E.g., 06/02/2020
E.g., 06/02/2020

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Three health professionals wearing masks in a hospital
Erwin Jacob Miciano/U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

As millions of U.S. workers lose jobs and the health insurance associated with them, Medicaid and similar programs are increasingly important for people seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. Yet many low-income uninsured noncitizens, including green-card holders, are excluded from such programs because of their immigration status, as this fact sheet explores.

CBP officers at the National Targeting Center
Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. government has made important progress in shoring up weaknesses at the nexus of immigration and national security since September 11, 2001. But as new threats emerge and evolve—including public-health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic—the question is whether the post-9/11 system is up to the task of meeting these challenges, as this report explores.

Ryan M. Breeden/U.S. Pacific Fleet

In a time of critical shortages of U.S. health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, retired doctors are being called back to work and medical students are graduating on a fast track. There is another important pool that could be tapped: Immigrants and refugees who have college degrees in health fields but are working in low-skilled jobs or out of work. MPI estimates 263,000 immigrants are experiencing skill underutilization and could be a valuable resource.

A doctor wearing a face mask performing a test
Radio Alfa/Flickr

Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing disproportionate shares of physicians, home health aides, and retail-store pharmacists, for example. They also are over-represented in sectors most immediately devastated by mass layoffs, yet many will have limited access to safety-net systems and to federal relief, as this fact sheet details.

Tacoma Community House

While the Trump administration public-charge rule is likely to vastly reshape legal immigration based on its test to assess if a person might ever use public benefits in the future, the universe of noncitizens who could be denied a green card based on current benefits use is quite small. That's because very few benefit programs are open to noncitizens who do not hold a green card. This commentary offers estimates of who might be affected.

Dipartimento Protezione Civile

Travel bans, border closures, and other migration management tools did not prove effective at blocking COVID-19 from spreading across international borders. Yet as governments have shifted from containment to mitigation with the coronavirus now in community transmission in many countries, these restrictions are a logical part of the policy toolkit in the context of social distancing and restricting all forms of human movement, as this commentary explores.

Recent Activity

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Articles
Commentaries
January 2018
By Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
Reports
January 2018
By Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee
Policy Briefs
December 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Andrew Selee
Commentaries
December 2017
By Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Commentaries
November 2017
By Julia Gelatt and Randy Capps
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Articles

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Reports
July 2009
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Doris Meissner, Marc R. Rosenblum, and Madeleine Sumption
Reports
May 2009
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Doris Meissner, Marc R. Rosenblum, and Madeleine Sumption
Reports
February 2009
By Michael Wishnie, Margot Mendelson , and Shayna Strom
Reports
February 2009
By Doris Meissner and Donald M. Kerwin
Reports
December 2008
By Michael Fix, Doris Meissner, and Randy Capps
Fact Sheets
October 2008
By Aaron Terrazas
Fact Sheets
February 2008
By Claire Bergeron
Policy Briefs
October 2007
By Claire Bergeron , Aaron Terrazas, and Doris Meissner

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Cuban immigrants are afforded a special place in U.S. immigration law, with most able to gain permanent residency after one year in the country. Following a history of surges in maritime migration, more than 1.1 million Cuban immigrants resided in the United States in 2013, accounting for about 3 percent of the total foreign-born population. This article explores key characteristics of Cubans in the United States, including educational attainment, income, and more.

Attention is now squarely focused on the U.S. federal courts where the legal battle over President Obama's executive actions on immigration continues. While congressional efforts to roll back the directives appear to have been put aside, at least temporarily, implementation of the signature deferred action programs announced in November 2014 remains blocked. The administration, however, is moving forward with other aspects of the executive order, as this article explores.

An estimated 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States in 2013, about 13 percent of the total U.S. population, constituting the world's largest foreign-born population. This Spotlight from MPI's Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova offers the most current and sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—including origin, educational attainment, the unauthorized, deportations, and more—in one easy-to-use resource.

President Obama's sweeping executive action to shield as many as 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from deportation is facing tough legal and political challenges. This month's Policy Beat examines the efforts to proceed with implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA despite a lawsuit brought by a coalition of 26 states and staunch opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, radically altering U.S. policy and reshaping the demographic profile of the United States. Examining the foreign policy and domestic concerns leading to the law's enactment, David S. FitzGerald and David Cook-Martín argue that the demise of the national-origins quota system was driven by geopolitical factors.

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Video, Audio
August 7, 2013
MPI experts participate in a video chat shortly after the Migration Policy Institute released an analysis comparing the major provisions of the Senate bill to those of the individual House bills considered to date in House committees. 
Video
August 2, 2013

Testimony of Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate.

Audio
July 16, 2013
At this release event in Washington, DC, co-sponsored by MPI, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and ImmigrationWorks USA, the Chicago Council's independent task force on immigration released its report, U.S. Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform.
Video, Audio
May 6, 2013
A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.
Video, Audio
April 5, 2013

This discussion with Mexico's new Ambassador to the United States focused on changing dynamics in Mexico, and their implications for both Mexico and the U.S.

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Recent Activity

Articles

The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.

Commentaries
January 2018

The White House immigration plan offered as a solution to resolve the fate of DREAMers seeks legal immigration cuts unlike any seen since 1924. In addition to a decrease of up to 40 percent in family-sponsored immigration, the proposal demands vast increases in enforcement and a retrenchment in protections for those seeking humanitarian relief. In exchange, one-sixth of the unauthorized population could gain legal status.

Reports
January 2018

Looking back after one year in office, it is striking how just closely the Trump administration’s actions on immigration have hewed to priorities Donald Trump outlined in an uncommonly detailed policy speech in August 2016. This report revisits those pledges to assess where the administration has made the most and least headway, and what its policy agenda ahead might look like.

Reports
January 2018

As long-simmering passions related to federal immigration policies have come to a full boil, less noted but no less important debates are taking place at state and local levels with regards to policies affecting immigrants and their children. As states are increasingly diverging in their responses, this report examines how some of the key policies and programs that support long-term integration success are faring in this volatile era.

Policy Briefs
December 2017

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, offering a more detailed policy agenda than on any other issue. In the year since the election that propelled the Republican into the White House, how has the Trump administration’s record matched up with the rhetoric? This policy brief examines the executive orders and other changes to existing policy and practice made during 2017.

Commentaries
December 2017

The debate over the future of DACA participants and the passage of legislation to legalize them and a broader cohort of DREAMers features a number of arguments pro and con. Opposition centers in part on the premise of widespread labor market competition between DREAMers and the U.S. born, particularly minorities. But as as this commentary explains, analysis shows that the case is a weak one.

Commentaries
November 2017

Amid growing calls for Congress to pass DREAM Act-type legislation, critics are arguing that legalization would spur vast new "chain migration" because DREAMers could eventually sponsor their relatives for green cards. MPI estimates the numbers who could receive legal permanent residence as a result of sponsorship by DREAMers would be far lower, for a range of reasons explained in this commentary.

Articles

The Trump administration’s announcement that it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan has brought unprecedented attention to the program and its future. Established in 1990, TPS offers work authorization and deportation relief to foreign nationals already in the United States unable to return to countries embroiled in conflict or the effects of a natural disaster. This Policy Beat explores past and current TPS designations and debates surrounding the program.

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