E.g., 02/06/2023
E.g., 02/06/2023
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 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
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Commentaries
September 2018
By  Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix and Jennifer Van Hook
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Reports
September 2018
By  Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Commentaries
August 2018
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg
Protest at an immigration detention facility
Articles

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The small window for enactment of a major U.S. immigration overhaul during 2014 seems to have closed. A trial balloon testing House Republicans’ willingness to proceed this year was quickly floated and dropped. Amid a focus on politics and timing, less noted was the reality that for the first time, House Republican leaders have affirmed support for a policy that would move the party closer to compromise over the most vexing question holding up immigration reform: what to do with the nation’s unauthorized immigrants.

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Recent Activity

Reports
September 2018

The United States has a long tradition of providing asylum to those in need. But in recent years, case backlogs have grown and many asylum seekers now wait years for a decision. This report examines the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to this crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be taken to restore timeliness and fairness, while deterring abuses.

Commentaries
September 2018

In a commentary, MPI and Penn State researchers explain why an academic article suggesting the unauthorized population is significantly higher than previously estimated derives from seriously flawed assumptions. The researchers, who peer-reviewed the analysis, find the authors overestimate successful illegal crossings by misapplying data from the 2000s to the 1990s, when crossing patterns were much different.

Reports
September 2018

The Houston metro area, home to 1.6 million immigrants, is diverse and rapidly growing. This report sketches the area's immigrant population, examining top origin countries, key socioeconomic measures, and more. It also explores how Hurricane Harvey affected the immigrant population, and how national policy changes under the Trump administration are being felt locally, including by DACA recipients and asylum seekers.

Video
September 5, 2018

A book discussion with author and veteran journalist Alfredo Corchado, MPI President Andrew Selee, and other experts on the nature of U.S.-Mexico immigration and the role of Mexican immigrants in the United States.

Commentaries
August 2018

A Trump administration “public-charge” rule expected to be unveiled soon could create the potential to significantly reshape family-based legal immigration to the United States—and reduce arrivals from Asia, Latin America, and Africa—by imposing a de facto financial test that 40 percent of the U.S. born themselves would fail, as this commentary explains.

Articles

With the #AbolishICE movement catching fire among some on the left, critics of the Trump administration's immigration policies have seized on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as their main target—even condemning it for actions taken by other agencies. This article explores the evolution of ICE and resistance to it, as well as actions taken by the agency itself that have made its mission even more controversial.

Reports
August 2018

Even as populist radical-right parties have experienced mixed electoral success, their ideas have gained traction in Europe and the United States. This report analyzes the economic, political, and social factors behind the rise in support for the radical-right agenda, and the impact of this trend on immigration policymaking and the broader political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic.

Reports
August 2018

Economists project a shortage of 5 million U.S. workers with postsecondary education and training by 2020. Yet 2 million immigrant college graduates in the United States are either unemployed or work in jobs that require no more than a high school degree. How can this skill underutilization, known as "brain waste," be remedied? MPI asked the experts, and this report summarizes their discussion and recommendations.

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