E.g., 06/26/2024
E.g., 06/26/2024
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Engineer holding a laptop outside a power plant
iStock.com/yanguolin

The level of education and training expected of workers in the United States has increased considerably in recent decades, and this trend looks set to continue. This report explores the forces driving this change and how the education levels of immigrant-origin and other workers compare to those likely to be needed in the future U.S. workforce, overall and in key occupational groups.

Image of female worker at the Boqueria market in Barcelona making a crepe
Marcel Crozet/ILO

Spain and the United States both receive their greatest number of immigrants from Latin America, and have worked collaboratively together on displacement crises and other migration issues. As shared immigration challenges dominate debate on both sides of the Atlantic, Spain can serve as a vital bridge in the policy conversation, this commentary notes.

A man in a high-visibility jacket and gloves at work
Aaron Sussell/U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. employment-based visa policies, last updated in 1990, are not aligned with the country’s current and future labor market needs. This policy brief outlines MPI’s proposal for a new visa pathway that could help the United States better leverage immigration to meet its labor market needs, boost protections for both U.S.- and foreign-born workers, and flexibly adapt to future economic and demographic changes.

Inadmissible migrants, some seeking asylum, are processed by CBP officers
Mani Albrecht/CBP

The U.S. humanitarian protection system, known for its long history of assisting those in need, has come under incredible pressure in recent years. The asylum adjudications system, which is under-resourced, is struggling to keep up with record asylum seeker arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines the state of the asylum system, including changes under the Biden administration and potential lessons for other countries.

 A young nurse hugs an elderly patient in a wheelchair
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits in the United States is governed by a complex patchwork of rules that make many groups of noncitizens eligible for some benefits but not others, while other noncitizens are excluded completely. This report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, driver’s licenses, and more.

U.S.-Mexico border fence with Tijuana on the left
Josh Denmark/CBP

Unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a high-profile and politically divisive issue for decades. But as the nature of migration at the border has changed profoundly, U.S. policy responses have struggled to keep up. This report explores the changing nature of migration flows and migration policy at the border from the early 1990s until today, highlighting key lessons for contemporary policy-making.

Recent Activity

Asylum seekers from Venezuela in Texas.
Articles
President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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People in a business meeting.
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A migrant scheduled to be deported from the United States is escorted to a charter flight.
Cover image for The Skills and Economic Outcomes of Immigrant and U.S.-Born College Graduates
Fact Sheets
December 2022
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for Four Strategies to Improve Community Services for Unaccompanied Children in the Unit
Policy Briefs
December 2022
By  Jonathan Beier, Lauren Farwell, Rhonda Fleischer and Essey Workie
A guest takes a photo at a Diwali reception at the White House.
Articles

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Coverthumb Border ControltoCrisis Report 2019
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
Coverthumb HighlySkilledMexicans TX
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 tourist takes a selfie in New York City.

COVID-19 and restrictive policies from the Trump administration led to the most dramatic slowdown of temporary immigration to the United States in years, as fewer tourists, temporary workers, and international students arrived. This article reviews the trends in issuance of nonimmigrant visas and arrivals of temporary visitors, including the numbers issued annually over the past five years and the top countries of origin.

 Close-up image of passport with third gender X marker

In 2022, the United States joined a growing list of countries that allow for a third gender option (the “X” marker) in passports. This article examines the introduction of the X marker, the impacts of third gender markers for transgender and nonbinary travelers and migrants as well as border management systems, and the evolving policy landscape ahead.

Image of band playing music at a concert in Athens, GA.

Persistent economic turmoil and civil and political insecurity have been drivers of emigration from Brazil, including to the United States. Although the number of Brazilian immigrants in the United States has been on the rise since the 1980s, the magnitude of these flows has made the past decade unique. Read a useful profile of Brazilians immigrants, including U.S. destinations, modes of entry, and educational and work characteristics.

Image of young Afghan girls.

The sluggishness of an overwhelmed U.S. immigration system and long lead times for refugee resettlement pushed government officials to use ad hoc pathways for Afghans and Ukrainians to enter the United States, with a two-year parole status given to most. This article examines the use of parole, the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program, and how the use of ad hoc statuses could evolve for future crises.

Image of marchers at Dominican Day parade in New York City

Immigrants from the Caribbean living in the United States come from a diverse set of countries and territories, with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago the top origins. This article offers a sociodemographic profile of Caribbean immigrants, who represent 10 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population and nearly half of all Black immigrants in the United States.

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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.

2019.5.17EVENTPHOTO
Video, Audio
May 17, 2019

With the U.S. administration calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, this conversation focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change.

2019.5.17   EVENT PHOTO Mexicans in Texas
Video, Audio
May 9, 2019

At this discussion, experts from MPI and Southern Methodist University’s Texas-Mexico Center offer an overview of trends and key characteristics of highly skilled Mexican adults at the national level and for Texas, including educational levels by legal status and top industries of employment across Texas metro areas. They also discuss the policy implications of these findings.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
February 2023

Inefficiencies in the U.S. immigration system and case backlogs are preventing individuals eligible for immigration to the United States from filling some of the millions of job vacancies. This policy brief outlines executive actions that could facilitate the migration of needed workers, retain immigrants already in the U.S. workforce, and ease challenges experienced by U.S. employers and their foreign-born workers.

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Venezuelans comprise one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, nearly tripling in size from 2010 to 2021. Much of this migration has been fueled by crisis in Venezuela, where political unrest and economic strife have caused millions to flee since 2015, most remaining in Latin America. Venezuelan immigrants are far more likely than the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations to have a college degree. Take an in-depth look at this immigrant population.

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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.

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The number of Chinese immigrants in the United States had grown swiftly for decades but shrank amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a whole, Chinese immigrants tend to have more education and higher salaries than other immigrants, although they are less likely to be fluent in English. This article provides a sociodemographic profile of Chinese immigrants in the United States, their top destination globally.

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Every year, thousands of migrants ordered deported from EU Member States, the United States, and elsewhere are not returned to their origin countries. Why? One reason is the multiple nations that refuse to cooperate on readmitting their nationals abroad. This article explores the motivations behind countries’ lack of cooperation and how deporting states have responded.

Fact Sheets
December 2022

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.

Policy Briefs
December 2022

For unaccompanied children leaving federal custody to live with parents or other sponsors, the transition into U.S. communities can be a difficult one. And although a patchwork of services exist to help these children and to address medical, mental health, and other needs, their capacity varies widely by location. This issue brief explores promising practices for improving these critical forms of support.  

Articles

Significant immigration from India to the United States began only after 1965, when the United States dropped national-origin quotas that favored Europeans. Today, Indians make up the nation's second largest foreign-born group. On average, they tend to be very well educated: 80 percent have a college degree and nearly half hold a graduate or professional degree. This article offers a useful sociodemographic profile of the Indian population.

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