E.g., 11/26/2022
E.g., 11/26/2022
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

A Dutch family at Ellis Island between 1915 and 1920.
Cover image for El relanzamiento del Programa de Menores Centroamericanos: Oportunidades para realzar la protección infantil y la reunificación familiar
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
Cover image for Relaunching the Central American Minors Program: Opportunities to Enhance Child Safety and Family Reunification
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
Migrants enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
New U.S. citizens take an oath during a naturalization ceremony.
Articles

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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
Coverthumb US Mexico Migration English
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

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New U.S. citizens take an oath during a naturalization ceremony.

More than half of all immigrants in the United States are naturalized citizens. The number of new naturalizations has fluctuated from year to year, hitting a decade-long low in fiscal year 2020, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising processing times. This article provides information on naturalized citizens in the United States, including historical trends and socioeconomic characteristics.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers consult in New York City.

U.S. immigration arrests have declined to the lowest level in years. Going forward, new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines could further shape how authorities arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants and noncitizens who have committed crimes. This article describes how the Biden administration prosecutorial discretion guidance marks a sharp turn from the approach taken by the Trump administration.

A woman stands onboard the U.S. Navy vessel on which she was born after her parents had been rescued at sea while fleeing Vietnam in 1979.

Vietnamese immigrants are among the largest foreign-born groups from Asia in the United States. The first significant arrivals came at the end of the Vietnam War; more recent immigrants from Vietnam have been more likely to come through family sponsorship programs. This article examines different dimensions of this immigrant population.

A Haitian man hugs his daughter in Peru.

The chaotic arrival of thousands of Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2021 was the culmination of a journey through the Americas that began for many a decade ago. This article examines how Brazil became a refuge for many after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, and how Haitians then moved on to Chile and other countries as conditions changed, and then onward again further north.

A U.S. Customs agent looks at wreckage following the 9/11 terror attacks

After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 the U.S. immigration system was retooled to have a strong national security focus. This restructuring had dramatic effects on government operations and resource allocations, not to mention on the lives of immigrants and the U.S. born alike. Twenty years on from 9/11, this article examines the changes put in place or accelerated as a result of the attacks.

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Andrew Selee, Veronica Escobar, Dan Crenshaw, Duncan Wood
Video
April 22, 2020

In this bipartisan discussion, two border-state members of Congress—Rep. Veronica Escobar and Rep. Dan Crenshaw—discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak, how it is affecting the interconnected border region, and what the future might hold.
 

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Audio
April 8, 2020

MPI and MPI Europe experts discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on asylum systems in Europe and North America, as well as in developing regions, where 85 percent of refugees live. During this freeform conversation, our analysts also assess the implications for the principle of asylum and the future for a post-World War II humanitarian protection system that is under threat.

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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.

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Recent Activity

Articles

As host to more immigrants than any other country, the United States has been shaped and reshaped by immigration over the centuries, with the issue at times becoming a flashpoint. This article covers the history of U.S. immigration and the major laws governing immigration, and provides a comprehensive overview of the present-day immigrant population.

Reports
December 2021

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos ha relanzado el Programa de Menores Centroamericanos, que fue creado para ofrecer a ciertos niños que viven en condiciones peligrosas en El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras una forma segura y legal de reunirse con sus padres en los Estados Unidos. Este informe identifica las lecciones aprendidas de la versión anterior del programa y hace recomendaciones sobre cómo fortalecerlo en el futuro.

Reports
December 2021

The U.S. government has relaunched the Central American Minors (CAM) Program, which was created to offer certain children living in dangerous conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras a safe, legal way to join their parents in the United States. This report identifies shortcomings in the earlier version of the program, examines the new one, and makes recommendations for how to strengthen it going forward.

Articles

The Biden administration's court-ordered restart of the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols, known informally as the Remain in Mexico policy, puts it in the awkward position of reviving a program it is simultaneously still trying to end. The Trump-era program forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait out the duration of their U.S. immigration court hearings in Mexico and was only questionably successful at deterring unauthorized arrivals.

Expert Q&A, Audio
November 24, 2021

With migration a dynamic phenomenon in the Americas, the U.S. government increasingly is realizing that migration management should be viewed in a regional context. This requires a new set of policies and ways of engagement with countries in North and Central America, and beyond, as MPI President Andrew Selee discusses with colleague Andrea Tanco in this episode of our World of Migration podcast.

Video, Audio, Webinars
November 9, 2021

One out of four U.S. children has an immigrant parent. On this webinar, speakers explore the intersections between the immigration and child welfare systems, along with promising state and local practices that child welfare agencies can take to improve their responsiveness to the needs of these families and promote the well-being of these children.

Expert Q&A, Audio
November 12, 2021

In this conversation, MPI Senior Fellow and former President Michael Fix speaks with Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt about the fiscal impacts of immigration, the importance of immigrant integration, how a greater focus on credential recognition could allow immigrants to more fully utilize the academic and professional skills they bring with them, and much more.

Articles

More than half of all immigrants in the United States are naturalized citizens. The number of new naturalizations has fluctuated from year to year, hitting a decade-long low in fiscal year 2020, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising processing times. This article provides information on naturalized citizens in the United States, including historical trends and socioeconomic characteristics.

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