E.g., 09/30/2022
E.g., 09/30/2022
North America

North America

North America is a dynamic migration region, with the United States home to more immigrants than any other country in the world, the Mexico-U.S. corridor the globe's top migration corridor, and Canada a leading destination for migrants. Research collected here focuses on everything from visa policy and border management to immigrant integration, national identity, the demographics of immigrants in the region and their educational and workforce outcomes, and ways to more effectively use migration policy as a lever for national and regional competitiveness.

Recent Activity

Cover image for Rethinking the U.S. Legal Immigration System: A Policy Road Map
Policy Briefs
May 2021
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt and Doris Meissner
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
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Reports
February 2021
By  Jessica Bolter, Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt

Pages

Cover image for Rethinking the U.S. Legal Immigration System: A Policy Road Map
Policy Briefs
May 2021
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt and Doris Meissner
coverthumb_rethinking legalization 2021
Reports
February 2021
By  Jessica Bolter, Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner
coverthumb_biden starting gate
Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
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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Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks before a briefing on border security.

Operations by Texas, Florida, and Arizona to bus or fly asylum seekers and other migrants to Washington, DC, Martha's Vineyard, and other cities have succeeded in drawing attention to the unprecedented pace of U.S.-Mexico border arrivals. Described by some as political pawns, many migrants say the trips have upsides. Consequences aside, the transport of migrants by Republican governors raises the question whether a new era has begun: state-on-state fights over immigration.

A tourist takes a selfie in New York City.

COVID-19 and restrictive policies from the Trump administration led to the most dramatic slowdown of temporary immigration to the United States in years, as fewer tourists, temporary workers, and international students arrived. This article reviews the trends in issuance of nonimmigrant visas and arrivals of temporary visitors, including the numbers issued annually over the past five years and the top countries of origin.

 Close-up image of passport with third gender X marker

In 2022, the United States joined a growing list of countries that allow for a third gender option (the “X” marker) in passports. This article examines the introduction of the X marker, the impacts of third gender markers for transgender and nonbinary travelers and migrants as well as border management systems, and the evolving policy landscape ahead.

Image of band playing music at a concert in Athens, GA.

Persistent economic turmoil and civil and political insecurity have been drivers of emigration from Brazil, including to the United States. Although the number of Brazilian immigrants in the United States has been on the rise since the 1980s, the magnitude of these flows has made the past decade unique. Read a useful profile of Brazilians immigrants, including U.S. destinations, modes of entry, and educational and work characteristics.

Image of passport page with variety of stamps

Looking for some of the most often-sought information on global migration? This statistics-rich article draws on the most current data sources to offer a primer on international migration, highlighting its types, the size of the migrant population and growth over time, and major sending and receiving countries and regions. Beyond looking at labor and humanitarian migrants and international students, the article examines remittances and more.

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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
June 2020
By  Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
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Commentaries
January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
November 2018
By  Doris Meissner
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Doris Meissner
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Commentaries
August 2017
By  Doris Meissner

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Explainers
April 2019

How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.

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Explainers
April 2019

Through which visa categories can immigrants move temporarily or permanently to the United States? What are the main channels by which people come, and who can sponsor them for a green card? Are there limits on visa categories? And who is waiting in the green-card backlog? This explainer answers basic questions about temporary and permanent immigration via family, employment, humanitarian, and other channels.

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.

Evacuees prepare to board a C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, Aug. 18, 2021
Video, Audio
August 10, 2022

Marking the one-year withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, this webinar reflects on the humanitarian and development challenges in Afghanistan and for neighbors, the difficult choices facing aid donors, and what needs to be done to ensure at-risk Afghans can reach safety.

closed until further notice in window due to the COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic,
Video, Audio
June 30, 2022

On this webinar, speakers examine how government strategies, practices, and instruments of integration policymaking have adapted during the pandemic both in Europe and North America, and what lessons there are for the future.

Farmers working in a maize field framed with avocado plants in the village of San Lorenzo
Video
June 21, 2022

On this webinar, speakers discuss the main challenges faced by countries of origin and destination in ensuring mutual benefits through labor migration and strategies moving forward related to migration and development in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. 

Image of worker in corn field, checking corn
Video, Audio
June 14, 2022

Este seminario web, que presenta el lanzamiento de un informe, examina el potencial de Canadá, México y Costa Rica para expandir los programas de trabajadores temporales para los centroamericanos, ofreciendo un medio importante para convertir algunos flujos irregulares en flujos legales.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
March 2022

Dating to the 1950s, Congress on multiple occasions has provided a direct path to permanent residence for Hungarians, Vietnamese, Cubans, and others fleeing upheaval in their countries. Given this precedent, this commentary suggests Congress should act to provide a more secure future for the more than 72,000 Afghans who were airlifted to the United States under an uncertain immigration status known as parole.

Reports
October 2021

Nearly two decades since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was founded in 2003, U.S. immigration governance is buckling from breakdowns in performance across key immigration components and partner agencies. This report advances ideas for DHS to fix its governance to manage immigration as a system, focusing on challenges in mission and structure, intra-DHS and interdepartmental collaboration, funding, and institutional culture.

Reports
August 2021

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.

Commentaries
August 2021

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.

Policy Briefs
May 2021

The U.S. legal immigration system, last significantly updated by Congress in 1990, is profoundly misaligned with demographic and other realities—resulting in enormous consequences for the country and for its economy. This road map sketches the broad contours of some of the most needed reforms in the legal immigration system, made all the more urgent by U.S. population aging and changing labor market demands.

Commentaries
February 2021

The Biden administration's challenge to dismantle Trump-era barriers to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border is akin to fixing a plane while flying it. This commentary examines actions taken to date and articulates a series of steps that could help establish an effective, humane asylum system that works in tandem with border management goals and efforts to reduce the drivers of migration through regional migration management measures with neighboring countries.

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.

Policy Briefs
November 2020

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.

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