E.g., 10/19/2021
E.g., 10/19/2021
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

A family with Congolese, Angolan, and Brazilian members arriving in Panama after crossing the Darien Gap
© UNICEF/William Urdaneta

The number of African migrants traveling through South and Central America in hopes of reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, many seeking asylum, is small but increasing. This report examines the factors driving African migration through the Americas, common routes and challenges, and how transit countries are responding.

The U.S. and DHS flags
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Nearly two decades since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was founded in 2003, U.S. immigration governance is buckling from breakdowns in performance across key immigration components and partner agencies. This report advances ideas for DHS to fix its governance to manage immigration as a system, focusing on challenges in mission and structure, intra-DHS and interdepartmental collaboration, funding, and institutional culture.

A man working at a lumber warehouse
iStock.com/Juanmonino

Immigrants, who lost jobs at a much higher rate than U.S.-born workers early in the COVID-19 pandemic, have since seen their unemployment rate drop below that of the U.S. born. Still, they are not well poised to take advantage of the economic recovery. This issue brief examines the extent of job losses and employment shifts for U.S. workers from mid-2019 to mid-2021, with trends broken down by nativity, gender, industry, and geographic region.

Immigrants in an outdoor space at Eloy Federal Contract Facility
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The U.S. immigration detention system is sprawling, expensive, and has long been criticized for its prisonlike conditions and health risks. The pandemic has brought these risks into even sharper focus. This report examines detention’s role in the U.S. immigration enforcement system and proposes a different approach centered on release with supervision and case management—tools that are less costly, more humane, and ensure compliance with immigration proceedings.

Jaime Rodriguez Sr./U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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.

Receptionist wearing personal protective equipment while interacting with a customer
iStock.com/Mustafa Gull

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.

Recent Activity

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cover ExecAction
Reports
March 2011
By  Donald M. Kerwin, Doris Meissner and Margie McHugh
cover Everifyreform
Policy Briefs
February 2011
By  Marc R. Rosenblum
cover earnedlegalization
Policy Briefs
January 2011
By  Marc R. Rosenblum, Randy Capps and Serena Yi-Ying Lin
cover 287g
Reports
January 2011
By  Randy Capps, Marc R. Rosenblum, Muzaffar Chishti and Cristina Rodríguez
cover MorethanIRCA
Policy Briefs
December 2010
By  Donald M. Kerwin

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SB1070Rally JacobRuff Flickr

Over the past decade, state and local policymakers have increasingly stepped into the void left by Washington over legislative reform of the immigration system and have enacted their own policies, particularly in regard to illegal immigration. This article explores this trend of increased activism and examines whether restrictive state immigration laws have had an effect on the size of immigrant populations at the state level.

HaitiansRoad MarionDoss Flickr

In the wake of a hurricane that has once again devastated Haiti, the United States quickly reversed its toughened policy toward the thousands of Haitian nationals arriving at the California-Mexico border without prior authorization. This Policy Beat examines the shifts in U.S. admission and deportation policy toward Haitian migrants since the 2010 earthquake, and other national and state developments on immigration.

MilitaryImmigrants SgtRandallAClinton MarineCorps

Approximately 511,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.8 million veterans nationwide. This Spotlight article offers key information on the population of immigrant veterans in the United States, focusing on its size, top countries of origin, racial and ethnic composition, and socioeconomic characteristics.

BorderWall BBCWorldService Flickr

Over the past several decades, in response to the uptick in spontaneous migration flows, there has been a surge in construction of border walls and fences. This trend begs several questions: Why now? Did border walls work in the past? Do they work today? This article examines the history of border barriers and assesses how effective they are at deterring unauthorized migration.

SyrianFamily MohamedAzakir WorldBank

With weeks to spare, the Obama administration met its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September 2016, and announced plans to increase the overall refugee ceiling to 110,000 in fiscal 2017. However, opposition continues to mount in Congress, statehouses, and on the campaign trail, with Republicans citing security concerns in calling for lower numbers or additional screening, as this article explores.

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EventPH 2014.8.6 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) at Two
Audio
August 6, 2014

This webinar covers key findings from MPI's report about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and eligible populations two years after its implementation, and also introduces MPI's data tool that provides national and state-level estimates of the current and potentially eligible DACA populations, as well as detailed profiles for the U.S. and 25 states.

UAC Webinar Train UNHCR
Audio
June 25, 2014

The flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States has surged 90 percent since last year, with government officials predicting that it might reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September—and perhaps 130,000 next year. This telebriefing discusses factors behind the flows as well as short- and longer-term policy options for improving how the U.S. immigration system interacts with this population with distinct needs.

EventPH 2014.06.24 Detained or Deported
Video, Audio
June 24, 2014

This MPI panel discussion focuses on a toolkit by the Women's Refugee Commission to provide detained and deported immigrants as well as unauthorized immigrant mothers and fathers with crucial information to protect and maintain their parental rights and make well-informed decisions regarding the care and welfare of their children.

EventPH 2014.4.29 The Deportation Story 3
Video, Audio
April 29, 2014

This MPI panel discussion examines the U.S. deportation system with analysis on migrant apprehensions, removals, returns, and criminal prosecutions, and launches the report, "The Deportation Dilemma: Reconciling Tough and Humane Enforcement."

EventPH 2014.03.20 Children on the Run An Analysis of First Hand Accounts from Children Fleeing Central America
Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Approximately 11,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, putting this year on track to exceed 2014's surge. As the U.S. government struggles to care for these child migrants, with public outrage mounting over reports of unsafe, filthy conditions in initial Border Patrol custody, the failure of the executive branch and Congress to plan for increased shelter and care demands are increasingly apparent, as this article explores.

Video, Audio
June 26, 2019

This discussion on the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) showcases MPI Fellow Charles Kamasaki's book, Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die. Kamasaki is joined by other veterans of the IRCA debate for a conversation on the lessons, the intended and unintended consequences, and how the law’s legacy has shaped contemporary politics on immigration.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

Articles

The United States has historically been the top country for refugee resettlement, but was surpassed in 2018 by Canada amid record cuts to admissions by the Trump administration. Approximately 22,500 refugees were resettled in the United States during fiscal year 2018, as well as 26,500 asylees. This article examines where these newcomers came from and many other characteristics, including religious affiliation, age, and gender.

Articles

The Trump administration’s plan to create a "merit-based" U.S. immigration system, lessening the longstanding focus on family reunification in favor of more economic migrants, has met with a lackluster response from Democrats and Republicans alike. This Policy Beat article explores how the Trump proposal would reshape immigration to the United States, and how it compares to selection systems in other countries and past debates about changing the U.S. system.

Policy Briefs
May 2019

Noncitizens have long served in the U.S. military, often encouraged by the promise of a fast track to U.S. citizenship. In recent years, however, Congress and the Defense Department have made it more difficult for noncitizens to enlist. This brief give context to these policy changes and explores ways the military could better balance concerns about national security and the need for recruits with key cultural and professional skills.

Video, Audio
May 17, 2019

With the U.S. administration calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, this conversation focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change.

Articles

Approximately 530,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2018, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.6 million veterans nationwide. Immigrant veterans tend to have higher education levels and household incomes compared to native-born veterans, and the vast majority are naturalized citizens, as this data-rich article explores.

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