E.g., 12/03/2022
E.g., 12/03/2022
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

A crowd of people outside a food pantry
iStock.com/Massimo Giachetti

Immigrants in the United States experience strong economic mobility overall. But for some, limited educational attainment and English proficiency, and the challenges of restarting life in a new country, can result in low incomes and economic hardship. This fact sheet looks at the origins, states of residence, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and employment of low-income immigrants.

Photo of individuals re-entering Mexico after U.S. expulsion
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Headlines focusing on the record-breaking nature of the 2.4 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 overlook the much bigger story: Migrant and asylum seeker flows have rapidly diversified beyond Mexico and northern Central America and as a result, U.S. enforcement policies are misaligned. Today's reality sharply underscores the need for new regional approaches, this commentary argues.

A young woman operating an industrial drilling machine
iStock.com/Omar Osman

As the United States seeks to adapt to trends such as technological change and aging that are reshaping the labor market, increasing productivity and the number of high-skilled workers will be critical. This issue brief explores the characteristics of the 115 million adults without postsecondary credentials, 21 percent of them immigrant, as well as the prospects for credential acquisition for foreign-born subgroups.

Aerial views of Worthington, MN, and Houston, TX
iStock.com/Jacob Boomsma & iStock.com/simonkr

U.S. cities and towns have responded to COVID-19 in ways that are as diverse as the communities they aim to support. This report looks at how two very different locations—Worthington, MN, and the greater Houston area—incorporated immigrants into their relief efforts, through partnerships, strategic outreach, targeted assistance, and more. The report also highlights useful lessons for responses to future emergencies.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other leaders at the 2022 Summit of the Americas
Freddie Everett/State Department

The Los Angeles Agreement on Migration and Protection signed by leaders from 20 countries across the Western Hemisphere at the 2022 Summit of the Americas marks a significant step forward in creating a common language and a coherent set of ideas for more cooperatively managing migration movements across a region that has seen very significant mobility in recent years, as this commentary explains.

Three health-care workers wearing blue protective masks and gowns
iStock/Juanmonino

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic recession have affected the lives of all U.S. residents, but immigrants have been among the hardest hit, with evidence of disproportionately high rates of death as well as a particularly high spike in unemployment. This report takes a look back at how the COVID-19 crisis has affected U.S. immigration policies and levels and the country’s immigrant communities.

Recent Activity

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Reports
August 2019
By  Randy Capps, Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
Coverthumb MPI Noncitizens Military
Policy Briefs
May 2019
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Austin Rose and Stephen Yale-Loehr
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Fact Sheets
May 2019
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Andrew Selee
Coverthumb MPI ImmigrationIssues2019
Reports
May 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Julia Gelatt
Coverthumb UnauthorizedImmigrant HS Graduates FactSheet
Fact Sheets
April 2019
By  Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova
Coverthumb ImmigrantFamiliesChildWelfare
Reports
April 2019
By  Mark Greenberg, Randy Capps, Andrew Kalweit, Jennifer Grishkin and Ann Flagg
Coverthumb MPIPostsecondaryCredentials FactSheet
Fact Sheets
March 2019
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

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A U.S. Customs agent looks at wreckage following the 9/11 terror attacks

After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 the U.S. immigration system was retooled to have a strong national security focus. This restructuring had dramatic effects on government operations and resource allocations, not to mention on the lives of immigrants and the U.S. born alike. Twenty years on from 9/11, this article examines the changes put in place or accelerated as a result of the attacks.

Niños nicaragüenses en la escuela sosteniendo la bandera de su país.

El número de inmigrantes centroamericanos en los Estados Unidos ha crecido dramáticamente. Pero las imágenes recientes de centroamericanos que llegan a la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México no cuentan toda la historia. Más de la mitad de la población llegó en 2000 o antes. Este artículo ofrece datos clave sobre los 3.8 millones de inmigrantes centroamericanos en Estados Unidos.

An Afghan refugee in the United States.

The dramatic evacuation from Afghanistan may bring more than 50,000 new Afghan immigrants to the United States, according to government predictions. These new arrivals would join a small but growing population of Afghans in the United States, most of whom have arrived since 2010. This article provides insights into this immigrant group, many of whom arrived on the Special Immigrant Visa.

La gente lleva la bandera de la República Dominicana en un desfile en Washington, DC.

