E.g., 06/11/2021
E.g., 06/11/2021
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Man fills out immigration paperwork on a clipboard
iStock

The U.S. legal immigration system, last significantly updated by Congress in 1990, is profoundly misaligned with demographic and other realities—resulting in enormous consequences for the country and for its economy. This road map sketches the broad contours of some of the most needed reforms in the legal immigration system, made all the more urgent by U.S. population aging and changing labor market demands.

A health-care provider places a bandage on the injection site of a patient who just received a vaccine.
Lauren Bishop/CDC

The U.S. health-care workforce came under incredible strain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Longer-term trends—including the aging and increasing diversity of the U.S. population, and health-care worker retirement—are also shaping demand for services and the supply of health workers. This issue brief looks at how the skills and expertise of underutilized immigrant and refugee health professionals in the United States can be better leveraged to meet these challenges.

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Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The increase in unaccompanied child arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border in February and March has led to backups and overcrowding at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities ill-suited to house children, in part due to earlier significant reductions in Office of Refugee Resettlement shelter capacity during 2020. This commentary explores preparedness shortfalls and the options the Biden administration has moving forward.

CBP_SanYsidro_smaller
Mani Albrecht/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Biden administration's challenge to dismantle Trump-era barriers to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border is akin to fixing a plane while flying it. This commentary examines actions taken to date and articulates a series of steps that could help establish an effective, humane asylum system that works in tandem with border management goals and efforts to reduce the drivers of migration through regional migration management measures with neighboring countries.

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Bread for the World

The DREAM Act of 2021 could represent one of the narrower legalization measures with better prospects for passage in a narrowly divided Congress. MPI's latest estimates of the DREAMers who could gain conditional and then permanent legal status are offered here, as are the share of DREAMers who feature in another ongoing conversation, around essential workers in the U.S. labor market overall as well as in the health-care sector.

Recent Activity

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Commentaries
August 2017
By  Doris Meissner
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Policy Briefs
August 2017
By  Randy Capps, Michael Fix and Jie Zong
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Policy Briefs
August 2017
By  Philip Martin
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Articles

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Fact Sheets
January 2004
By  Deborah W. Meyers
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Reports
January 2004
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, John J. Audley, Sandra Polaski and Scott Vaughan
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Fact Sheets
January 2004
By  Elizabeth Grieco
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Fact Sheets
October 2003
By  Elizabeth Grieco
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Fact Sheets
September 2003
By  Elizabeth Grieco, Deborah W. Meyers and Kathleen Newland

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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.
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Video
June 24, 2009

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

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
September 2017

By winding down DACA over six months, President Trump may have addressed a short-term political dilemma. But this action ensures debate will rage on in search of a lasting solution, as many in Congress and beyond recognize the loss of work authorization and deportation relief will affect not only DACA recipients and their families, but also employers, universities, and communities alike, as this commentary explores.

Commentaries
August 2017

In this personal tribute, MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner honors Juan Osuna, who died in August 2017 after his recent retirement as Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the nation's immigration court system. "As we at MPI ... contemplate work without his store of knowledge and fundamental human decency readily at hand, we mourn that his was a life cut too short, just as we honor him for a life well lived."

Policy Briefs
August 2017

The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is uncertain, amid skepticism from the Trump administration about its merits and the promise of legal challenge from ten state attorneys general. This issue brief presents a profile of young adults eligible for DACA in terms of their educational attainment and labor force participation, as well as what is at stake should the program be terminated.

Commentaries
August 2017

The RAISE Act endorsed by President Trump would have dramatic effects on family-based immigration to the United States, with disproportionate effects for immigrants from several countries in particular. While much focus has been given to the sponsors' pledge of "merit-based" immigration, the effects on the U.S. employment-based immigration system would be more modest in terms of outcomes, as this commentary explores.

Policy Briefs
August 2017

U.S. agriculture has long relied on foreign-born workers to fill seasonal and labor-intensive jobs. But who are the immigrants who now make up three-fourths of hired workers on U.S. farms? This policy brief sketches a workforce that is aging and less reliant on unauthorized workers—and employers who are increasingly turning to mechanization and the H-2A guestworker program to fill gaps as Mexican migration slows.

Reports
July 2017

Mexico has apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children since 2014 and introduced ambitious reforms to safeguard their rights. Yet the gap between policy and reality is wide: Most are held in adult detention centers rather than child shelters and report never being told of their right to apply for asylum. This report examines the child protection legal framework in Mexico, its implementation, and the gaps between the two.

Articles

Making good on campaign promises to toughen immigration enforcement, the Trump administration has acted swiftly to cast a wider net in the U.S. interior. The actions represent a sea change in enforcement practice, moving from a tight focus on high-priority individuals to an era in which all unauthorized immigrants may be subject to deportation. This article explores the shifts undertaken during President Trump's first six months.

Commentaries
June 2017

Legal analysis of the Supreme Court’s opinion allowing aspects of a controversial Trump administration executive order to take effect has largely focused on the travel ban on certain nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries.  Less noticed was the justices' views with regards to the temporary suspension of the refugee resettlement program. This commentary explores the ruling's possible consequences on refugees.

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