E.g., 02/23/2024
E.g., 02/23/2024
United States

United States

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Historically a nation of immigrants, the United States is home to nearly 45 million immigrants, who represent 13.7 percent of the total population and play a key role in the economic, civic, and cultural life of the country. The research collected here covers many facets of immigration to the United States, by the numbers and how immigrants fare in the country's classrooms and workplaces, the policies and regulations that shape the admission of new immigrants, the enforcement programs and polices in place at U.S. borders and within the interior, and integration policies and efforts taking place in local communities, in states, and at the federal level.

Recent Activity

Varias personas portan una bandera gigante de Colombia en un desfile en Washington, DC.
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People carry a giant Colombian flag at a parade in Washington, DC.
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a conference in Tampa.
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A refugee family in Phoenix.
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Cover image for Migration Narratives in Northern Central America
Reports
June 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Alejandra Lopez and Alejandro Vélez Salas
Banderas de las naciones centroamericanas en una marcha en San Diego.
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Cover image Cultural Competency Secrets to Success with Immigrant and Refugee Families
Policy Briefs
May 2022
By  Chris Estes, Devin Deaton, Aparna Jayashankar and Margie McHugh
Cover image for Growing Language Skills with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting
Policy Briefs
May 2022
By  Chris Estes, Devin Deaton, Aparna Jayashankar and Margie McHugh
Cover image for Better Responses to Differing Immigration Statuses: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Work
Policy Briefs
May 2022
By  Chris Estes, Devin Deaton, Aparna Jayashankar and Margie McHugh
Cover image for Building Trust with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Work
Policy Briefs
May 2022
By  Chris Estes, Devin Deaton, Aparna Jayashankar and Margie McHugh
Cover image for COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2021
Reports
May 2022
By  Meghan Benton, Samuel Davidoff-Gore, Jeanne Batalova, Lawrence Huang and Jie Zong

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The U.S. Supreme Court.

Virtually all major U.S. immigration policy reforms have faced lawsuits in recent years, giving federal judges wide latitude to shape national policy. The situation, which began during the Obama administration and has escalated, is a byproduct of congressional inaction and the emergence of immigration as a political wedge issue. This article tracks the trend, which has added new volatility to the immigration system, and places it in context.

A flag hangs at the vice president's residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

Want to check a fact about U.S. immigration? Interested in putting recent trends into perspective? This article compiles authoritative, up-to-date information about the U.S. immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Data cover immigrants' demographic, educational, and linguistic characteristics; their top states of residence; enforcement activities; refugees and asylum seekers; naturalization trends; visa backlogs; and more.

President Joe Biden in the White House.

Pandemic-related U.S. policies have led to more than 2.6 million migrant expulsions at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanded public benefits to cover millions more U.S. residents, and offered free COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Many of these policies are now likely to end as the Biden administration in May 2023 formally declares the pandemic to be over, although what comes next remains unclear.

Asylum seekers from Venezuela in Texas.

Venezuelans comprise one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, nearly tripling in size from 2010 to 2021. Much of this migration has been fueled by crisis in Venezuela, where political unrest and economic strife have caused millions to flee since 2015, most remaining in Latin America. Venezuelan immigrants are far more likely than the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations to have a college degree. Take an in-depth look at this immigrant population.

President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At his term's midpoint, President Joe Biden has relied on executive action to advance his immigration agenda more than his predecessors, including Donald Trump. Yet many of the changes to interior enforcement, humanitarian protection, and other areas have been overshadowed by the record pace of arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has presented the administration with major policy and operational challenges.

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MigrantCaravanMXCity2018_Wotancito_WikiCommons
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
MigrantsTijuanaRiverBed_BBCWorldService2014
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
DREAMERS Justin ValasFlickr
Commentaries
March 2019
By  Julia Gelatt
BorderWall CBP ManiAlbrecht
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January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
NationalGuardSouthernBorder
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November 2018
By  Doris Meissner
UnauthorizedMethodologyCommentary Photo
Commentaries
September 2018
By  Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix and Jennifer Van Hook
FamilySnapBenefits
Commentaries
August 2018
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg

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Expert Q&A, Audio
November 5, 2021

In this World of Migration podcast episode, Margie McHugh, director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, chats with Ivana Tú Nhi Giang about the important role of integration, for immigrants themselves and the broader society, and the varying degrees of intentionality in integration policy design around the world.

Video, Audio
November 2, 2021

This webinar examines how the pandemic upended school life, the challenges for high school English Learners (ELs), state- and district-level efforts that can help ELs recover academically and address mental health needs, and the results of new research on the postsecondary aspirations of immigrant-background Latina/o students following the pandemic. 

World of Migration Podcast Episode 4
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 29, 2021

The architecture of the U.S. legal immigration system rests on a 1965 law and was last significantly updated in 1990. While there is widespread agreement that the existing framework does not align with the needs and realities of the 21st century, Congress has proven unable to enact significant legislative reform over the past two decades. How have debates on immigration changed and is achieving bipartisan consensus on this highly charged issue possible today?

World of Migration podcast episode 3 tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 20, 2021

People on all sides of the policy debate largely agree that the U.S. immigration system is broken. What should a 21st century system that works in the national interest look like? And is this vision achievable amid current political realities?

World of Migration Episode 1
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 13, 2021

MPI co-founder Demetrios G. Papademetriou takes on many questions, including whether the role of think tanks has evolved over the last two decades, in this World of Migration conversation with MPI’s Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan. They also look ahead to the challenges that will dominate immigration policymaking in the years ahead.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Cerca de 855,000 inmigrantes colombianos residían en los Estados Unidos, lo que representa alrededor del 2 por ciento de los 45.3 millones de inmigrantes estadounidenses en general y el grupo más numeroso procedente de Sudamérica. Casi uno de cada cuatro inmigrantes de Sudamérica en los Estados Unidos procedía de Colombia.

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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.

Reports
June 2023

Many actors have a hand in refugee resettlement, including national and local governments, international organizations, and civil society. Strong coordination between these stakeholders is needed if resettlement programs are to operate smoothly, provide appropriate support to refugees, and potentially grow. This report explores common challenges to developing this type of coordination as well as strategies to address them.

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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.

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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.

Reports
June 2023

One promising—but often underutilized—element of addressing the world’s urgent humanitarian protection needs is meaningfully engaging refugees in policymaking processes. As this report highlights, consultations, advisory roles, and leadership and staff positions can help ensure refugees’ knowledge and expertise are reflected in policy responses to displacement. The study also examines common limitations and ways to make engagement more impactful.  

Reports
June 2023

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have long histories of emigration, but are seeing increasing transit and return migration as well. This report explores the stories told within these three countries about migration in all its forms, how these narratives intersect with (and at times, contradict) each other, and how they influence policy decisions and public opinion.

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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.

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