E.g., 06/30/2024
E.g., 06/30/2024
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Engineer holding a laptop outside a power plant
iStock.com/yanguolin

The level of education and training expected of workers in the United States has increased considerably in recent decades, and this trend looks set to continue. This report explores the forces driving this change and how the education levels of immigrant-origin and other workers compare to those likely to be needed in the future U.S. workforce, overall and in key occupational groups.

Image of female worker at the Boqueria market in Barcelona making a crepe
Marcel Crozet/ILO

Spain and the United States both receive their greatest number of immigrants from Latin America, and have worked collaboratively together on displacement crises and other migration issues. As shared immigration challenges dominate debate on both sides of the Atlantic, Spain can serve as a vital bridge in the policy conversation, this commentary notes.

A man in a high-visibility jacket and gloves at work
Aaron Sussell/U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. employment-based visa policies, last updated in 1990, are not aligned with the country’s current and future labor market needs. This policy brief outlines MPI’s proposal for a new visa pathway that could help the United States better leverage immigration to meet its labor market needs, boost protections for both U.S.- and foreign-born workers, and flexibly adapt to future economic and demographic changes.

Inadmissible migrants, some seeking asylum, are processed by CBP officers
Mani Albrecht/CBP

The U.S. humanitarian protection system, known for its long history of assisting those in need, has come under incredible pressure in recent years. The asylum adjudications system, which is under-resourced, is struggling to keep up with record asylum seeker arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines the state of the asylum system, including changes under the Biden administration and potential lessons for other countries.

 A young nurse hugs an elderly patient in a wheelchair
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits in the United States is governed by a complex patchwork of rules that make many groups of noncitizens eligible for some benefits but not others, while other noncitizens are excluded completely. This report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, driver’s licenses, and more.

U.S.-Mexico border fence with Tijuana on the left
Josh Denmark/CBP

Unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a high-profile and politically divisive issue for decades. But as the nature of migration at the border has changed profoundly, U.S. policy responses have struggled to keep up. This report explores the changing nature of migration flows and migration policy at the border from the early 1990s until today, highlighting key lessons for contemporary policy-making.

Recent Activity

Cover image for At the Breaking Point report
Reports
July 2023
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Doris Meissner, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Kathleen Bush-Joseph and Christopher Levesque
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Commentaries
July 2023
By  Kate Hooper, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
People carry a giant Colombian flag at a parade in Washington, DC.
Articles
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a conference in Tampa.
Articles
A refugee family in Phoenix.
Articles
Banderas de las naciones centroamericanas en una marcha en San Diego.
Articles
An abandoned shoe lies in the mud along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Articles

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Fact Sheets
November 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
October 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
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Fact Sheets
October 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova and Miriam Feldblum

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People hold flags of Central American nations at a march in San Diego.

Central Americans comprise less than one-tenth of the overall U.S. foreign-born population, but their numbers have grown tenfold since 1980, amid economic challenges, political crises, and natural disasters in their region. This article provides a comprehensive look at this population.

A border checkpoint between Canada and the United States.

The revised U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement closes what critics call a loophole that incentivizes unauthorized border crossings of asylum seekers. While responding to Canadian concerns of increasing irregular arrivals from the United States, the change—taken in tandem with U.S. moves at the U.S.-Mexico border—suggests that the Biden administration increasingly wants to rely on neighboring countries to respond to rising asylum claims.

An intern examines a newborn baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Nearly 2.8 million immigrants worked in the U.S. health-care sector in 2021, representing disproportionately high shares of physicians, surgeons, and home health aides. This article offers a demographic and socioeconomic profile of foreign-born workers in health care.

The U.S. Supreme Court.

Virtually all major U.S. immigration policy reforms have faced lawsuits in recent years, giving federal judges wide latitude to shape national policy. The situation, which began during the Obama administration and has escalated, is a byproduct of congressional inaction and the emergence of immigration as a political wedge issue. This article tracks the trend, which has added new volatility to the immigration system, and places it in context.

A flag hangs at the vice president's residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

Want to check a fact about U.S. immigration? Interested in putting recent trends into perspective? This article compiles authoritative, up-to-date information about the U.S. immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Data cover immigrants' demographic, educational, and linguistic characteristics; their top states of residence; enforcement activities; refugees and asylum seekers; naturalization trends; visa backlogs; and more.

