E.g., 11/29/2022
E.g., 11/29/2022
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

Articles
An Afghan man speaks to an interpeter working with the U.S. Marine Corps.
A woman holding an Iranian flag at sunset.
Articles
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
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a political event in Arizona.
Articles

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Policy Briefs
March 2018
By  Sarah Pierce and Julia Gelatt
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Reports
January 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee
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Policy Briefs
December 2017
By  Sarah Pierce and Andrew Selee
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Fact Sheets
November 2017
By  Jie Zong, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jeanne Batalova, Julia Gelatt and Randy Capps
Cover_Differing DREAM FS October2017
Fact Sheets
October 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Sarah Pierce and Randy Capps
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Fact Sheets
October 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Michelle Mittelstadt

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President Joe Biden signs executive orders on immigration in the White House.

President Joe Biden has grand ambitions to reshape the U.S. immigration system, but his administration has run into early stumbling blocks in rolling back the strict enforcement regime of his predecessor. Administrative resistance, a tangled web of legal agreements signed by the Trump administration, and anxieties about a possible uptick in immigrants and asylum seekers at the border have posed early challenges to Biden’s agenda.

statistics us immigration immigrants data

Have a question about U.S. immigration trends and the country's immigrant population? This article collects in one place the most sought-after information about the world's largest immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Drawing from a wide array of authoritative data sources, this article provides an up-to-date snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and information on emerging trends, including slowing immigration and changing origins.

Joe Biden attends a pre-election event in Nevada.

The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.

International students wave flags of their origin countries

For the first time in a decade, fewer international students were studying in the United States during the 2019-20 school year than the year before. This decline, brought about in part by changing U.S. policy, has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article profiles the international student population in the United States, including their origins and fields of study.

trump effect immigration

Despite a widespread perception that the Trump administration has drastically slashed legal immigration to the United States, a review of the data shows that temporary and permanent admissions during the period mostly followed previous trends—at least until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This article examines trends in temporary, permanent, and humanitarian admissions during the administration, and the related policies that could take a more significant bite ahead if left unchanged.

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Video, Audio
September 27, 2018

Speakers, including report authors, discuss the findings from an MPI report that analyzes the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to a crisis point. During the discussion, the authors propose common-sense steps that can be implemented now to jump-start the system's rescue.

EVENT PHOTO 2018.9.5 CORCHADO event
Video
September 5, 2018

A book discussion with author and veteran journalist Alfredo Corchado, MPI President Andrew Selee, and other experts on the nature of U.S.-Mexico immigration and the role of Mexican immigrants in the United States.

ICE ERO in Chicago   flickr
Video, Audio
July 12, 2018

Experts on this Spanish language webinar examine the operation of today’s interior immigration enforcement system and how state and local governments, civil society, and consulates are responding.    

FLICKR   Duane Reade food Stamps Benefits   419429614_f6c6bd7152_z
Video, Audio
June 12, 2018

This webinar highlights findings from an MPI report examining the potential impacts of expected changes to the public charge rule by the Trump administration. Leaked draft versions suggest the rule could sharply expand the number of legally present noncitizens facing difficulty getting a green card or extending a visa as a result of their family's use of public benefits. The rule likely would discourage millions from accessing health, nutrition, and social services for which they or their U.S.-citizen dependents are eligible.

Event PH 2018.6.5 Andrew Selee
Video, Audio
June 5, 2018

Marking the release of MPI President Andrew Selee's latest book, speakers explore emerging trends in migration, economic interdependence, technology innovation, and cultural exchange that are transforming the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the policy implications

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
August 2021

The Biden administration’s proposed asylum processing rule represents a fundamental retooling of the asylum system that preserves asylum as a bedrock element of the U.S. immigration system while also recognizing that a secure border and deterring unlawful crossings are legitimate and necessary attributes of an effective, credible immigration system, as this commentary explains.

Articles

The number of Central American immigrants in the United States has grown dramatically, amid political corruption, violence, and natural disasters in their native countries. But recent images of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border do not tell the whole story, with more than half the population arriving in 2000 or earlier. This article offers key data on the 3.8 million Central American immigrants in the United States.

Articles

The U.S. government is racing to speed up the evacuation and immigration of Afghan translators and others who provided assistance during the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The eleventh-hour moves are a response to long delays and backlogs that have plagued the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program since it was unveiled more than a decade ago. This article provides an overview of the SIV program and the rush to evacuate Afghan allies.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. The discussion also explored efforts by philanthropic, state, and local actors to address the needs of this population and their communities, what service gaps exist, and key recommendations to improve access to services.

Articles

The United States is home to the largest population of Iranian migrants in the world. More than half of Iranian immigrants in the United States live in California. This article explores key details of this immigrant population, which is older, more highly educated, and has significantly higher median household incomes than the U.S.-born and overall immigrant populations.

Policy Briefs
June 2021

Immigrant workers have been hit hard by the pandemic-related economic crisis across the United States and in many states with the largest immigrant populations. This issue brief examines how workers in different states and different industries have fared, looking at how employment trends have been shaped by state-level factors such as the length and timing of stay-at-home orders and definitions of who is an “essential” worker.

Articles

Texas seems set to become chief antagonist to President Joe Biden’s immigration agenda. This article explores Governor Greg Abbott's plans to build new barriers along the border, use state and local law enforcement to carry out arrests of unauthorized immigrants, and strip licensing from federally contracted shelters housing unaccompanied children.

Audio, Webinars
June 24, 2021

During this webcast, experts discuss findings from a report examining at U.S. and state levels the underemployment of college graduates by nativity and by race and ethnicity, in the process revealing patterns of economic inequality. The conversation includes immigrant and employer voices who explore the promising strategies that exist to mitigate this brain waste for the benefit of the U.S. economy, local communities, and the workers themselves.

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