E.g., 08/08/2020
E.g., 08/08/2020

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

President Trump emerges from the White House to deliver remarks
Delano Scott/White House

Now into its fourth year, the Trump administration has reshaped the U.S. immigration system in ways big and small via presidential proclamations, policy guidance, and regulatory change. This report offers a catalog of the more than 400 administrative changes undertaken in areas such as immigration enforcement, humanitarian admissions, DACA, and visa processing—including a look at measures put in places since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Census Bureau

The Trump administration's plan to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the 2020 Census data used to reapportion 435 congressional seats among the 50 states could misclassify as many as 20 million U.S. citizens, as the result of expected data-matching errors. The effects of this exclusion could be most pronounced in low-income urban and rural communities, reducing their voting power relative to more affluent ones, as this commentary explains.

Dr.Farouk/Wikimedia

Across the United States, the skills of an estimated 263,000 immigrants and refugees with health-related degrees are going underutilized during a time of pandemic, with these health professionals either in low-skilled jobs or out of work. This fact sheet offers the first-ever state profiles of this population, including the states in which they live, the languages they speak, their fields of study, and legal statuses.

Immigrants at a U.S. naturalization ceremony
Jetta Disco/DHS

For the 9 million immigrants eligible to become U.S. citizens, changed naturalization adjudication practices and an agency mission shift undertaken by the Trump administration appear to be posing new hurdles. This report analyzes a survey of naturalization assistance providers from across the country, examining changes in how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services interviews applicants, conducts the English and civics tests, requests additional evidence, and more.

Gulbenk/Wikimedia Commons

Citing coronavirus-related disruptions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services urged Congress to provide $1.2 billion to address its severe budget shortfall. Without this emergency infusion, the agency warned it might have to furlough up to 80 percent of its staff by mid-July 2020. Yet a deeper look at USCIS operations shows it was facing serious budget problems long before the pandemic—ones that are the logical results of actions undertaken by the Trump administration.

INM officials at the Mexico-US border
Mexican National Institute of Migration
The migration cooperation agreement signed by the Mexican and U.S. governments in June 2019 ushered in an intense period of policy change in Mexico, with effects at their shared border. One year on, this brief takes stock of changes in Mexico’s immigration enforcement and asylum systems. It also explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the border and highlights opportunities for future policy development.

Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
February 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
Commentaries
January 2017
By Kathleen Newland and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
Articles
Articles

Pages

Reports
July 2004
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kevin O'Neil, and Maia Jachimowicz
Fact Sheets
May 2004
By Elizabeth Grieco
Fact Sheets
January 2004
By Deborah W. Meyers
Reports
January 2004
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, John J. Audley, Sandra Polaski, and Scott Vaughan

Pages

Video, Audio
December 2, 2009

Illegal immigration's overall impact on the U.S. economy is negligible, despite clear benefits for employers and unauthorized immigrants and slightly depressed wages for low-skilled native workers, according to UCSD Professor of Economics Gordon Hanson.

Video
September 10, 2009
A panel discussion exploring whether ICE is capable of meeting legal standards and manage its detention system with ICE's Dora Schriro, Detention Watch Network's Andrea Black, and MPI expert Donald Kerwin.
Audio
July 30, 2009

A webinar that examines the E-Verify system, with report co-author Marc R. Rosenblum, MPI Senior Policy Analyst.

Video
July 20, 2009
This discussion focuses on E-Verify, the federal government's electronic employment verification system, and the release of an MPI report that assesses the program's strengths and weaknesses.
Video
June 24, 2009

This conference offers law and policy analysis and discussion on cutting-edge immigration issues.

Pages

Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
February 2017

This brief examines key provisions of President Trump's recent executive order suspending travel from certain majority-Muslim countries and pausing the U.S. refugee resettlement program, comparing them to current and earlier policy and practice. Presented in an easy-to-use side-by-side chart, the brief gives context to the executive order, which has drawn major scrutiny.

Commentaries
February 2017

A draft executive order apparently under consideration by the Trump administration could have widespread chilling effects for legal immigrants—both those already in the United States as well as prospective ones who seek to reunify with U.S. relatives. It proposes restricting green cards for low-income immigrants and making legal permanent residents more vulnerable to deportation if they use federal means-tested public benefits.

Commentaries
January 2017

The executive order halting the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and cutting refugee placements has identified a singularly unsuitable target. None of the more than 3 million refugees who have entered the United States through the resettlement program has killed anyone in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Singling out refugees is a classic case of blaming the victim and will not make America safer, as this commentary explores.

Video, Audio
January 27, 2017

As the Trump administration assumes office and the DACA program faces an uncertain future, University of California President Janet Napolitano; Donald Graham, cofounder of TheDream.Us; and Ike Brannon, Visiting Fellow at the CATO Institute join MPI's Doris Meissner for a discussion on the possible impacts of rescinding DACA, particularly in the areas of higher education, philanthropy, and the economy.  

Articles

President Obama faced criticism over his administration's handling of immigration enforcement from both the left and the right, labeled "deporter in chief" even as he was also accused of lax enforcement. A closer examination of his administration's record paints a more nuanced picture. This article explores how immigration enforcement practices shifted to achieve two key goals over the course of the Obama era.

Commentaries
January 2017

The Obama administration has taken a bold action to end the decades-old "wet foot, dry foot" policies that have for too long drawn Cubans to the United States in dangerous ways and sizeable numbers. The time has come when building a more normal U.S.-Cuba relationship must include updating migration and immigration policies to reflect today's realities, as this commentary by MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner explains.

Articles

More than 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Nearly half of Syrian refugees are under age 14, and this population is more dispersed geographically across the country than the overall Syrian immigrant population. This article offers a demographic profile of Syrian refugees, including age, gender, language, and religion, as well as top state and city destinations.

Video, Audio
December 7, 2016

A presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of brain waste for highly skilled immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. The researchers discuss their findings in terms of the billions of dollars in forgone earnings and unrealized taxes when college-educated immigrants are relegated to low-skilled work.

Pages