E.g., 02/25/2024
E.g., 02/25/2024
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

Image of USCIS employees at work
Articles
Cover image for Immigration and Integration in the Ever More Diverse Houston Area
Reports
November 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Michael Fix and Jeanne Batalova
A Haitian-American book fair in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood
Articles
The U.S. Coast Guard interdicts a vessel with Cuban migrants.
Articles

Pages

Cover image for At the Breaking Point report
Reports
July 2023
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Doris Meissner, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Kathleen Bush-Joseph and Christopher Levesque
Cover image for the brief Understanding Poverty Declines
Policy Briefs
May 2023
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for SNAP Access and Participation brief
Policy Briefs
March 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Lillie Hinkle and Briana L. Broberg
Cover image for The Skills and Economic Outcomes of Immigrant and U.S.-Born College Graduates
Fact Sheets
December 2022
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for Four Strategies to Improve Community Services for Unaccompanied Children in the Unit
Policy Briefs
December 2022
By  Jonathan Beier, Lauren Farwell, Rhonda Fleischer and Essey Workie
Cover image for A Profile of Low-Income Immigrants in the United States
Fact Sheets
November 2022
By  Julia Gelatt, Valerie Lacarte and Joshua Rodriguez

Pages

The U.S. Coast Guard interdicts a vessel with Cuban migrants.

Amid the highest Caribbean maritime migration levels in a generation, the Biden administration is relying on a carrot-and-stick strategy it honed amid record unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The approach, combining limits on asylum, expanded legal pathways, and international enforcement partnerships, could be increasingly important if maritime migration rises, as this article explains.

A Vietnamese family in the kitchen.

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.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams meeting with asylum seekers.

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.

A sign for Calle Ocho in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood.

Cubans comprise the largest Caribbean immigrant group in the United States, and for decades have benefitted from uniquely preferential immigration programs. The population is growing, as recent years have seen the largest wave of emigration in Cuba's modern history. This article offers key statistics about the 1.3 million Cuban immigrants in the United States.

A nurse looks at a baby.

Immigrants from the Philippines make up the fourth largest foreign-born group in the United States, numbering nearly 2 million people. Compared to other U.S. immigrants, Filipinos are more likely to have strong English skills, be naturalized U.S. citizens, and hold a college degree. This article provides statistics about these and other elements of the Filipino immigrant population.

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Expert Q&A, Audio
May 18, 2023

MPI President Andrew Selee and two colleagues who joined him at the U.S.-Mexico border to examine increasingly sophisticated U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations discuss the evolution of policies and procedures to address asylum seekers and other migrants arriving at official ports of entry.

Expert Q&A, Audio
April 24, 2023

How are U.S. border operations and policies evolving at the U.S.-Mexico border to address rising and diversifying flows? And what is driving increasing immigration from across Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond? MPI President Andrew Selee speaks with two colleagues who traveled from one end of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary to the other, touring U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and interviewing U.S. and Mexican officials, NGO leaders, and others.

Image of USCIS Director Ur Jaddou
Video, Audio
April 11, 2023

Marking the launch of MPI’s Global Skills and Talent Initiative, this webcast features senior policymakers and other experts discussing the extent to which labor market needs should shape future immigration policy decisions, and how countries are adjusting—and could adjust—their immigration systems to meet human capital and competitiveness needs.

Attorney General William Tong
Video
September 20, 2022

Focusing on top immigration policy issues at federal and state levels, this 2022 Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured keynotes by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson exploring the growing role states are taking in the national immigration debate.

Help Wanted sign offers employment in a restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland
Video, Audio
April 20, 2022

Experts on this webinar examined the scope and reality of skills shortages and the role of immigrants in the U.S. labor market, ways to address the underemployment of highly skilled immigrants, and how immigrants and immigration policy can be used to fulfil needs in the education sector, STEM occupations, and other skills needs.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. The discussion also focuses on key recommendations from a report, The Unmet Potential of Community Consultations in U.S. Refugee Resettlement, and actionable steps toward a more inclusive, collaborative, and adaptable consultation process.

Reports
November 2023

As humanitarian migrant arrivals in the United States increase, via refugee resettlement and channels such as temporary parole, communication between the national, state, and local actors involved in supporting their reception and integration is critical. This report examines the goals and design of quarterly resettlement consultations, as well as opportunities to refine these processes to boost their impact and relevance in a changing policy landscape.

Articles

The U.S. immigration system is notorious for persistent backlogs and antiquated processes. In recent months, under-the-radar changes have made a dent in the logjam and helped bring the system into the 21st century. But some pandemic-era changes are set to expire, potentially undoing the incremental reforms. This article details the quiet technological and efficiency improvements in U.S. immigration operations.

Reports
November 2023

Nearly one-quarter of residents of the Houston metro area are immigrants. These foreign-born Houstonians come from an ever-wider range of countries and are well represented in high-demand industries, and make up a sizeable share of parents. This report sketches a profile of the Houston area’s immigrant population overall, and takes a closer look at the number and characteristics of those eligible to naturalize.

Articles

The United States is the world’s top destination for Haitian migrants, who in recent years have fled an array of disasters and crises. Compared to other immigrant groups in the United States, the nearly 731,000 Haitians are more likely to be naturalized citizens, arrive through family-based pathways, and work in the service industry, as this data-rich article details.

Commentaries
November 2023

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.

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. 

Articles

Amid the highest Caribbean maritime migration levels in a generation, the Biden administration is relying on a carrot-and-stick strategy it honed amid record unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The approach, combining limits on asylum, expanded legal pathways, and international enforcement partnerships, could be increasingly important if maritime migration rises, as this article explains.

Pages