E.g., 11/24/2020
E.g., 11/24/2020

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Aerial view of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Addressing regional cooperation around migration will be among the immigration challenges and opportunities facing the incoming Biden administration. This report examines how movement between the United States, Mexico, and Central America has evolved in recent decades, and lays out a four-part strategy to expand opportunities for legal migration, address humanitarian protection needs, improve enforcement, and mitigate some of the forces driving people to emigrate.

Joe Biden speaking with supporters in Henderson, Nevada
Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden pledged during his campaign to reverse some of the most restrictive immigration actions undertaken during Donald Trump’s four years in office. While some actions can be undone with the stroke of a pen, others will take more time. This policy brief outlines the incoming administration’s top immigration priorities, examines challenges and opportunities ahead, and previews MPI policy ideas that could improve the immigration system and advance the national interest.

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct an operation near Sasabe, Arizona
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Consistent with its world view of immigration as threat, the Trump administration has shut down meaningful access to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, expelled more than 205,000 arrivals during the pandemic, and constructed hundreds of miles of border barriers. Yet these strategies cannot succeed over the long term, given realities. This road map sketches what an effective border management system would look like.

A National Cancer Institute technician working in a lab
Daniel Sone/National Cancer Institute

Immigrants and their U.S.-born children are key drivers of U.S. labor force growth. As some occupations grow and others decline, this report explores how these immigrant-origin workers fit within the changing world of work. It examines the degree to which workers from different racial/ethnic groups hold growing and declining jobs, and what changes in the mix of jobs mean for workforce development and immigration policy.

Penn State students studying
Penn State

Immigrants and the children of immigrants make up a large and growing segment of students at U.S. colleges and universities—up from 20 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2018. This fact sheet offers a first-of-its-kind profile of this population’s size and growth, identifies the top states for these students, and explores characteristics such as race/ethnicity and immigration status.

Headway/Unsplash

The Trump administration's changes to the H-1B visa program are the most significant in three decades, promising to end the practice of replacing U.S. workers with highly skilled immigrants. While the problems the administration has identified and the interest in protecting U.S. workers are legitimate ones, its approach may cripple the H-1B program itself, as this commentary explains.

Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
August 2017
By  Randy Capps, Michael Fix and Jie Zong
Policy Briefs
August 2017
By  Philip Martin
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a man into custody.
Articles
Agricultural workers break for lunch on a cucumber farm in Virginia.
Articles
Commentaries
June 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

Pages

Policy Briefs
November 2005
By  Marc R. Rosenblum
Policy Briefs
September 2005
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Policy Briefs
August 2005
By  Betsy Cooper and Kevin O'Neil
Reports
August 2005
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Betsy Cooper and Stephen Yale-Loehr
Fact Sheets
June 2005
By  Doris Meissner, Elizabeth Grieco, Kevin Jernegan and Colleen Coffey
Reports
June 2005
By  Jeffrey S. Passel
Policy Briefs
June 2005
By  Michael Fix, Doris Meissner and Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Policy Briefs
June 2005
By  David A. Martin

Pages

Video
June 30, 2010
Testimony of Marc Rosenblum, MPI Senior Policy Analyst, before the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
Video
June 24, 2010
The conference, co-sponsored by Georgetown Law, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and the Migration Policy Institute, focused immigration and refugee law and policy.
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.

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.

Video, Audio
April 22, 2010

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

Pages

Recent Activity

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.

Articles

Although President Trump has repeatedly pledged to preserve "U.S. jobs for U.S. workers," employers are increasingly relying on temporary visas as a result of labor shortages in agriculture, high tech, and beyond. This article examines the increases occurring in key temporary worker programs, affecting seasonal agricultural and nonagricultural industries, as well as high-skilled tech jobs.

Commentaries
June 2017

A recent MPI study reveals that 48 percent of recent immigrants to the United States were college graduates, a sharp increase over earlier periods. How can the United States better leverage this brain gain? This commentary outlines some policies that could allow the United States to more fully utilize the professional and academic credentials that highly skilled immigrants have, for their benefit and that of the U.S. economy.

Pages