E.g., 02/21/2024
E.g., 02/21/2024
U.S. Immigration Policy Program

U.S. Immigration Policy Program

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.

CBP officers screen border crossers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry
Jerry Glaser/CBP

All eyes are on the U.S.-Mexico border, where shifting migration trends and record migrant arrivals have stretched the U.S. border management system beyond its capabilities. As the Biden administration continues to implement its new regime of incentives for orderly arrivals and disincentives for unauthorized crossings, this report analyzes the rapidly changing policy and migration realities and outlines recommendations for a more effective, durable system of border control.

Aerial photo of the U.S. Capitol
Architect of the Capitol

The $13.6 billion border emergency supplemental spending bill the Biden administration is seeking lays out the elements for resourcing immigration functions to full capacity across the entire border enforcement system. Without resourcing the system across all its parts, including adjudications and management, no administration, present or future, will be able to effectively manage spontaneous border arrivals, this commentary argues.

Recent Activity

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
A Haitian child looks over his mother's shoulder in Panama
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte
A Vietnamese family in the kitchen.
Articles
Cover image for Shared Gains
Policy Briefs
October 2023
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
New York City Mayor Eric Adams meeting with asylum seekers.
Articles
President Biden meets with DACA recipients
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Julia Gelatt
Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a DACA roundtable
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Jennifer Van Hook, Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto

Pages

Cover image for Diverging Pathways
Policy Briefs
October 2022
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for The Missing Link
Reports
July 2022
By  Essey Workie, Lillie Hinkle and Stephanie Heredia
Cover image for COVID-19’s Effects on U.S. Immigration and Immigrant Communities
Reports
June 2022
By  Julia Gelatt and Muzaffar Chishti
Cover image for Leveraging the Skills of Immigrant Health-Care Professionals in Illinois and Chicago
Policy Briefs
April 2022
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for Four Years of Profound Change: Immigration Policy during the Trump Presidency
Reports
February 2022
By  Jessica Bolter, Emma Israel and Sarah Pierce
Cover image for El relanzamiento del Programa de Menores Centroamericanos
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
Cover image for Relaunching the Central American Minors Program: Opportunities to Enhance Child Safety and Family Reunification
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie

Pages

Afghan parolees wait in line at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

An estimated 1.9 million migrants are in the United States or have been authorized to enter with a twilight immigration status that does not automatically lead to to permanent residence but temporarily shields them from deportation for at least one year. Use of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and immigration parole has been a hallmark of the Biden administration as it seeks to address record border arrivals and protection needs.

People carry a giant Colombian flag at a parade in Washington, DC.

Colombians comprise the largest group of South American immigrants in the United States. More than half live in Florida, New York, or New Jersey. Compared to the overall immigrant population, Colombians are disproportionately likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens and to have obtained a green card through family pathways.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a conference in Tampa.

Renewed U.S. state activism on immigration has echoes of the early 2010s, when Arizona’s SB 1070 defined a Republican-led push to increase enforcement that was ultimately muted by the courts and public backlash. Newer strategies rely on a novel array of tactics including migrant busing, litigation, and lawmaking. States are also moving in opposite directions, with some expanding rights for unauthorized immigrants, as this article details.

A refugee family in Phoenix.

U.S. refugee resettlement is slowly increasing after hitting a historic low, rebounding from the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce humanitarian migration as well as pandemic-era restrictions on movement and processing slowdowns. This article offers recent and historical data about refugees resettled in the United States, as well as asylum seekers and asylees.

Banderas de las naciones centroamericanas en una marcha en San Diego.

Los centroamericanos representan menos de una décima parte de la población de inmigrantes en Estados Unidos. Pero su número se ha multiplicado por diez desde 1980. Este artículo proporciona una mirada integral a esta población.

