E.g., 06/20/2024
E.g., 06/20/2024
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

Immigrants arriving on a ferry near Ellis Island.
An immigrant from Rwanda serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Articles
U.S. Border Patrol agents transporting migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border
Articles
Cover image for How Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children Fit into the Future U.S. Labor Market
Reports
April 2024
By  Jeanne Batalova, Julia Gelatt and Michael Fix
Flags of South American countries.
Articles
Image of female worker at the Boqueria market in Barcelona making a crepe
Commentaries
March 2024
By  Anna Terrón Cusí and Andrew Selee
President Joe Biden in Mexico City.
Housing construction site in California.
Articles

Pages

Cover image for How Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children Fit into the Future U.S. Labor Market
Reports
April 2024
By  Jeanne Batalova, Julia Gelatt and Michael Fix
Cover image for A New Way Forward for Employment-Based Immigration
Policy Briefs
February 2024
By  Julia Gelatt and Muzaffar Chishti
Cover image for Outmatched: The U.S. Asylum System Faces Record Demands
Reports
February 2024
By  Kathleen Bush-Joseph
Cover image for Immigrants’ Eligibility for U.S. Public Benefits: A Primer
Reports
January 2024
By  Valerie Lacarte, Julia Gelatt and Ashley Podplesky
Cover image for Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Reports
January 2024
By  Alan D. Bersin, Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh
Shifting Realities at the U.S.-Mexico Border report
Reports
January 2024
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Doris Meissner
Cover image for Immigration and Integration in the Ever More Diverse Houston Area
Reports
November 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Michael Fix and Jeanne Batalova

Pages

Immigrants arriving on a ferry near Ellis Island.

The Immigration Act of 1924 shaped the U.S. population over the course of the 20th century, greatly restricting immigration and ensuring that arriving immigrants were mostly from Northern and Western Europe. The century-old law was one of the most restrictive in U.S. history and helped create the framework for key provisions of the U.S. immigration system that remain in place a century later. This article analyzes the effect and legacy of the 1924 law.

An immigrant from Rwanda serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Immigrants have served in the U.S. armed forces since the nation's founding. In recent years, a growing share of U.S. military veterans are immigrants, due to shrinking numbers of veterans overall and a rising number of foreign born. This article offers details about the composition of the immigrant population with U.S. military service.

U.S. Border Patrol agents transporting migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border

Once an obscure section of U.S. law, Title 42 was used to expel unauthorized migrants reaching U.S. borders nearly 3 million times from March 2020 to May 2023. Despite idealized depictions of its impact by some politicians, the order was largely ineffective in deterring irregular migration. Instead, it represented a dramatic break with decades of law providing protection to asylum seekers, as this article details.

Flags of South American countries.

The South American immigrant population in the United States has grown at a faster rate than that of the overall foreign-born population, amid crises in Venezuela, Colombia, and elsewhere. Yet South Americans still account for only about one in ten U.S. immigrants. While they mirror the overall U.S. immigrant population in several demographic characteristics, there are some notable differences, as this article details.

President Joe Biden in Mexico City.

The U.S. immigration enforcement system increasingly depends on other countries to help halt irregular movements through the Americas and accept the return of unauthorized migrants. Foreign governments play a crucial and yet underappreciated role in migration management, and can either aid or frustrate U.S. border-control aims, as this article explores.

Pages

Image of female worker at the Boqueria market in Barcelona making a crepe
Commentaries
March 2024
By  Anna Terrón Cusí and Andrew Selee
A Haitian child looks over his mother's shoulder in Panama
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte
CBP personnel process and screen migrants for possible entry into the U.S.
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a DACA roundtable
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Jennifer Van Hook, Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
President Biden meets with DACA recipients
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Julia Gelatt
Graphic image of man's hand touching screen with word skills
Commentaries
July 2023
By  Kate Hooper, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
Photo of CBP One App poster at shelter in Reynosa, Mexico
Commentaries
April 2023
By  Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh

Pages

Explainer IllegalImmigration Art
Explainers
April 2019

How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.

Explainer_LegalImmigrationSystem Legal Immigration Pie_small
Explainers
April 2019

Through which visa categories can immigrants move temporarily or permanently to the United States? What are the main channels by which people come, and who can sponsor them for a green card? Are there limits on visa categories? And who is waiting in the green-card backlog? This explainer answers basic questions about temporary and permanent immigration via family, employment, humanitarian, and other channels.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken meets with recently resettled Afghans and with staff members and volunteers from local refugee resettlement agencies
Video, Audio
November 30, 2023

Coordination and communication among key stakeholders in the resettlement network have never been more critical. This conversation focuses on how consultation supports capacity building and where it can, at times, fall short.

WoM-podcast-episode-tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
September 26, 2023

How is refugee resettlement evolving? As more countries turn to private or community sponsorship, MPI speaks with Erin Schutte Wadzinski, who leads one of the pioneering private sponsorship groups in Worthington, Minnesota, under the Welcome Corps initiative.

2023 Immigration Law and Policy Conference
Video
September 18, 2023

The 20th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by MPI, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, features fresh, thoughtful policy and legal analysis, and discussion of some of the top immigration issues by leading government officials, attorneys, researchers, advocates, and other experts. 

Image of gavel resting on U.S. flag
Video
July 20, 2023

As the U.S. immigration court system struggles with record case backlogs, decisions take years, immigration enforcement is delayed, and wait times incentivize unauthorized arrivals. This discussion examines the factors that have driven the system to the point of crisis and possible fixes.

Expert Q&A, Audio
May 23, 2023

MPI's Lawrence Huang discusses COVID-19 mobility restrictions in China and the Asia Pacific—and what this all means for future public health crises—with Dr. Karen Grépin, a health policy professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Pages

Recent Activity

Articles

The Immigration Act of 1924 shaped the U.S. population over the course of the 20th century, greatly restricting immigration and ensuring that arriving immigrants were mostly from Northern and Western Europe. The century-old law was one of the most restrictive in U.S. history and helped create the framework for key provisions of the U.S. immigration system that remain in place a century later. This article analyzes the effect and legacy of the 1924 law.

Articles

Immigrants have served in the U.S. armed forces since the nation's founding. In recent years, a growing share of U.S. military veterans are immigrants, due to shrinking numbers of veterans overall and a rising number of foreign born. This article offers details about the composition of the immigrant population with U.S. military service.

Articles

Once an obscure section of U.S. law, Title 42 was used to expel unauthorized migrants reaching U.S. borders nearly 3 million times from March 2020 to May 2023. Despite idealized depictions of its impact by some politicians, the order was largely ineffective in deterring irregular migration. Instead, it represented a dramatic break with decades of law providing protection to asylum seekers, as this article details.

Reports
April 2024

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.

Articles

The South American immigrant population in the United States has grown at a faster rate than that of the overall foreign-born population, amid crises in Venezuela, Colombia, and elsewhere. Yet South Americans still account for only about one in ten U.S. immigrants. While they mirror the overall U.S. immigrant population in several demographic characteristics, there are some notable differences, as this article details.

Commentaries
March 2024

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.

Articles

The U.S. immigration enforcement system increasingly depends on other countries to help halt irregular movements through the Americas and accept the return of unauthorized migrants. Foreign governments play a crucial and yet underappreciated role in migration management, and can either aid or frustrate U.S. border-control aims, as this article explores.

Articles

One-fifth of the planet lacks adequate housing. That scarcity, expected to affect 3 billion people by 2030, is a problem for native-born and immigrant communities alike. The global housing shortage can aggravate tensions over immigration and lead to integration challenges for new arrivals, as this article details.

Pages