E.g., 11/26/2022
E.g., 11/26/2022
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

Cover image for Leveraging the Skills of Immigrant Health-Care Professionals in Illinois and Chicago
Policy Briefs
April 2022
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
A teacher leads a lesson on the Korean alphabet in a U.S. dual-language immersion class
Articles
Image of Central American migrant caravan passing through Chiapas, Mexico
Commentaries
April 2022
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Andrew Selee
U.S. Border Patrol agents prepare to transport unauthorized migrants to Mexico under Title 42.
Articles
Opening slide of video celebrating the life of Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Multimedia
March 28, 2022
An image of an immigration boarding line.
Articles
A construction crew works on a wall the U.S.-Mexico border.
Articles

Pages

Cover for COVID fact sheet on unemployment of immigrant women in U.S.
Fact Sheets
November 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
coverthumb_biden starting gate
Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
Coverthumb DataMatters2018
Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
coverthumb_future work us
Reports
October 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
coverthumb_io students factsheet
Fact Sheets
October 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova and Miriam Feldblum

Pages

An image of an immigration boarding line.

Need information about U.S. immigration trends or the makeup of the country's immigrant population? This useful, stats-rich article answers the most common questions about the size, shape, and changing nature of the U.S. foreign-born population. It also offers data on immigration enforcement actions, backlogs, and other elements of the U.S. immigration system.

A construction crew works on a wall the U.S.-Mexico border.

The number of border walls globally has multiplied at a rapid clip, from fewer than five at the end of World War II to more than six dozen now, with more under construction. Most of the world's border fortifications have been built since the turn of the millennium, and are intended to accomplish a range of functions. This article charts the remarkable growth and normalization of border walls globally.

A pile of documents on a desk.

President Joe Biden has made efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, but could see his administration's agenda slowed by massive backlogs across the immigration system. Case application wait times and immigration court queues have swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, slowing legal arrivals to the United States and undermining the entire immigration system.

A couple celebrating carnival at home.

South Americans make up a relatively small share of all U.S. immigrants. But their numbers have been growing in recent years and flows are diversifying, particularly with new arrivals from Venezuela. This article offers key statistics on the South American immigrant population in the United States.

A man and child at a naturalization ceremony outside Washington, DC.

The 4.3 million Black immigrants in the United States come largely from the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. This article offers insights about rates of poverty, health insurance, and other metrics for Black immigrants both nationally and in the top five major cities of residence, finding that policies at federal and local levels, as well as the legacy of historical Black disenfranchisement, can exaggerate or reduce some of the gaps with U.S.-born White residents.

Pages

MigrantCaravanMXCity2018_Wotancito_WikiCommons
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
MigrantsTijuanaRiverBed_BBCWorldService2014
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
DREAMERS Justin ValasFlickr
Commentaries
March 2019
By  Julia Gelatt
BorderWall CBP ManiAlbrecht
Commentaries
January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
NationalGuardSouthernBorder
Commentaries
November 2018
By  Doris Meissner
UnauthorizedMethodologyCommentary Photo
Commentaries
September 2018
By  Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix and Jennifer Van Hook
FamilySnapBenefits
Commentaries
August 2018
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg

Pages

Audio
June 24, 2021

During this webcast, experts discuss findings from a report examining at U.S. and state levels the underemployment of college graduates by nativity and by race and ethnicity, in the process revealing patterns of economic inequality.

2021.4.8 IOM Muse Mohammed Syrian Refugees Leaving Lebanon   Covid
Video, Audio
April 8, 2021

Marking the release of an IOM-MPI report, this two-panel discussion, features introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino and examines how the pandemic has reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond.

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.

2020.11.18FLICKRDHSCHADWOLFE2
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?

Pages

Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
April 2022

Immigrants play important roles across the U.S. health-care workforce, but not all of those with in-demand health and medical degrees are able to put their skills to work. Addressing this skill underutilization, or “brain waste,” has only become more important during the pandemic. This brief examines the extent of skill underutilization among immigrants with health degrees in Illinois, a state with a long history of immigration, and efforts to better leverage these skills.

Articles

Immigrants from the Korean peninsula are one of the ten largest foreign-born groups in the United States, but their numbers have actually shrunk in recent years. Immigrants from Korea tend to be older, better educated, and earn higher incomes than the overall immigrant and native-born populations.

Commentaries
April 2022

With migration from Central America increasing, the region from Canada to Panama faces an opportunity to build an effective regional approach to migration by focusing on several areas that are ripe for significant policy innovation. This commentary sketches a vision, offering a road map to more detailed research that outlines strategies for cooperation on legal pathways, humanitarian protection, migration management, and sustainable development.

Articles

The United States’ controversial Title 42 migrant expulsions policy will come to an end in May 2022, after more than 1.7 million expulsions over two years. The COVID-19-era public-health restriction ushered in an unprecedented period of mass expulsions, including of would-be asylum seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Unwinding the policy will be complicated amid predictions of a significant increase in unauthorized migration.

Video
March 28, 2022

Colleagues from around the world gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Demetrios G. Papademetriou, who was MPI's first president and the founder of MPI Europe. One of the world's pre-eminent scholars and lecturers on international migration, he developed a rich body of scholarship and advised numerous governments, international organizations, civil-society groups, and philanthropic organizations on immigration and immigrant integration issues.

Articles

Need information about U.S. immigration trends or the makeup of the country's immigrant population? This useful, stats-rich article answers the most common questions about the size, shape, and changing nature of the U.S. foreign-born population. It also offers data on immigration enforcement actions, backlogs, and other elements of the U.S. immigration system.

Commentaries
March 2022

Dating to the 1950s, Congress on multiple occasions has provided a direct path to permanent residence for Hungarians, Vietnamese, Cubans, and others fleeing upheaval in their countries. Given this precedent, this commentary suggests Congress should act to provide a more secure future for the more than 72,000 Afghans who were airlifted to the United States under an uncertain immigration status known as parole.

Articles

The number of border walls globally has multiplied at a rapid clip, from fewer than five at the end of World War II to more than six dozen now, with more under construction. Most of the world's border fortifications have been built since the turn of the millennium, and are intended to accomplish a range of functions. This article charts the remarkable growth and normalization of border walls globally.

Pages