E.g., 08/03/2020
E.g., 08/03/2020

Immigration Policy & Law

Immigration Policy & Law

Immigration legislative and administrative policies, legal statutes and court decisions, and regulations collectively shape nations' immigration systems—from visa allotments and immigrant-selection mechanisms to immigrant integration programs, border controls, and more. As international migration has increased in size and spread and as a number of nations are more flexibly adjusting their immigration systems, the research offered here examines the many permutations of immigration policy and law, often with a comparative lens.

Recent Activity

Commentaries
August 2018
By Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix, and Mark Greenberg
Protest at an immigration detention facility
Articles
Construction site in Kuwait
Honduran boy
Reports
July 2018
By Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee
Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador
Articles

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Reports
March 2015
By Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Chiamaka Nwosu
Policy Briefs
February 2015
By Ward Nouwen, Noel Clycq, and Daniela Uličná
Policy Briefs
February 2015
By Rafael Berger Sacramento

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While Europe and the United States saw terror attacks in 2016 carried out by radicalized immigrants or members of the second generation, policy responses varied on either side of the Atlantic. The perceived security threat posed by refugees was the main concern in the United States. Meanwhile, European debates centered more on concerns over loss of control of migration flows and lack of social cohesion.

With many countries in East Asia facing unfavorable demographic shifts in the form of aging populations, low fertility, and shrinking workforces, governments in 2016 continued to explore immigration as a potential policy solution. However, a tradition of cultural homogeneity and wariness among publics about increased immigration is leading policymakers to test the waters with very small steps.

In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.

Donald Trump has made a series of postelection statements suggesting he may backtrack on several campaign pledges on immigration, including building a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Still, his choice of top advisors points to a hard-line agenda. This Policy Beat article examines what some of the better known elements of Trump's immigration policy might look like.

Over the past decade, state and local policymakers have increasingly stepped into the void left by Washington over legislative reform of the immigration system and have enacted their own policies, particularly in regard to illegal immigration. This article explores this trend of increased activism and examines whether restrictive state immigration laws have had an effect on the size of immigrant populations at the state level.

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Video, Audio
April 29, 2014

This MPI panel discussion examines the U.S. deportation system with analysis on migrant apprehensions, removals, returns, and criminal prosecutions, and launches the report, "The Deportation Dilemma: Reconciling Tough and Humane Enforcement."

Audio
March 20, 2014

MPI experts, along with representatives from Gwinnett County Public Schools and the University of Georgia's Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education, discuss the educational experiences of Georgia’s first- and second-generation immigrant youth and where Georgia’s ambitious education reforms have met—or failed to meet—the needs of this growing population. 

Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse.

Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

Video, Audio
February 19, 2014

This discussion explores how the 2014 Greek Presidency of the European Union and the United States can work to address the challenges of managing migration while meeting humanitarian obligations and nurturing economic growth.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
August 2018

A Trump administration “public-charge” rule expected to be unveiled soon could create the potential to significantly reshape family-based legal immigration to the United States—and reduce arrivals from Asia, Latin America, and Africa—by imposing a de facto financial test that 40 percent of the U.S. born themselves would fail, as this commentary explains.

Policy Briefs
August 2018

EU policy debates about moving asylum seekers from overburdened frontline countries, such as Greece and Italy, to other Member States rarely consider how migrants form and act on preferences for certain destinations—and how difficult it may be to change these views. This issue brief explores decision-making among migrants in Greece, including how living conditions, jobs, and legal status factor in.

Articles

With the #AbolishICE movement catching fire among some on the left, critics of the Trump administration's immigration policies have seized on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as their main target—even condemning it for actions taken by other agencies. This article explores the evolution of ICE and resistance to it, as well as actions taken by the agency itself that have made its mission even more controversial.

Articles

In Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, migrants make up a significant share of the private-sector workforce. While mainstream narratives commonly focus on the exploitation and abuse some of these migrant workers experience, their lives and relationships with the native born are much more complex and less unequal than is often perceived, as this article explores.

Reports
August 2018

Even as populist radical-right parties have experienced mixed electoral success, their ideas have gained traction in Europe and the United States. This report analyzes the economic, political, and social factors behind the rise in support for the radical-right agenda, and the impact of this trend on immigration policymaking and the broader political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic.

Articles

Since fiscal year 2010, more than 70,000 immigrant children have applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a pathway to a green card for youth who have been abused or neglected by their parents. Based on interviews with SIJ applicants, judges, and attorneys, this article provides an overview of the SIJ program and identifies limitations on access.

Reports
July 2018

President Trump has made reshaping the U.S. immigration system a top priority. Yet the fragmented nature of policy-making in the United States—with power split between branches and levels of government—has made it difficult to pursue some of his most ambitious proposals. This report explores the evolution of migration policy under Trump, and what these changes may mean in the long run.

Articles

The deepening of Venezuela's social, economic, and political implosion has resulted in the fastest movement of people across borders in Latin American history. Neighboring countries have responded with a patchwork of policy measures, though the scale and growing diversity of Venezuelan arrivals have challenged regional actors, as this article explores.

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