E.g., 06/08/2021
E.g., 06/08/2021
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.

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

Pages

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Policy Briefs
September 2005
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou
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Policy Briefs
August 2005
By  Betsy Cooper and Kevin O'Neil
cover visaReportSecureBorders
Reports
August 2005
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Betsy Cooper and Stephen Yale-Loehr
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Policy Briefs
June 2005
By  Michael Fix, Doris Meissner and Demetrios G. Papademetriou
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Policy Briefs
June 2005
By  David A. Martin
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Reports
June 2005
By  Deborah W. Meyers
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Fact Sheets
June 2005
By  Doris Meissner, Elizabeth Grieco, Kevin Jernegan and Colleen Coffey

Pages

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Video, Audio
June 7, 2010

Briefing and discussion of the release of the latest paper by MPI's Labor Markets Initiative: The Impact of Immigrants in Recession and Economic Expansion.

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Video, Audio
May 25, 2010

A discussion on possible reforms to the immigration adjudication system and the recent report on the topic by the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration.

MI_SecuringHumanMobility
Video, Audio
April 22, 2010

'Securing Human Mobility' book release discussion with Susan Ginsburg, Michael German, Luis Rubio, and Donald M. Kerwin.

MI_AssessingLaborMarketEffects
Video, Audio
April 12, 2010

Public Policy Institute of California researchers Magnus Lofstrom and Laura Hill discuss their research examining the potential labor market outcomes and other possible economic effects of a legalization program.

MI_Mayorkas
Video, Audio
March 22, 2010

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas details his agenda for his agency and discusses top priorities for USCIS.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
February 2018

On paper, the Diversity Visa Program is not set up to bring in the highly skilled; applicants need only a high school diploma (or equivalent) or two years of mid-level work experience. Yet as this commentary explains, the green-card lottery has become a channel for entry of the highly skilled—with half of recipients coming to the United States in recent years having a college degree.

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.

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