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Commentaries
September 2018
By  Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix and Jennifer Van Hook
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Commentaries
August 2018
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Doris Meissner
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
Deferred Action Summit
Commentaries
June 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Commentaries
January 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
December 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

Pages

FLICKR BREAD FOR THE WORLD Bread for the World Groups gathered from all across the U.S. to demonstrate support for DACA and DAPA
Video
February 4, 2021

Following President Biden's call on Congress to enact a sweeping immigration proposal that offers most unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship, this discussion examines the prospects for any legislative efforts at immigration reform, what bipartisan support might develop, and the various legalization policy options.

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Video, Audio
November 17, 2020

What does it mean to “secure the homeland” in the 21st century? And how do the Department of Homeland Security's immigration and border security missions figure into the equation? Top security experts assess DHS’s evolution and how it organizes its operations and migration management. They also offer recommendations on how to improve U.S. homeland security.
 

biden campaign 2020
Video, Expert Q&A, Audio
November 9, 2020

What actions might the incoming Biden administration take on immigration, whether to unwind some of the most restrictive Trump policies or advance an affirmative agenda of its own? And what challenges and opportunities will the Biden administration face?

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Video
September 21, 2020

This year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference examines the immigration policy agenda under the Trump administration, including changes in the asylum system; the vast societal upheaval brought on by COVID-19 and the rising racial justice movement; what the future of U.S. immigration may look like; and many other topics related to U.S. immigration policy.

3538597388_8557c53728_c FLICKR Sharon Mollerus Presidential Seal
Video, Audio
September 10, 2020

Top legal scholars discuss the Trump administration’s substantial use of executive power to change the country’s course on immigration, how this compares to past administrations, and how the president’s role in immigration policy could be carefully considered and reimagined.

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Recent Activity

Video, Webinars
July 20, 2023

As the U.S. immigration court system struggles with record case backlogs, decisions take years, immigration enforcement is delayed, and wait times incentivize unauthorized arrivals. This discussion examines the factors that have driven the system to the point of crisis and possible fixes.

Reports
July 2023

With a backlog of nearly 2 million cases, years-long wait times for decisions, and overwhelmed judges whose productivity has declined, the U.S. immigration court system is in urgent need of repair. This report examines the factors that have driven the courts to crisis. It then outlines recommendations that promise to advance the goal of delivering timely and fair decisions, and to support the health of the U.S. immigration system more broadly.

Commentaries
July 2023

Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy is highly unusual for its explicit targeting of visa holders in another country. Opening a dedicated stream specifically for high-skilled immigrants in the United States who hold an H-1B visa is the latest salvo in a growing global competition for talent—one in which some countries are racing ahead of the United States in terms of policy dynamism, as this commentary explores.

Articles

Colombians comprise the largest group of South American immigrants in the United States. More than half live in Florida, New York, or New Jersey. Compared to the overall immigrant population, Colombians are disproportionately likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens and to have obtained a green card through family pathways.

Articles

Renewed U.S. state activism on immigration has echoes of the early 2010s, when Arizona’s SB 1070 defined a Republican-led push to increase enforcement that was ultimately muted by the courts and public backlash. Newer strategies rely on a novel array of tactics including migrant busing, litigation, and lawmaking. States are also moving in opposite directions, with some expanding rights for unauthorized immigrants, as this article details.

Articles

U.S. refugee resettlement is slowly increasing after hitting a historic low, rebounding from the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce humanitarian migration as well as pandemic-era restrictions on movement and processing slowdowns. This article offers recent and historical data about refugees resettled in the United States, as well as asylum seekers and asylees.

Articles

Los centroamericanos representan menos de una décima parte de la población de inmigrantes en Estados Unidos. Pero su número se ha multiplicado por diez desde 1980. Este artículo proporciona una mirada integral a esta población.

Articles

The United States entered a new era with the end of the pandemic-era Title 42 expulsions policy. The government’s hopes of maintaining order at the U.S.-Mexico border post-Title 42 may be complicated by factors including authorities’ limited capacity, ongoing litigation, and cooperation from other countries. This article reviews the Biden administration's changing border policies and possible challenges ahead.

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