E.g., 02/20/2024
E.g., 02/20/2024
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Inadmissible migrants, some seeking asylum, are processed by CBP officers
Mani Albrecht/CBP

The U.S. humanitarian protection system, known for its long history of assisting those in need, has come under incredible pressure in recent years. The asylum adjudications system, which is under-resourced, is struggling to keep up with record asylum seeker arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines the state of the asylum system, including changes under the Biden administration and potential lessons for other countries.

 A young nurse hugs an elderly patient in a wheelchair
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits in the United States is governed by a complex patchwork of rules that make many groups of noncitizens eligible for some benefits but not others, while other noncitizens are excluded completely. This report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, driver’s licenses, and more.

U.S.-Mexico border fence with Tijuana on the left
Josh Denmark/CBP

Unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a high-profile and politically divisive issue for decades. But as the nature of migration at the border has changed profoundly, U.S. policy responses have struggled to keep up. This report explores the changing nature of migration flows and migration policy at the border from the early 1990s until today, highlighting key lessons for contemporary policy-making.

CBP officers screen border crossers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry
Jerry Glaser/CBP

All eyes are on the U.S.-Mexico border, where shifting migration trends and record migrant arrivals have stretched the U.S. border management system beyond its capabilities. As the Biden administration continues to implement its new regime of incentives for orderly arrivals and disincentives for unauthorized crossings, this report analyzes the rapidly changing policy and migration realities and outlines recommendations for a more effective, durable system of border control.

Aerial photo of the U.S. Capitol
Architect of the Capitol

The $13.6 billion border emergency supplemental spending bill the Biden administration is seeking lays out the elements for resourcing immigration functions to full capacity across the entire border enforcement system. Without resourcing the system across all its parts, including adjudications and management, no administration, present or future, will be able to effectively manage spontaneous border arrivals, this commentary argues.

CBP personnel process and screen migrants for possible entry into the U.S.
Jaime Rodriguez Sr./CBP

There is a deeper story behind the U.S. government's fiscal 2023 border encounters numbers than that the year marked a new record high. The pivot from the pandemic-era Title 42 expulsions policy and sharp diversification in nationalities have reshaped migrant arrivals unlike any year before. This commentary goes beyond the headlines to focus on the more enduring—and challenging—realities occuring at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Recent Activity

A family of Afghan evacuees leaving Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Articles
Cover image for Outmatched: The U.S. Asylum System Faces Record Demands
Reports
February 2024
By  Kathleen Bush-Joseph
Cover image for Immigrants’ Eligibility for U.S. Public Benefits: A Primer
Reports
January 2024
By  Valerie Lacarte, Julia Gelatt and Ashley Podplesky
Cover image for Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Reports
January 2024
By  Alan D. Bersin, Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh
President Joe Biden signs an executive order.
Articles
A celebration for the Feast of San Gennaro in New York's Little Italy
Articles
Shifting Realities at the U.S.-Mexico Border report
Reports
January 2024
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Doris Meissner

Pages

Cover image for Outmatched: The U.S. Asylum System Faces Record Demands
Reports
February 2024
By  Kathleen Bush-Joseph
Cover image for Immigrants’ Eligibility for U.S. Public Benefits: A Primer
Reports
January 2024
By  Valerie Lacarte, Julia Gelatt and Ashley Podplesky
Cover image for Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Reports
January 2024
By  Alan D. Bersin, Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh
Shifting Realities at the U.S.-Mexico Border report
Reports
January 2024
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Doris Meissner
Cover image for Immigration and Integration in the Ever More Diverse Houston Area
Reports
November 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Michael Fix and Jeanne Batalova
Cover image for Shared Gains
Policy Briefs
October 2023
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for At the Breaking Point report
Reports
July 2023
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Doris Meissner, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Kathleen Bush-Joseph and Christopher Levesque

Pages

A family of Afghan evacuees leaving Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

The Afghan immigrant population in the United States has grown dramatically since 2010, and particularly since the 2021 withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Most Afghans who obtained a green card in recent years have done so through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, reserved for interpreters and other Afghans who worked with the U.S. government. This article offers data on the approximately 195,000 Afghan immigrants in the United States.

President Joe Biden signs an executive order.

In three years, President Joe Biden has surpassed the number of immigration-focused executive actions taken by the Trump administration throughout its entire four-year term, making his the most active U.S. presidency ever on immigration. Yet the Biden administration has been repeatedly accused of inaction at the U.S.-Mexico border, where record levels of migrant encounters have occurred. This article reviews the Biden track record on immigration.

A celebration for the Feast of San Gennaro in New York's Little Italy

One-tenth of all immigrants in the United States come from Europe, a vast decline from the mid-20th century, as migration within Europe has grown and more U.S. immigrants arrive from other destinations. This article provides an overview of contemporary European immigration to the United States, as a region and by top European countries of origin.

Image of USCIS employees at work

The U.S. immigration system is notorious for persistent backlogs and antiquated processes. In recent months, under-the-radar changes have made a dent in the logjam and helped bring the system into the 21st century. But some pandemic-era changes are set to expire, potentially undoing the incremental reforms. This article details the quiet technological and efficiency improvements in U.S. immigration operations.

