statuses could evolve for future crises.

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.

Pages

2020CensusOutreach USCensusBureau
Commentaries
July 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jennifer Van Hook and Julia Gelatt
USCISBudgetWoes WikimediaCommonsGulbenk
Commentaries
June 2020
By  Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
CoronavirusCommentary Art
Commentaries
March 2020
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton and Susan Fratzke
_DoctorsOfficePublicCharge
Commentaries
March 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
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

Commentaries
September 2022

The Biden administration public-charge final rule undoes deep restrictions imposed during the Trump era, codifying much of the policy in place from 1999 to 2019. Yet confusion and fear over triggering negative immigration consequences will continue to keep many immigrants and their U.S.-born relatives from accessing benefits and services for which they are eligible absent a robust educational campaign, this commentary explains.

Articles

In 2022, the United States joined a growing list of countries that allow for a third gender option (the “X” marker) in passports. This article examines the introduction of the X marker, the impacts of third gender markers for transgender and nonbinary travelers and migrants as well as border management systems, and the evolving policy landscape ahead.

Articles

Persistent economic turmoil and civil and political insecurity have been drivers of emigration from Brazil, including to the United States. Although the number of Brazilian immigrants in the United States has been on the rise since the 1980s, the magnitude of these flows has made the past decade unique. Read a useful profile of Brazilians immigrants, including U.S. destinations, modes of entry, and educational and work characteristics.

Reports
July 2022

Asylees in the United States are eligible for many of the same benefits and services as refugees, but many may not be aware of this fact. For asylum seekers awaiting a decision in their case, available assistance is far more limited, but similar information gaps exist. This report examines which supports are available to asylees and asylum seekers and offers recommendations to improve how they are connected with programs for which they are eligible.

Reports
July 2022

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.

Articles

The sluggishness of an overwhelmed U.S. immigration system and long lead times for refugee resettlement pushed government officials to use ad hoc pathways for Afghans and Ukrainians to enter the United States, with a two-year parole status given to most. This article examines the use of parole, the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program, and how the use of ad hoc statuses could evolve for future crises.

Articles

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.

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.

Pages