E.g., 09/17/2021
E.g., 09/17/2021
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Immigrants in an outdoor space at Eloy Federal Contract Facility
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The U.S. immigration detention system is sprawling, expensive, and has long been criticized for its prisonlike conditions and health risks. The pandemic has brought these risks into even sharper focus. This report examines detention’s role in the U.S. immigration enforcement system and proposes a different approach centered on release with supervision and case management—tools that are less costly, more humane, and ensure compliance with immigration proceedings.

Jaime Rodriguez Sr./U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The Biden administration’s proposed asylum processing rule represents a fundamental retooling of the asylum system that preserves asylum as a bedrock element of the U.S. immigration system while also recognizing that a secure border and deterring unlawful crossings are legitimate and necessary attributes of an effective, credible immigration system, as this commentary explains.

Receptionist wearing personal protective equipment while interacting with a customer
iStock.com/Mustafa Gull

Immigrant workers have been hit hard by the pandemic-related economic crisis across the United States and in many states with the largest immigrant populations. This issue brief examines how workers in different states and different industries have fared, looking at how employment trends have been shaped by state-level factors such as the length and timing of stay-at-home orders and definitions of who is an “essential” worker.

Photo of woman in Central African Republic participating in cash for work program
Amanda Nero/IOM

As the United States embarks on a new strategy to address the root causes of migration and displacement from Central America, there is much that it can learn from Europe's experience in linking up migration and development aid. This commentary examines the experience of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), drawing five key lessons directly applicable to the situation in Central America.

A young medical professional at a clinic
iStock.com/Charday Penn

While the educational credentials of recent immigrants to the United States have steadily risen, licensing and other barriers continue to prevent many college-educated immigrants from working at their skill level. This underutilization is particularly acute for Black and Latino college graduates, even after controlling for sociodemographic and educational characteristics. This report offers a U.S. and state profile of underemployment, and possible policy remedies.

Unaccompanied children in CBP custody before being turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement
Jaime Rodriguez Sr./CBP

The federal government has made notable progress since March 2021 in getting unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border out of Border Patrol facilities and into Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, and then releasing them to parents or other sponsors. Yet there are serious concerns about standards of care and conditions in a new type of ORR facility: emergency intake sites, as this commentary explores.

Recent Activity

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Articles
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
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Articles
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Reports
February 2021
By  Jessica Bolter, Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner
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Coverthumb RethinkingImmigration ConceptNote
Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Doris Meissner
Coverthumb Border ControltoCrisis Report 2019
Reports
August 2019
By  Randy Capps, Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
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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

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mexican american world cup

The nearly 11 million Mexican immigrants in the United States represent almost one-quarter of the country’s entire immigrant population, and as such are the largest foreign-born group. But their numbers have been declining, shrinking by 7 percent between 2010 and 2019. Among recently arrived immigrants, those from China and India now outpace Mexicans for the first time.

Trump Deportations Record Rhetoric

Before entering office, President Donald Trump promised to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants. Yet despite his general successes in creating a more restrictive and punitive immigration system, this goal has eluded his administration. So-called “sanctuary” policies implemented by state and local governments to limit their cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been a key reason why arrests and removals have not reached earlier peaks.

Indian New Jersey

There are 2.7 million Indian immigrants in the United States, making them the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans. This number has increased dramatically in recent years, growing 13-fold between 1980 and 2019. This article provides an overview of this population, which is more highly educated, more likely to work in management positions, and higher-earning than the U.S. born and overall immigrant population.

Trump_Biden_Immigration divide

In the United States, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on immigration. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have offered sharply diverging policy positions, and the outcome of the election is sure to have profound consequences for the U.S. immigration system. Yet this partisan divide is relatively new. Just two decades ago, the parties were much more united on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy and society.

College Graduates_uhwestoahu

Nearly 13 million immigrants have a four-year college degree or better. But these highly educated immigrants are not spread evenly throughout the labor market. They make up disproportionate shares of certain jobs, especially in the science and technology fields, accounting for 45 percent of software developers, 42 percent of physical scientists, and 29 percent of physicians. Yet there are signs that the trends of this population might be changing, as this article explores.

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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.

Expert talks about child abuse prevention airforce
Video, Audio
April 23, 2019

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar examines what the growing intersection between U.S. immigration and child welfare systems means for protection agencies. Speakers also discuss promising child welfare policies and agency approaches to address the needs of children of immigrants and their families amid demographic change and rising immigration enforcement.

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Recent Activity

Articles

President Joe Biden has grand ambitions to reshape the U.S. immigration system, but his administration has run into early stumbling blocks in rolling back the strict enforcement regime of his predecessor. Administrative resistance, a tangled web of legal agreements signed by the Trump administration, and anxieties about a possible uptick in immigrants and asylum seekers at the border have posed early challenges to Biden’s agenda.

Commentaries
February 2021

The DREAM Act of 2021 could represent one of the narrower legalization measures with better prospects for passage in a narrowly divided Congress. MPI's latest estimates of the DREAMers who could gain conditional and then permanent legal status are offered here, as are the share of DREAMers who feature in another ongoing conversation, around essential workers in the U.S. labor market overall as well as in the health-care sector.

Articles

Have a question about U.S. immigration trends and the country's immigrant population? This article collects in one place the most sought-after information about the world's largest immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Drawing from a wide array of authoritative data sources, this article provides an up-to-date snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and information on emerging trends, including slowing immigration and changing origins.

Video, Webinars
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. The event also showcases MPI estimates of subgroups within the unauthorized population, including DREAMers and essential workers. 

Reports
February 2021

With legalization of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population back on the table, this report offers estimates and characteristics for subgroups that have particularly strong equities, including DREAMers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and parents and spouses of U.S. citizens. It also traces past legalizations and details the range and scope of legalization options that policymakers have.

Articles

The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.

Reports
January 2021

Among the many executive action tools the Trump administration used to significantly rewrite U.S. immigration policy is an obscure but powerful legal authority known as the attorney general’s referral and review. This report examines how this power’s use and impact have changed over time, deep-rooted concerns about it that predate the Trump administration but that have grown due to its more frequent use, and ways to improve it going forward.   

Articles

For the first time in a decade, fewer international students were studying in the United States during the 2019-20 school year than the year before. This decline, brought about in part by changing U.S. policy, has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article profiles the international student population in the United States, including their origins and fields of study.

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