E.g., 02/23/2024
E.g., 02/23/2024
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

A man in a high-visibility jacket and gloves at work
Aaron Sussell/U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. employment-based visa policies, last updated in 1990, are not aligned with the country’s current and future labor market needs. This policy brief outlines MPI’s proposal for a new visa pathway that could help the United States better leverage immigration to meet its labor market needs, boost protections for both U.S.- and foreign-born workers, and flexibly adapt to future economic and demographic changes.

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.

Recent Activity

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
A border checkpoint between Canada and the United States.
Articles
An intern examines a newborn baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Articles
The U.S. Supreme Court.
Articles

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Cover for COVID fact sheet on unemployment of immigrant women in U.S.
Fact Sheets
November 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
October 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
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Fact Sheets
October 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova and Miriam Feldblum
Immigration Enforcement and the Mental Health of Latino High School Students
Reports
September 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jodi Berger Cardoso, Kalina Brabeck, Michael Fix and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto

Pages

A migrant scheduled to be deported from the United States is escorted to a charter flight.

Every year, thousands of migrants ordered deported from EU Member States, the United States, and elsewhere are not returned to their origin countries. Why? One reason is the multiple nations that refuse to cooperate on readmitting their nationals abroad. This article explores the motivations behind countries’ lack of cooperation and how deporting states have responded.

A guest takes a photo at a Diwali reception at the White House.

Significant immigration from India to the United States began only after 1965, when the United States dropped national-origin quotas that favored Europeans. Today, Indians make up the nation's second largest foreign-born group. On average, they tend to be very well educated: 80 percent have a college degree and nearly half hold a graduate or professional degree. This article offers a useful sociodemographic profile of the Indian population.

A person walks with luggage in John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Legal immigration to the United States fell to its lowest level in years during the COVID-19 pandemic, but preliminary data suggest it is returning to previous levels, belying predictions that the public-health crisis had allowed the Trump administration to make lasting, deep cuts. Yet the patterns have changed and persistent case processing backlogs could spell long-term problems, as this article explores.

Venezuelan migrants at a reception center in Brazil.

The Biden administration’s policy to expel some Venezuelan border arrivals to Mexico marks a significant reversal. For the first time, the U.S. government is invoking the controversial Title 42 expulsions policy not on public-health grounds but as an explicit immigration enforcement measure. The expulsions are being paired with a new humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelans. This article assesses the policy and the uneven treatment of humanitarian migrants by nationality.

A mariachi band performing in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Mexicans are by far the largest immigrant group in the United States, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all immigrants. However their numbers have been declining and in 2021 there were 1 million fewer than a decade ago. At the same time, despite years in which more new migrants came from China and India, Mexicans once again count as the largest group of new arrivals. This article outlines the changing shape and composition of this immigrant population.

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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Doris Meissner
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
Deferred Action Summit
Commentaries
June 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
WhiteHouse
Commentaries
January 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
_DREAMer
Commentaries
December 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
UndocumentedYouthApplyForDACA
Commentaries
November 2017
By  Julia Gelatt and Randy Capps

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FLICKR BREAD FOR THE WORLD Bread for the World Groups gathered from all across the U.S. to demonstrate support for DACA and DAPA
Video
February 4, 2021

Following President Biden's call on Congress to enact a sweeping immigration proposal that offers most unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship, this discussion examines the prospects for any legislative efforts at immigration reform, what bipartisan support might develop, and the various legalization policy options.

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Video, Audio
November 17, 2020

What does it mean to “secure the homeland” in the 21st century? And how do the Department of Homeland Security's immigration and border security missions figure into the equation? Top security experts assess DHS’s evolution and how it organizes its operations and migration management. They also offer recommendations on how to improve U.S. homeland security.
 

biden campaign 2020
Video, Expert Q&A, Audio
November 9, 2020

What actions might the incoming Biden administration take on immigration, whether to unwind some of the most restrictive Trump policies or advance an affirmative agenda of its own? And what challenges and opportunities will the Biden administration face?

IMAGE   17thLAPC
Video
September 21, 2020

This year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference examines the immigration policy agenda under the Trump administration, including changes in the asylum system; the vast societal upheaval brought on by COVID-19 and the rising racial justice movement; what the future of U.S. immigration may look like; and many other topics related to U.S. immigration policy.

3538597388_8557c53728_c FLICKR Sharon Mollerus Presidential Seal
Video, Audio
September 10, 2020

Top legal scholars discuss the Trump administration’s substantial use of executive power to change the country’s course on immigration, how this compares to past administrations, and how the president’s role in immigration policy could be carefully considered and reimagined.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
May 2023

Amid a potentially dramatic rethink in the U.S. approach to management of migration from the Western Hemisphere, the creation of Regional Processing Centers (now known as Safe Mobility Offices, or SMOs) across Latin America will be central to the post-Title 42 strategy, as this commentary explains.

Commentaries
April 2023

Facing a dramatically different reality arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border with the end of a pandemic-era policy that resulted in more than 3 million expulsions, the Biden administration unveiled a policy vision that marries expanded legal pathways with stiff consequences for those seeking to enter without authorization. The strategy can succeed, but speedier while still fair border asylum decisionmaking must be an essential component, this commentary argues.

Articles

The revised U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement closes what critics call a loophole that incentivizes unauthorized border crossings of asylum seekers. While responding to Canadian concerns of increasing irregular arrivals from the United States, the change—taken in tandem with U.S. moves at the U.S.-Mexico border—suggests that the Biden administration increasingly wants to rely on neighboring countries to respond to rising asylum claims.

Expert Q&A, Audio
April 24, 2023

How are U.S. border operations and policies evolving at the U.S.-Mexico border to address rising and diversifying flows? And what is driving increasing immigration from across Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond? MPI President Andrew Selee speaks with two colleagues who traveled from one end of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary to the other, touring U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and interviewing U.S. and Mexican officials, NGO leaders, and others.

Reports
April 2023

As the number of unaccompanied children entering U.S. communities has increased, many have faced barriers to accessing critical medical and mental health services. This report explores common barriers to care, promising practices for overcoming them, and strategies for strengthening services. It draws on interviews and focus groups with clinicians, social workers, and others working with this population as well as one-time unaccompanied children themselves.

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 11, 2023

Marking the launch of MPI’s Global Skills and Talent Initiative, this webcast features senior policymakers and other experts discussing the extent to which labor market needs should shape future immigration policy decisions, and how countries are adjusting—and could adjust—their immigration systems to meet human capital and competitiveness needs.

Articles

Nearly 2.8 million immigrants worked in the U.S. health-care sector in 2021, representing disproportionately high shares of physicians, surgeons, and home health aides. This article offers a demographic and socioeconomic profile of foreign-born workers in health care.

Articles

Virtually all major U.S. immigration policy reforms have faced lawsuits in recent years, giving federal judges wide latitude to shape national policy. The situation, which began during the Obama administration and has escalated, is a byproduct of congressional inaction and the emergence of immigration as a political wedge issue. This article tracks the trend, which has added new volatility to the immigration system, and places it in context.

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