A Haitian-American book fair in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood

The United States is the world’s top destination for Haitian migrants, who in recent years have fled an array of disasters and crises. Compared to other immigrant groups in the United States, the nearly 731,000 Haitians are more likely to be naturalized citizens, arrive through family-based pathways, and work in the service industry, as this data-rich article details.

Pages

CBP personnel process and screen migrants for possible entry into the U.S.
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
A Haitian child looks over his mother's shoulder in Panama
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte
Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a DACA roundtable
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Jennifer Van Hook, Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
President Biden meets with DACA recipients
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Julia Gelatt
Graphic image of man's hand touching screen with word skills
Commentaries
July 2023
By  Kate Hooper, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
Photo of CBP One App poster at shelter in Reynosa, Mexico
Commentaries
April 2023
By  Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh
CBP agents process asylum seeker at El Paso, Texas port of entry
Commentaries
March 2023
By  Doris Meissner

Pages

Explainer IllegalImmigration Art
Explainers
April 2019

How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.

Explainer_LegalImmigrationSystem Legal Immigration Pie_small
Explainers
April 2019

Through which visa categories can immigrants move temporarily or permanently to the United States? What are the main channels by which people come, and who can sponsor them for a green card? Are there limits on visa categories? And who is waiting in the green-card backlog? This explainer answers basic questions about temporary and permanent immigration via family, employment, humanitarian, and other channels.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken meets with recently resettled Afghans and with staff members and volunteers from local refugee resettlement agencies
Video, Audio
November 30, 2023

Coordination and communication among key stakeholders in the resettlement network have never been more critical. This conversation focuses on how consultation supports capacity building and where it can, at times, fall short.

WoM-podcast-episode-tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
September 26, 2023

How is refugee resettlement evolving? As more countries turn to private or community sponsorship, MPI speaks with Erin Schutte Wadzinski, who leads one of the pioneering private sponsorship groups in Worthington, Minnesota, under the Welcome Corps initiative.

2023 Immigration Law and Policy Conference
Video
September 18, 2023

The 20th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by MPI, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, features fresh, thoughtful policy and legal analysis, and discussion of some of the top immigration issues by leading government officials, attorneys, researchers, advocates, and other experts. 

Image of gavel resting on U.S. flag
Video
July 20, 2023

As the U.S. immigration court system struggles with record case backlogs, decisions take years, immigration enforcement is delayed, and wait times incentivize unauthorized arrivals. This discussion examines the factors that have driven the system to the point of crisis and possible fixes.

Expert Q&A, Audio
May 23, 2023

MPI's Lawrence Huang discusses COVID-19 mobility restrictions in China and the Asia Pacific—and what this all means for future public health crises—with Dr. Karen Grépin, a health policy professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Pages

Recent Activity

Articles

The Afghan immigrant population in the United States has grown dramatically since 2010, and particularly since the 2021 withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Most Afghans who obtained a green card in recent years have done so through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, reserved for interpreters and other Afghans who worked with the U.S. government. This article offers data on the approximately 195,000 Afghan immigrants in the United States.

Reports
February 2024

The U.S. humanitarian protection system, known for its long history of assisting those in need, has come under incredible pressure in recent years. The asylum adjudications system, which is under-resourced, is struggling to keep up with record asylum seeker arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines the state of the asylum system, including changes under the Biden administration and potential lessons for other countries.

Reports
January 2024

Immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits in the United States is governed by a complex patchwork of rules that make many groups of noncitizens eligible for some benefits but not others, while other noncitizens are excluded completely. This report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, driver’s licenses, and more.

Reports
January 2024

Unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a high-profile and politically divisive issue for decades. But as the nature of migration at the border has changed profoundly, U.S. policy responses have struggled to keep up. This report explores the changing nature of migration flows and migration policy at the border from the early 1990s until today, highlighting key lessons for contemporary policy-making.

Articles

In three years, President Joe Biden has surpassed the number of immigration-focused executive actions taken by the Trump administration throughout its entire four-year term, making his the most active U.S. presidency ever on immigration. Yet the Biden administration has been repeatedly accused of inaction at the U.S.-Mexico border, where record levels of migrant encounters have occurred. This article reviews the Biden track record on immigration.

Articles

One-tenth of all immigrants in the United States come from Europe, a vast decline from the mid-20th century, as migration within Europe has grown and more U.S. immigrants arrive from other destinations. This article provides an overview of contemporary European immigration to the United States, as a region and by top European countries of origin.

Reports
January 2024

All eyes are on the U.S.-Mexico border, where shifting migration trends and record migrant arrivals have stretched the U.S. border management system beyond its capabilities. As the Biden administration continues to implement its new regime of incentives for orderly arrivals and disincentives for unauthorized crossings, this report analyzes the rapidly changing policy and migration realities and outlines recommendations for a more effective, durable system of border control.

Video, Audio, Webinars
November 30, 2023

Coordination and communication among key stakeholders in the resettlement network have never been more critical. This conversation focuses on how consultation supports capacity building and where it can, at times, fall short. The discussion also focuses on key recommendations from a report, The Unmet Potential of Community Consultations in U.S. Refugee Resettlement, and actionable steps toward a more inclusive, collaborative, and adaptable consultation process.

Pages