E.g., 11/23/2020
E.g., 11/23/2020

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Aerial view of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Addressing regional cooperation around migration will be among the immigration challenges and opportunities facing the incoming Biden administration. This report examines how movement between the United States, Mexico, and Central America has evolved in recent decades, and lays out a four-part strategy to expand opportunities for legal migration, address humanitarian protection needs, improve enforcement, and mitigate some of the forces driving people to emigrate.

Joe Biden speaking with supporters in Henderson, Nevada
Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden pledged during his campaign to reverse some of the most restrictive immigration actions undertaken during Donald Trump’s four years in office. While some actions can be undone with the stroke of a pen, others will take more time. This policy brief outlines the incoming administration’s top immigration priorities, examines challenges and opportunities ahead, and previews MPI policy ideas that could improve the immigration system and advance the national interest.

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct an operation near Sasabe, Arizona
Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Consistent with its world view of immigration as threat, the Trump administration has shut down meaningful access to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, expelled more than 205,000 arrivals during the pandemic, and constructed hundreds of miles of border barriers. Yet these strategies cannot succeed over the long term, given realities. This road map sketches what an effective border management system would look like.

A National Cancer Institute technician working in a lab
Daniel Sone/National Cancer Institute

Immigrants and their U.S.-born children are key drivers of U.S. labor force growth. As some occupations grow and others decline, this report explores how these immigrant-origin workers fit within the changing world of work. It examines the degree to which workers from different racial/ethnic groups hold growing and declining jobs, and what changes in the mix of jobs mean for workforce development and immigration policy.

Penn State students studying
Penn State

Immigrants and the children of immigrants make up a large and growing segment of students at U.S. colleges and universities—up from 20 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2018. This fact sheet offers a first-of-its-kind profile of this population’s size and growth, identifies the top states for these students, and explores characteristics such as race/ethnicity and immigration status.

Headway/Unsplash

The Trump administration's changes to the H-1B visa program are the most significant in three decades, promising to end the practice of replacing U.S. workers with highly skilled immigrants. While the problems the administration has identified and the interest in protecting U.S. workers are legitimate ones, its approach may cripple the H-1B program itself, as this commentary explains.

Recent Activity

Fact Sheets
October 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Sarah Pierce and Randy Capps
Fact Sheets
October 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Michelle Mittelstadt
Commentaries
September 2017
By  Kathleen Newland and Randy Capps
Supporters of the DREAM Act at a September 2017 march in Los Angeles.
Articles
Commentaries
August 2017
By  Doris Meissner

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Policy Briefs
January 2006
By  Deborah W. Meyers
Fact Sheets
November 2005
By  Julia Gelatt and Deborah W. Meyers
Fact Sheets
November 2005
By  David Dixon and Julia Gelatt
Policy Briefs
November 2005
By  Kevin Jernegan
Policy Briefs
November 2005
By  Kevin Jernegan
Policy Briefs
November 2005
By  Deborah W. Meyers

Pages

Video, Audio
March 14, 2011

This discussion focuses on the MPI report, "Executive Action on Immigration: Six Ways to Make the System Work Better," which outlines administrative actions that can be implemented to improve the immigration system.

Video, Audio
January 31, 2011

287(g) programs have surged into the public consciousness in recent years. Now operating in 72 jurisdictions, the 287(g) program authorizes state and local law enforcement officers to screen people for immigration status, issue detainers to hold unauthorized immigrants on immigration violations, and begin the process of their removal from the United States.

Video, Audio
January 13, 2011

In a report by MPI's Labor Markets Initiative, noted economist and Georgetown University Public Policy Institute Professor Harry J. Holzer examines the economic reasoning and research on these questions and looks at the policy options that shape the impact of less-skilled immigration on the economy. The discussion is on what policy reform would best serve native-born American workers, consumers, and employers, as well as the overall U.S. economy.

Video, Audio
October 14, 2010

Commissioner Bersin details his agenda for his agency and discusses illegal immigration, border enforcement, the impact to the economy on migration flows, the future of the Secure Border Initiative, drug trafficking, and other topics in this wide-ranging conversation with MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner and the audience.

Video, Audio
July 16, 2010

This discussion is an overview of a report undertaken by a team at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs which examines the U.S. refugee resettlement Program and offers a strong set of recommendations and observations about the program.

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Recent Activity

Fact Sheets
October 2017

2017 saw the introduction of several bills—two of them by Senate Republicans in the weeks following the Trump administration’s announcement that it would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—that would provide a pathway to conditional and then legal permanent residence to unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, if they meet a range of edu

Fact Sheets
October 2017

With the Trump administration having announced the end of the DACA program, Congress is facing growing calls to protect unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. This fact sheet examines DREAM Act bills introduced in Congress as of mid-2017, offering estimates of who might earn conditional legal status—and ultimately legal permanent residence—based on educational, professional, and other requirements in the legislation.

Video, Audio
September 25, 2017

In a year when immigration has been prominent in the headlines, the 14th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference provides timely policy and legal analysis, with expert discussion covering the shifting immigration policy priorities under a new administration, including changes in immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee resettlement, the treatment of unaccompanied minors and their families, Temporary Protected Status, and DACA, along with the responses from the judicial and congressional branches, various stakeholders, and state and local governments. 

Commentaries
September 2017

The Trump administration’s decision to set the refugee ceiling at 45,000 for fiscal 2018 marks the lowest level since the refugee resettlement program was created in 1980. At a time of record humanitarian pressures, with more than 22.5 million refugees worldwide, the United States appears to be abandoning its leadership role and other traditional resettlement countries are shouldering a bigger load, as this commentary explores.

Commentaries
September 2017

No enterprise in the United States could survive if it only counted the costs of doing business and ignored the benefits side of the ledger. But that is exactly how some Trump administration officials are evaluating the refugee resettlement program, rejecting a well-researched Department of Health and Human Services report that finds refugees brought in $63 billion more revenue to governments than they cost over a ten-year period, as this commentary notes.

Articles

The Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deportation-relief program launched in 2012 has sparked new urgency to find a longer-term fix for "DREAMers," the unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. This Policy Beat article examines movement in the courts and in Congress on the DREAM Act and similar proposals, exploring likely paths forward.

Commentaries
September 2017

By winding down DACA over six months, President Trump may have addressed a short-term political dilemma. But this action ensures debate will rage on in search of a lasting solution, as many in Congress and beyond recognize the loss of work authorization and deportation relief will affect not only DACA recipients and their families, but also employers, universities, and communities alike, as this commentary explores.

Commentaries
August 2017

In this personal tribute, MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner honors Juan Osuna, who died in August 2017 after his recent retirement as Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the nation's immigration court system. "As we at MPI ... contemplate work without his store of knowledge and fundamental human decency readily at hand, we mourn that his was a life cut too short, just as we honor him for a life well lived."

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