Los inmigrantes de la República Dominicana son el cuarto grupo de inmigrantes hispanos más grande de los Estados Unidos y suman casi 1.2 millones de personas. Esta población se ha multiplicado casi por diez desde 1960, pero sigue concentrada principalmente en unas pocas áreas metropolitanas. Este artículo proporciona una descripción general de los inmigrantes dominicanos en los Estados Unidos.

The number of Central American immigrants in the United States has grown dramatically, amid political corruption, violence, and natural disasters in their native countries. But recent images of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border do not tell the whole story, with more than half the population arriving in 2000 or earlier. This article offers key data on the 3.8 million Central American immigrants in the United States.

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Commentaries
November 2016
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Commentaries
October 2015
By  Kathleen Newland
Constitution
Commentaries
August 2015
By  Michael Fix
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Commentaries
April 2014
By  Marc R. Rosenblum and Doris Meissner

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flickr Seattle OIRA August 2015 Ready to Work Graduation Celebration Credit Nate Gowdy Photography
Video, Audio
January 23, 2020

On this webinar, experts and state refugee resettlement program leaders discuss activities that can be key parts of a broader strategy for sustaining and improving employment services for refugees, including partnerships with experts in workforce development strategies, access to federal workforce development funding, and other policies and resources.

EVENT PHOTO 2019.10.7.2 Law and Policy Conference
Video, Audio
October 7, 2019

With immigration a central plank of the Trump administration, the 16th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, held in October 2019, featured analysis by top experts regarding changing policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, narrowing of asylum, cooperation with migrant-transit countries, and actions that could reduce legal immigration, including revisions to the public-charge rule.

Cecilia Munoz and Carlos Gutierrez
Video, Audio
August 12, 2019

This discussion marked the launch of MPI's Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy Initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration should play in America’s future, as well as to build a bipartisan center so needed reforms can be enacted.

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Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

EVENTPHOTO2019.6.25 CharlesKamasaki DorisMeissner
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.

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Recent Activity

Articles

More than half of all immigrants in the United States are naturalized citizens. The number of new naturalizations has fluctuated from year to year, hitting a decade-long low in fiscal year 2020, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising processing times. This article provides information on naturalized citizens in the United States, including historical trends and socioeconomic characteristics.

Video
November 8, 2021

As MPI celebrates two decades of providing essential research, policy analysis, and data on important immigration and immigrant integration issues, hear from members of the MPI community about what the institute has meant to them and how it has evolved.

Policy Briefs
November 2021

Es cada vez más claro que Estados Unidos, México y los países de origen de migrantes en Centroamérica tendrán que trabajar juntos para abordar el gran movimiento irregular de personas a través de la región. Este informe propone que además de mejorar la protección humanitaria para quienes la necesitan, ampliar las oportunidades legales para acceder a un empleo en el extranjero es otra parte de la ecuación.

Policy Briefs
November 2021

There is increasing recognition that the United States, Mexico, and migrant-origin countries in Central America will need to work together to address the large-scale, irregular movement of people through the region. While it is critical to improve humanitarian protection for those in need, expanding legal opportunities to take up employment abroad is another part of this equation, as this policy brief explores.

Commentaries
November 2021

The number of U.S. adults who could benefit from efforts to boost postsecondary credential attainment is strikingly large. Nearly 96 million working-age adults lack a postsecondary credential, 28 million of them of immigrant origin, MPI estimates. This commentary examines how enabling immigrant-origin adults to attain credentials beyond a high school diploma is vital to both building a skilled workforce and closing equity gaps.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 29, 2021

The architecture of the U.S. legal immigration system rests on a 1965 law and was last significantly updated in 1990. While there is widespread agreement that the existing framework does not align with the needs and realities of the 21st century, Congress has proven unable to enact significant legislative reform over the past two decades. How have debates on immigration changed and is achieving bipartisan consensus on this highly charged issue possible today?

Articles

U.S. immigration arrests have declined to the lowest level in years. Going forward, new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines could further shape how authorities arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants and noncitizens who have committed crimes. This article describes how the Biden administration prosecutorial discretion guidance marks a sharp turn from the approach taken by the Trump administration.

Commentaries
October 2021

While there were more encounters of migrants seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization during fiscal 2021 than any prior year, this does not necessarily mean that more migrants were intercepted or illicitly entered the country than was the case 21 years ago, a new commentary explains.

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