E.g., 04/06/2020
E.g., 04/06/2020

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.

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Fears regarding the spread of the deadly Ebola virus following an outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone prompted governments around the world to regulate travel from and within West Africa. Travel bans, airport health screenings, closed borders, and traveler quarantines were among the policies implemented. International organizations argue such restrictions drive possibly symptomatic travelers to illegally bypass borders and encourage dishonesty in the exit screening process.

Mass cases of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers have drawn international scrutiny and criticism of the kafala system in Gulf Cooperation Council countries and private recruitment practices in Southeast Asia. With Qatar under scrutiny amid a frenzied construction boom in advance of the 2022 World Cup, international organizations and human-rights groups in 2014 stepped up their campaign for worker protection reforms.

Increasing numbers of Westerners heading to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist organizations like ISIS have governments concerned about possible attacks at home by returning fighters. Several thousand fighters from Europe and other Western countries are believed among the foreign nationals involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers scrambled in 2014 to respond with new policies, including seizing passports, stripping citizenship, and criminalizing travel to "no go" zones.

In recent years emigration from Mexico has declined, the country's stable economy has drawn an increasing number of international migrants, and the pace of transmigration to the United States has quickened. Amid these changing realities, punctuated by a spike in migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America in 2014, Mexico is confronting a new role as migration manager: balancing increasing enforcement and protection of migrants' rights.

With a range of policies in 2014, China sought to address changing large-scale migration patterns within the country and beyond. This year included promises to reform the hukou registration system and thus enable an estimated 100 million internal migrants to access social services in the cities where they live, schemes to entice the return of emigrant professionals, and crackdowns on corrupt officials who send their families and money abroad.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
March 2017

The revised travel ban executive order signed by President Trump on March 6, 2017 significantly narrows an earlier order that provoked chaos at U.S. airports and sparked many legal challenges. Still, as with the earlier version, it represents a sharp cut in the refugee resettlement program and restricts nationals from six majority-Muslim countries from newly entering the United States, as this commentary explores.

Reports
March 2017

Cities have played a significant role in addressing Europe’s migration crisis, including by helping migrants and refugees integrate successfully into the local labor market. This report identifies concrete actions that could be taken to better leverage European Union soft law, funding, and knowledge exchange mechanisms to support cities’ activities in this area and to deliver more effective services.

 

Reports
March 2017

This MPI Europe report examines the challenges that cities across the European Union are facing when helping new arrivals access education and training, including limited funding and need for better monitoring of program outcomes. It also highlights innovative ways municipalities support newly arrived migrants as they enter the education system and local labor force, including two-generation and co-located services as well as "whole-place" approaches.

Articles

Faced with labor shortages in key sectors of the economy, South Korea has moved carefully in recent decades toward accepting greater numbers of workers—albeit in temporary fashion. Its Employment Permit System, launched in 2003, earned international accolades for bringing order and legality to immigration in the country, although several challenges remain to be addressed as this Country Profile explores.

Reports
February 2017

Nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants in the United States, more than half coming with academic and professional credentials, are unable to fully utilize their professional skills and instead are stuck in low-skilled work or are unemployed. This report explores a range of programs and policies that are providing cutting-edge career navigation, relicensing, gap filling, and job search assistance to remedy this brain waste.

Policy Briefs
February 2017

This brief outlines key provisions in an executive order signed by President Trump that makes sweeping changes to immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior, including significantly broadening the categories of unauthorized immigrants who are priorities for removal. The brief examines the executive order and accompanying Department of Homeland Security guidance, comparing them to prior policy and practice.

Articles

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt President Trump's controversial executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement has strong legal parallels to an earlier injunction, which blocked a very different Obama administration initiative on immigration two years ago in a challenge mounted by Republican governors. The two cases have brought new focus to the limits of executive authority in the immigration arena.

Articles

Two significant migration shifts at the U.S.-Mexico border have been obscured by talk of walls and further border security: Mexicans no longer represent the top unauthorized crossers, replaced by Central Americans seeking protection, and flows are diversifying with increased arrivals of Cubans, Haitians, Asians, and Africans. This article sketches the evolving trends, which have key implications for U.S. and regional migration policy.

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