E.g., 06/18/2021
E.g., 06/18/2021
Immigration Policy & Law

Immigration Policy & Law

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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

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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Diego Chaves-González
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Articles
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Reports
February 2021
By  Jessica Bolter, Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner
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Articles

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Reports
November 2020
By  Liam Patuzzi, Monica Andriescu and Antonio Pietropolli
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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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In the United States, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on immigration. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have offered sharply diverging policy positions, and the outcome of the election is sure to have profound consequences for the U.S. immigration system. Yet this partisan divide is relatively new. Just two decades ago, the parties were much more united on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy and society.

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Nearly 13 million immigrants have a four-year college degree or better. But these highly educated immigrants are not spread evenly throughout the labor market. They make up disproportionate shares of certain jobs, especially in the science and technology fields, accounting for 45 percent of software developers, 42 percent of physical scientists, and 29 percent of physicians. Yet there are signs that the trends of this population might be changing, as this article explores.

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A looming furlough of 70 percent of staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services could halt processing for tens of thousands of green cards, citizenship applications, and other immigrant benefits each month it is in effect. Alongside the long list of Trump administration policies slowing immigration to the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, this could contribute to a precipitous—and likely historic—decline in new arrivals to the United States.

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Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest migrant-origin countries, and money sent home by its workers abroad is crucial to an economy that has become one of the more vibrant ones in South Asia. Against this backdrop, the COVID-19 pandemic has injected turmoil into the economy as Bangladeshi migrants have lost their jobs, families are seeing reduced remittances, and would-be migrant workers have had to shelve their plans to work abroad.

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Calls by activists to "defund the police," in the wake of a string of deadly encounters for Black community members, echo earlier demands to "abolish ICE" and reflect broader criticism of enforcement systems perceived as overly aggressive. Budgets have ballooned at federal immigration agencies and within the immigrant detention system as enforcement has become increasingly muscular in the post-9/11 period.

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Commentaries
May 2019
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
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Commentaries
March 2019
By  Julia Gelatt
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Commentaries
January 2019
By  Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad
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Commentaries
August 2018
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Elizabeth Collett and Susan Fratzke

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Video, Audio
September 10, 2020

Top legal scholars discuss the Trump administration’s substantial use of executive power to change the country’s course on immigration, how this compares to past administrations, and how the president’s role in immigration policy could be carefully considered and reimagined.

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Video, Audio
August 26, 2020

This conversation, featuring a former U.S. Census Bureau director and other top experts, examines how the many challenges facing the 2020 Census could affect the count and representation of immigrant communities, the difficulties inherent in data matching to determine legal status, and the legal and constitutional issues surrounding the administration’s actions.

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Video, Audio
July 16, 2020

Marking the launch of a report on changed USCIS procedures that appear to be adding hurdles to the citizenship process, this discussion also examines the effects that the pandemic-related shutdown and a possible furlough of two-thirds of USCIS staff could have on the ability of would-be Americans to take the oath of citizenship. The conversation, featuring a former USCIS Director, also draws on a national survey of naturalization assistance providers.

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Video, Audio
June 16, 2020

This webchat marks the release of a report examining the role native language assessments play in addressing equity concerns for English Learner (EL) students.

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Video, Audio
June 8, 2020

Following months of rising Central American migration through Mexico to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments on June 7, 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.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
February 2021

The Biden administration's challenge to dismantle Trump-era barriers to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border is akin to fixing a plane while flying it. This commentary examines actions taken to date and articulates a series of steps that could help establish an effective, humane asylum system that works in tandem with border management goals and efforts to reduce the drivers of migration through regional migration management measures with neighboring countries.

Commentaries
February 2021

The DREAM Act of 2021 could represent one of the narrower legalization measures with better prospects for passage in a narrowly divided Congress. MPI's latest estimates of the DREAMers who could gain conditional and then permanent legal status are offered here, as are the share of DREAMers who feature in another ongoing conversation, around essential workers in the U.S. labor market overall as well as in the health-care sector.

Commentaries
February 2021

Colombian President Iván Duque’s announcement that the estimated 1.7 million Venezuelans in Colombia will receive a ten-year protection status represents a bold, first-of-its-kind move in Latin America. However, translating this ambitious legalization into action will require both a massive logistical effort and long-term planning to assure social cohesion, as this commentary explores.

Policy Briefs
February 2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on European labor markets have focused attention on weathering this crisis, Europe also faces longer-term challenges linked to technological and demographic changes. This issue brief examines how the pandemic is reshaping demand for workers and skills in Europe, what this means for migration policy, and strategies for tackling both short- and long-term labor market challenges.

Articles

Have a question about U.S. immigration trends and the country's immigrant population? This article collects in one place the most sought-after information about the world's largest immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Drawing from a wide array of authoritative data sources, this article provides an up-to-date snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and information on emerging trends, including slowing immigration and changing origins.

Video, Webinars
February 4, 2021

Following President Biden's call on Congress to enact a sweeping immigration proposal that offers most unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship, this discussion examines the prospects for any legislative efforts at immigration reform, what bipartisan support might develop, and the various legalization policy options. The event also showcases MPI estimates of subgroups within the unauthorized population, including DREAMers and essential workers. 

Reports
February 2021

With legalization of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population back on the table, this report offers estimates and characteristics for subgroups that have particularly strong equities, including DREAMers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and parents and spouses of U.S. citizens. It also traces past legalizations and details the range and scope of legalization options that policymakers have.

Articles

The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.

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