E.g., 03/02/2024
E.g., 03/02/2024
Border Security

Border Security

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In an era when countries are increasingly exposed to the opportunities and risks associated with the rising global movement of people, policymakers are rethinking approaches to border controls and border management. These policies and programs run the gamut—from facilitating legitimate mobility of people and trade to thwarting unauthorized movements, the latter a significant preoccupation in the post-9/11 era and as publics have become ever less accepting of unauthorized immigration. The research offered here examines the management of borders, enforcement policies and initiatives, and border security technologies.

Recent Activity

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Reports
April 2021
By  Meghan Benton, Jeanne Batalova, Samuel Davidoff-Gore and Timo Schmidt
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Policy Briefs
September 2020
By  Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley and Andrew Selee

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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.

Crossers at the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border

A political crisis marked by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s growing authoritarianism has sparked the largest emigration in the country’s modern history. Hundreds of thousands have fled, including intellectuals, artists, and academics. They increasingly are heading beyond the traditional destination of Costa Rica, to the United States and beyond, as this article details.

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.

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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Commentaries
January 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
March 2017
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou
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Commentaries
February 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett
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Commentaries
November 2016
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Commentaries
June 2016
By  Will Somerville
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Commentaries
April 2016
By  Hanne Beirens and Paul Clewett
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Commentaries
March 2016
By  Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
September 2015
By  Elizabeth Collett

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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.

Video, Audio
September 27, 2021

The 2021 annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured a keynote conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and analysis by top experts on the early months of the Biden administration and how immigration law and policy can respond to our changing world in a manner that is humane and in the national interest.

Video, Audio
September 2, 2021

The sprawling U.S. immigration detention system has long been controversial for its conditions of care, number of immigrants and asylum seekers detained, and costs. This discussion of a report provides a vision for a reimagined immigration custody system. 

Video, Audio
July 21, 2021

Featuring findings from a recent MPI report, speakers examined the process of releasing unaccompanied children to sponsors, the current structure of federal post-release services, and the most significant needs these children and their U.S. sponsors experience.

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Recent Activity

Expert Q&A, Audio
May 23, 2023

MPI's Lawrence Huang discusses COVID-19 mobility restrictions in China and the Asia Pacific—and what this all means for future public health crises—with Dr. Karen Grépin, a health policy professor at the University of Hong Kong.

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.

Articles

Algeria and Morocco sit along a crucial migration corridor between Africa and Europe and have often been defined by their rivalry. Although both have been reluctant to welcome large numbers of sub-Saharan African migrants, their motivations have been different. And historically, their approaches to emigration have been a study in contrasts. This article explores the factors driving migration policy in these two countries.

Articles

Central Americans comprise less than one-tenth of the overall U.S. foreign-born population, but their numbers have grown tenfold since 1980, amid economic challenges, political crises, and natural disasters in their region. This article provides a comprehensive look at this population.

Commentaries
May 2023

Amid a potentially dramatic rethink in the U.S. approach to management of migration from the Western Hemisphere, the creation of Regional Processing Centers (now known as Safe Mobility Offices, or SMOs) across Latin America will be central to the post-Title 42 strategy, as this commentary explains.

Commentaries
April 2023

Facing a dramatically different reality arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border with the end of a pandemic-era policy that resulted in more than 3 million expulsions, the Biden administration unveiled a policy vision that marries expanded legal pathways with stiff consequences for those seeking to enter without authorization. The strategy can succeed, but speedier while still fair border asylum decisionmaking must be an essential component, this commentary argues.

Articles

The revised U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement closes what critics call a loophole that incentivizes unauthorized border crossings of asylum seekers. While responding to Canadian concerns of increasing irregular arrivals from the United States, the change—taken in tandem with U.S. moves at the U.S.-Mexico border—suggests that the Biden administration increasingly wants to rely on neighboring countries to respond to rising asylum claims.

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.

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