E.g., 06/25/2020
E.g., 06/25/2020

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Three health professionals wearing masks in a hospital
Erwin Jacob Miciano/U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

As millions of U.S. workers lose jobs and the health insurance associated with them, Medicaid and similar programs are increasingly important for people seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. Yet many low-income uninsured noncitizens, including green-card holders, are excluded from such programs because of their immigration status, as this fact sheet explores.

CBP officers at the National Targeting Center
Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. government has made important progress in shoring up weaknesses at the nexus of immigration and national security since September 11, 2001. But as new threats emerge and evolve—including public-health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic—the question is whether the post-9/11 system is up to the task of meeting these challenges, as this report explores.

Ryan M. Breeden/U.S. Pacific Fleet

In a time of critical shortages of U.S. health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, retired doctors are being called back to work and medical students are graduating on a fast track. There is another important pool that could be tapped: Immigrants and refugees who have college degrees in health fields but are working in low-skilled jobs or out of work. MPI estimates 263,000 immigrants are experiencing skill underutilization and could be a valuable resource.

A doctor wearing a face mask performing a test
Radio Alfa/Flickr

Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing disproportionate shares of physicians, home health aides, and retail-store pharmacists, for example. They also are over-represented in sectors most immediately devastated by mass layoffs, yet many will have limited access to safety-net systems and to federal relief, as this fact sheet details.

Tacoma Community House

While the Trump administration public-charge rule is likely to vastly reshape legal immigration based on its test to assess if a person might ever use public benefits in the future, the universe of noncitizens who could be denied a green card based on current benefits use is quite small. That's because very few benefit programs are open to noncitizens who do not hold a green card. This commentary offers estimates of who might be affected.

Dipartimento Protezione Civile

Travel bans, border closures, and other migration management tools did not prove effective at blocking COVID-19 from spreading across international borders. Yet as governments have shifted from containment to mitigation with the coronavirus now in community transmission in many countries, these restrictions are a logical part of the policy toolkit in the context of social distancing and restricting all forms of human movement, as this commentary explores.

Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
August 2017
By Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Jie Zong
Policy Briefs
August 2017
By Philip Martin
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a man into custody.
Articles
Agricultural workers break for lunch on a cucumber farm in Virginia.
Articles
Commentaries
June 2017
By Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

Pages

Reports
September 2006
By Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Michael Fix
Reports
September 2006
By Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Michael Fix
Reports
September 2006
By Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Michael Fix
Policy Briefs
August 2006
By Julie Murray, Jeanne Batalova, and Michael Fix
Policy Briefs
July 2006
By David A. Martin
Policy Briefs
July 2006
By Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova, and B. Lindsay Lowell
Policy Briefs
July 2006
By Michael Fix and Neeraj Kaushal

Pages

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.

Pages

Audio
October 1, 2012
The conference offers thoughtful, evidence-based law and policy analysis and discussion of cutting-edge immigration issues.
Video, Audio
August 7, 2012
Join MPI as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas discusses the application process and policies that the agency has announced to implement the administration’s deferred action program.
Video, Audio
July 30, 2012
MPI is pleased to host a discussion with experts from both KIND and the Women’s Refugee Commission, focusing on the causes of the increase in unaccompanied minor migrants, the situation these minors face once detained or apprehended, and the challenges confronting both nongovernmental organizations trying to provide aid and the U.S. government agencies responsible for processing minors through the system. 
Video, Audio
April 19, 2012

The Migration Policy Institute celebrated its first decade as the authoritative, unimpeachable resource on immigration and immigrant integration analysis and policy design in the United States and internationally.

Video
February 7, 2012
MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner discusses U.S. immigration policy during the Fireside Forum on Foreign Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The other participants are Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera and Douglas Savage, Assistant Director of the Institute of World Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
August 2017

The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is uncertain, amid skepticism from the Trump administration about its merits and the promise of legal challenge from ten state attorneys general. This issue brief presents a profile of young adults eligible for DACA in terms of their educational attainment and labor force participation, as well as what is at stake should the program be terminated.

Commentaries
August 2017

The RAISE Act endorsed by President Trump would have dramatic effects on family-based immigration to the United States, with disproportionate effects for immigrants from several countries in particular. While much focus has been given to the sponsors' pledge of "merit-based" immigration, the effects on the U.S. employment-based immigration system would be more modest in terms of outcomes, as this commentary explores.

Policy Briefs
August 2017

U.S. agriculture has long relied on foreign-born workers to fill seasonal and labor-intensive jobs. But who are the immigrants who now make up three-fourths of hired workers on U.S. farms? This policy brief sketches a workforce that is aging and less reliant on unauthorized workers—and employers who are increasingly turning to mechanization and the H-2A guestworker program to fill gaps as Mexican migration slows.

Reports
July 2017

Mexico has apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children since 2014 and introduced ambitious reforms to safeguard their rights. Yet the gap between policy and reality is wide: Most are held in adult detention centers rather than child shelters and report never being told of their right to apply for asylum. This report examines the child protection legal framework in Mexico, its implementation, and the gaps between the two.

Articles

Making good on campaign promises to toughen immigration enforcement, the Trump administration has acted swiftly to cast a wider net in the U.S. interior. The actions represent a sea change in enforcement practice, moving from a tight focus on high-priority individuals to an era in which all unauthorized immigrants may be subject to deportation. This article explores the shifts undertaken during President Trump's first six months.

Commentaries
June 2017

Legal analysis of the Supreme Court’s opinion allowing aspects of a controversial Trump administration executive order to take effect has largely focused on the travel ban on certain nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries.  Less noticed was the justices' views with regards to the temporary suspension of the refugee resettlement program. This commentary explores the ruling's possible consequences on refugees.

Articles

Although President Trump has repeatedly pledged to preserve "U.S. jobs for U.S. workers," employers are increasingly relying on temporary visas as a result of labor shortages in agriculture, high tech, and beyond. This article examines the increases occurring in key temporary worker programs, affecting seasonal agricultural and nonagricultural industries, as well as high-skilled tech jobs.

Commentaries
June 2017

A recent MPI study reveals that 48 percent of recent immigrants to the United States were college graduates, a sharp increase over earlier periods. How can the United States better leverage this brain gain? This commentary outlines some policies that could allow the United States to more fully utilize the professional and academic credentials that highly skilled immigrants have, for their benefit and that of the U.S. economy.

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