Pages

Bhutanese refugee sits on bed in family's apartment in New York
Commentaries
June 2021
By  Essey Workie, Mark Greenberg and Lillie Hinkle
BreadforWorld_DACA_3
Commentaries
February 2021
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
CBP_SanYsidro_smaller
Commentaries
February 2021
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
HealthCare BrainWaste Commentary CDC
Commentaries
December 2020
By  Michael Fix, Jeanne Batalova and José Ramón Fernández-Peña
LatinoMentalHealth commentary December2020
Commentaries
December 2020
By  Randy Capps and Michael Fix

Pages

Opening slide of video celebrating the life of Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Video
March 28, 2022

Colleagues from around the world gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Demetrios G. Papademetriou, who was MPI's first president and the founder of MPI Europe.

Video, Audio
January 19, 2022

This MPI discussion with leading experts, advocates, and a top official from the administration examines the Biden track record on immigration and what lays ahead

World of Migration episode 7 tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
November 24, 2021

With migration a dynamic phenomenon in the Americas, the U.S. government increasingly is realizing that migration management should be viewed in a regional context. This requires a new set of policies and ways of engagement with countries in North and Central America, and beyond, as MPI President Andrew Selee discusses with colleague Andrea Tanco in this episode of our World of Migration podcast.

World of Migration episode 6 tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
November 12, 2021

In this World of Migration podcast episode, MPI Senior Fellow Michael Fix speaks with Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt about the fiscal impacts of immigration, the importance of immigrant integration, how a greater focus on credential recognition could allow immigrants to more fully utilize the academic and professional skills they bring with them, and much more.

Video, Audio
November 9, 2021

One out of four U.S. children has an immigrant parent. On this webinar, speakers explore the intersections between the immigration and child welfare systems, along with promising state and local practices that child welfare agencies can take to improve their responsiveness to the needs of these families and promote the well-being of these children.

Pages

Recent Activity

Commentaries
October 2023

There is a deeper story behind the U.S. government's fiscal 2023 border encounters numbers than that the year marked a new record high. The pivot from the pandemic-era Title 42 expulsions policy and sharp diversification in nationalities have reshaped migrant arrivals unlike any year before. This commentary goes beyond the headlines to focus on the more enduring—and challenging—realities occuring at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Commentaries
October 2023

The next major displacement of people in the Americas is in the making, and it is going unnoticed. The response to the steady emigration from Haiti seen since a devastating 2010 earthquake has been largely haphazard and may not stand the test of new spikes as the country unravels further. This commentary suggests a way forward, based on a model used for the Venezuelan displacement crisis.

Articles

The more than 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States are the result of nearly 50 years of migration that began with the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. While early generations of Vietnamese immigrants tended to arrive as refugees, the vast majority of recent green-card holders obtained their status through family reunification channels. This article takes a look at the sixth-largest U.S. immigrant population.

Policy Briefs
October 2023

U.S. colleges and universities have seen enrollment fluctuate over the last 20 years, shaped by demographic and economic changes in the United States and shifting views of the value of higher education. This issue brief explores how enrollment trends have played out for immigrants, the children of immigrants, and U.S.-born individuals with U.S.-born parents.

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.

Articles

U.S. cities have spent billions of dollars to provide shelter, health care, and other resources to migrants recently arrived from the U.S.-Mexico border. The exceptional costs, which the New York mayor has described as existential, are due to a unique combination of factors, this article explains, including the large numbers of migrants arriving without local connections and long waits for work permits.

Commentaries
September 2023

The DACA program has received another blow to its survival, with a federal court once again ruling that the executive branch exceeded its authority in creating the program. But with litigation likely to continue for years, it is attrition that is actively reducing the program. This commentary examines the shrinking population of DACA holders, as well as those who have been locked out from participating.

Commentaries
September 2023

The unauthorized immigrant population in the United States stood at approximately 11.2 million people in mid-2021, with larger annual growth than at any point since 2015, according to MPI's latest estimates. Even as the Mexican unauthorized immigrant population continued its decade-long decline, there were new entrants from a growing array of other countries.

Pages