E.g., 02/03/2023
E.g., 02/03/2023
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Tia Dufour/DHS

At his term's midpoint, President Joe Biden has relied on executive action to advance his immigration agenda more than his predecessors, including Donald Trump. Yet many of the changes to interior enforcement, humanitarian protection, and other areas have been overshadowed by the record pace of arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has presented the administration with major policy and operational challenges.

An FDA researcher stores stem cell samples for analysis
Michael J. Ermarth/FDA

College-educated immigrants are more likely to have advanced degrees than their U.S.-born peers with college degrees. But their educational levels have not always translated into similar occupational gains: They are more likely to be overeducated for their positions. Drawing on PIAAC data, this fact sheet sketches educational characteristics, monthly earnings, skill underutilization, and job quality for immigrant and U.S.-born college graduates alike.

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.

Recent Activity

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Reports
September 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Claudia Masferrer
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Reports
September 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Claudia Masferrer
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Articles
HonduranPride
Articles
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Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny and Stephanie Gullo
Coverthumb MPI Holzer Future US Labor Market
Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Harry J. Holzer
SNAP commentary USDA Flickr
Commentaries
August 2019
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg

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Reports
September 2006
By  Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Michael Fix
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Reports
September 2006
By  Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Michael Fix
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Reports
September 2006
By  Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Michael Fix
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Policy Briefs
August 2006
By  Julie Murray, Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
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Policy Briefs
July 2006
By  Michael Fix and Neeraj Kaushal
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Policy Briefs
July 2006
By  David A. Martin
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Policy Briefs
July 2006
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and B. Lindsay Lowell

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SyriansDallas CNeukum IRC

More than 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Nearly half of Syrian refugees are under age 14, and this population is more dispersed geographically across the country than the overall Syrian immigrant population. This article offers a demographic profile of Syrian refugees, including age, gender, language, and religion, as well as top state and city destinations.

TrumpPhoenix GageSkidmore Flickr

Donald Trump has made a series of postelection statements suggesting he may backtrack on several campaign pledges on immigration, including building a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Still, his choice of top advisors points to a hard-line agenda. This Policy Beat article examines what some of the better known elements of Trump's immigration policy might look like.

SB1070Rally JacobRuff Flickr

Over the past decade, state and local policymakers have increasingly stepped into the void left by Washington over legislative reform of the immigration system and have enacted their own policies, particularly in regard to illegal immigration. This article explores this trend of increased activism and examines whether restrictive state immigration laws have had an effect on the size of immigrant populations at the state level.

HaitiansRoad MarionDoss Flickr

In the wake of a hurricane that has once again devastated Haiti, the United States quickly reversed its toughened policy toward the thousands of Haitian nationals arriving at the California-Mexico border without prior authorization. This Policy Beat examines the shifts in U.S. admission and deportation policy toward Haitian migrants since the 2010 earthquake, and other national and state developments on immigration.

MilitaryImmigrants SgtRandallAClinton MarineCorps

Approximately 511,000 foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 3 percent of the 18.8 million veterans nationwide. This Spotlight article offers key information on the population of immigrant veterans in the United States, focusing on its size, top countries of origin, racial and ethnic composition, and socioeconomic characteristics.

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Audio
October 1, 2012

The conference offers thoughtful, evidence-based law and policy analysis and discussion of cutting-edge immigration issues.

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Video, Audio
August 7, 2012

Join MPI as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas discusses the application process and policies that the agency has announced to implement the administration’s deferred action program.

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Video, Audio
July 30, 2012

MPI is pleased to host a discussion with experts from both KIND and the Women’s Refugee Commission, focusing on the causes of the increase in unaccompanied minor migrants, the situation these minors face once detained or apprehended, and the challenges confronting both nongovernmental organizations trying to provide aid and the U.S. government agencies responsible for processing minors through the system. 

10 year anniversary
Video, Audio
April 19, 2012

The Migration Policy Institute celebrated its first decade as the authoritative, unimpeachable resource on immigration and immigrant integration analysis and policy design in the United States and internationally.

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Video
February 7, 2012
MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner discusses U.S. immigration policy during the Fireside Forum on Foreign Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The other participants are Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera and Douglas Savage, Assistant Director of the Institute of World Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Recent Activity

Reports
September 2019

La migración entre México y Estados Unidos ha cambiado dramáticamente en los últimos años, pero las políticas y la retórica política en ambos países no se han actualizado a este contexto a la misma velocidad. Este reporte explora esta nueva realidad migratoria y cómo los dos gobiernos podrían trabajar juntos para abordar los desafíos de políticas públicas que tienen en común.

Reports
September 2019

Migration between Mexico and the United States has changed dramatically in recent years, but policies and political rhetoric in both countries have not always kept up. This report, which draws from discussions of a high-level Mexico-U.S. study group convened by MPI and El Colegio de México, explores this new migration reality and how the two governments could work more closely together to address shared policy challenges.

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. The initiative's leader, MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, joins in conversation with former Bush administration Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and former Obama White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz about the prospects for action and what's needed.

Articles

Si bien se ha prestado mucha atención a los centroamericanos recién llegados a la frontera entre los Estados Unidos y México, casi la mitad de los aproximadamente 3.5 millones que vivían en los Estados Unidos en 2017 llegaron antes de 2000. Aproximadamente un tercio son ciudadanos estadounidenses y tienden a participar en la fuerza laboral con más frecuencia que otros extranjeros y estadounidenses. Descubra más en este artículo lleno de datos.

Articles

While much attention has been paid to recent Central American arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly half of the approximately 3.5 million Central Americans resident in the United States in 2017 arrived before 2000. About one-third are naturalized U.S. citizens, and they tend to participate in the labor force at a higher rate than foreign- and U.S.-born adults. Discover more about this population in this data-rich article.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

The U.S. economy is facing an uncertain future as an aging workforce, stagnating labor force participation, skill mismatches, and automation reshape the labor market. This issue brief explores these forces and the role that immigration could play in supporting future U.S. economic growth. It also examines how immigration affects workers already in the country, both native born and immigrant.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

In the coming decades, the U.S. labor market will undergo major transformation. Automation, an aging workforce, and alternative staffing practices will change how, where, and by whom work is done. This think piece, by a former chief economist for the U.S. Labor Department, explores how immigrant workers fit into this changing landscape, and what immigration and workforce policy changes could help maximize their contributions to the U.S. economy.

Commentaries
August 2019

The public-charge rule issued by the Trump administration in August 2019 will have profound effects on future immigration and on use of public benefits by millions of legal noncitizens and their U.S.-citizen family members. Complex standards for determining when an immigrant is likely to become a public charge could cause a significant share of the nearly 23 million noncitizens and U.S. citizens in benefits-using immigrant families to disenroll, as this commentary explains.

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