E.g., 04/22/2024
E.g., 04/22/2024
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
September 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
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Reports
July 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee
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Policy Briefs
July 2018
By  Kate Hooper and Kathleen Newland
Reports
June 2018
By  Elizabeth Collett and Camille Le Coz
Reports
January 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee
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Policy Briefs
December 2017
By  Sarah Pierce and Andrew Selee

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U.S. immigration officials walk by a courthouse in Seattle.

New Biden administration guidelines encourage immigration prosecutors to support dismissing many low-priority deportation cases and focus on criminals, threats to national security, and other priorities. This move could have a major impact on clearing backlogs in the overstretched U.S. immigration court system, resulting in quicker determinations in removal and asylum cases, where wait times can presently stretch for years.

A woman in Italy is vaccinated before travel in 1951.

Requirements that international travelers and migrants prove vaccination against certain diseases are about as old as vaccines themselves. In some cases, vaccine certificates predated the existence of government-issued passports. This article explores the history of these requirements, which began with smallpox and have since been applied for diseases including cholera, polio, yellow fever, and, recently, COVID-19.

U.S. Border Patrol agents prepare to transport unauthorized migrants to Mexico under Title 42.

The United States’ controversial Title 42 migrant expulsions policy will come to an end in May 2022, after more than 1.7 million expulsions over two years. The COVID-19-era public-health restriction ushered in an unprecedented period of mass expulsions, including of would-be asylum seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Unwinding the policy will be complicated amid predictions of a significant increase in unauthorized migration.

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.

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MovingBeyondPandemicMattHerbert
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 21, 2020

As COVID-19 chilled global mobility, harmed economies, and sparked border closures and travel bans around the world, the pandemic has had an effect on the shadow migration world.

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Expert Q&A, Audio
October 6, 2020

Austria’s Vienna airport was an early adopter for in-airport COVID-19 tests, with results turned around within a few hours, sparing those with medical certificates from a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Can this serve as a model for restarting business travel and tourism? In this episode of our Moving Beyond Pandemic podcast, we talk to Vienna airport official Peter Kleemann to learn more.

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Expert Q&A, Audio
September 30, 2020

Australia has worked to develop a “biosecure” border, using hard travel lockdowns, internal borders, and quarantine to stem spread of the COVID-19 virus. Is it working? In this episode of our Moving Beyond Pandemic podcast, host Meghan Benton talks to Brendan Dowling of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

Video
September 21, 2020

This year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference examines the immigration policy agenda under the Trump administration, including changes in the asylum system; the vast societal upheaval brought on by COVID-19 and the rising racial justice movement; what the future of U.S. immigration may look like; and many other topics related to U.S. immigration policy.

Video, Audio
June 8, 2020

Amid rising Central American migration to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments in June 2019 signed a joint declaration pledging to work together to manage and reduce irregular migration. At the agreement’s one-year anniversary, MPI researchers engaged in discussion with former U.S. and Mexican Ambassadors and a veteran journalist about the changes sparked. 

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
March 2023

The border asylum proposed rule the Biden administration unveiled in February represents a bid to save the U.S. asylum system, not shut it down, as some contend. Whether it can succeed, however, depends on how it is implemented and on other steps that are beyond the bounds of the proposed rule, as this commentary explains.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Reports
January 2023

Although nearly all countries adopted travel measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, national approaches have varied considerably and often been controversial. In many cases, decisionmakers failed to clearly communicate the rationale for using certain measures. This report looks at how governments and international organizations approached travel-related risk analysis, and what it would take to do this more strategically in future public-health emergencies.

Articles

Every year, thousands of migrants ordered deported from EU Member States, the United States, and elsewhere are not returned to their origin countries. Why? One reason is the multiple nations that refuse to cooperate on readmitting their nationals abroad. This article explores the motivations behind countries’ lack of cooperation and how deporting states have responded.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 15, 2022

As the planet’s temperature warms, award-winning environmental journalist Gaia Vince thinks humanity is facing a chaotic century of mass migration spurred by climate change? In this episode of Changing Climate, Changing Migration, she contemplates a future in which hundreds of millions of people move from one part of the globe to another.

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.

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