E.g., 06/22/2024
E.g., 06/22/2024
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 A Profile of Low-Income Immigrants in the United States
Fact Sheets
November 2022
By  Julia Gelatt, Valerie Lacarte and Joshua Rodriguez
Photo of a preschool teacher reading to students.
Commentaries
November 2022
By  Jacob Hofstetter, Alexis Fintland and Maki Park
Venezuelan migrants at a reception center in Brazil.
Articles
A mariachi band performing in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Articles
Image of an infographic showing key DLL stats
Fact Sheets
October 2022
By  Ivana Tú Nhi Giang and Maki Park

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Immigration Enforcement and the Mental Health of Latino High School Students
Reports
September 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jodi Berger Cardoso, Kalina Brabeck, Michael Fix and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Stethoscope sitting on a medical textbook
Fact Sheets
July 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Sarah Pierce
Coverthumb MPI Naturalization Changes
Reports
July 2020
By  Randy Capps and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada
Native Language Assessments for K-12 English Learners: Policy Considerations and State Practices
Policy Briefs
June 2020
By  Julie Sugarman and Leslie Villegas

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A word cloud showing terminology used to refer to people crossing borders.

What’s in a name? Terms used to refer to people crossing international borders are frequently debated and often evolve, amid efforts to shape the narrative and changing political realities. This article explores the history and evolving use of terms such as "migrant," "refugee," "illegal immigrant," "unauthorized immigrant," and more.

An image of an immigration boarding line.

Need information about U.S. immigration trends or the makeup of the country's immigrant population? This useful, stats-rich article answers the most common questions about the size, shape, and changing nature of the U.S. foreign-born population. It also offers data on immigration enforcement actions, backlogs, and other elements of the U.S. immigration system.

A construction crew works on a wall the U.S.-Mexico border.

The number of border walls globally has multiplied at a rapid clip, from fewer than five at the end of World War II to more than six dozen now, with more under construction. Most of the world's border fortifications have been built since the turn of the millennium, and are intended to accomplish a range of functions. This article charts the remarkable growth and normalization of border walls globally.

A pile of documents on a desk.

President Joe Biden has made efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, but could see his administration's agenda slowed by massive backlogs across the immigration system. Case application wait times and immigration court queues have swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, slowing legal arrivals to the United States and undermining the entire immigration system.

A couple celebrating carnival at home.

South Americans make up a relatively small share of all U.S. immigrants. But their numbers have been growing in recent years and flows are diversifying, particularly with new arrivals from Venezuela. This article offers key statistics on the South American immigrant population in the United States.

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Andrew Selee and Jason DeParle
Video, Audio
August 20, 2019

Marking the launch of New York Times reporter Jason DeParle's book tracing the arc of migration and its impacts through the life of an extended family of Filipino migrants over a three-decade period, from Manila and through Dubai to the Houston area, this conversation with MPI's Andrew Selee and the World Bank's Dilip Ratha explores migration at both a global and very personal level.

Cecilia Munoz and Carlos Gutierrez
Video, Audio
August 12, 2019

This discussion marked the launch of MPI's Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy Initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration should play in America’s future, as well as to build a bipartisan center so needed reforms can be enacted.

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Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

EVENTPHOTO2019.6.25 CharlesKamasaki DorisMeissner
Video, Audio
June 26, 2019

This discussion on the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) showcases MPI Fellow Charles Kamasaki's book, Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die. Kamasaki is joined by other veterans of the IRCA debate for a conversation on the lessons, the intended and unintended consequences, and how the law’s legacy has shaped contemporary politics on immigration.

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Video, Audio
May 17, 2019

With the U.S. administration calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, this conversation focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change.

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Recent Activity

Fact Sheets
November 2022

Immigrants in the United States experience strong economic mobility overall. But for some, limited educational attainment and English proficiency, and the challenges of restarting life in a new country, can result in low incomes and economic hardship. This fact sheet looks at the origins, states of residence, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and employment of low-income immigrants.

Commentaries
November 2022

Shortages of workers continue to plague early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems across the United States. With the field already struggling to effectively serve young children in families that speak languages other than English, apprenticeship programs offer a promising solution to bring more—and more multilingual—workers into early childhood careers.

Articles

The Biden administration’s policy to expel some Venezuelan border arrivals to Mexico marks a significant reversal. For the first time, the U.S. government is invoking the controversial Title 42 expulsions policy not on public-health grounds but as an explicit immigration enforcement measure. The expulsions are being paired with a new humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelans. This article assesses the policy and the uneven treatment of humanitarian migrants by nationality.

Reports
October 2022

There has been a flurry of digital activity in the asylum field since the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted protection operations, and it has led officials to rethink how everything from registration to case adjudication happens. But what does this increasing use of technology mean for the people and processes involved? This report explores this question, as well as the challenges of balancing technology’s potential benefits with measures to mitigate its risks.

Commentaries
October 2022

Los titulares enfocados en la cifra récord de 2,4 millones de migrantes encontrados en la frontera México-Estados Unidos durante el año fiscal 2022 encubren la historia más importante: Los flujos migratorios se han diversificado rápidamente más allá de México y el norte Centroamérica, y como resultado, las políticas de control migratorio son incongruentes con la realidad de hoy. Esto demuestra la evidente necesitad de nuevos enfoques regionales, argumenta este comentario.

Commentaries
October 2022

Headlines focusing on the record-breaking nature of the 2.4 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 overlook the much bigger story: Migrant and asylum seeker flows have rapidly diversified beyond Mexico and northern Central America and as a result, U.S. enforcement policies are misaligned. Today's reality sharply underscores the need for new regional approaches, this commentary argues.

Articles

Mexicans are by far the largest immigrant group in the United States, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all immigrants. However their numbers have been declining and in 2021 there were 1 million fewer than a decade ago. At the same time, despite years in which more new migrants came from China and India, Mexicans once again count as the largest group of new arrivals. This article outlines the changing shape and composition of this immigrant population.

Fact Sheets
October 2022

How many Dual Language Learner (DLL) children live in your state, and what share do they comprise of all children under age 5? What languages are most commonly spoken in their households? Answers to these and other questions that are critical to the design and implementation of early childhood programs that reach all children equitably are presented in a series of state-level data fact sheets.

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