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E.g., 06/17/2021
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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A boy peers through fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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Reports
May 2018
By  Randy Capps, Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Systemic corruption has flourished in South Africa's asylum system due to large backlogs and rising demand. Though apartheid's end ushered in a progressive refugee law, inefficiency, administrative justice violations, and corruption have narrowed the humanitarian protection channel. Asylum seekers and refugees often face the stark choice of paying bribes to access services or risking deportation.

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Signed into law 50 years ago, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 had several unintended consequences that have had a profound effect on the flow of immigrants to the United States and contributed to the transformation of the U.S. demographic profile. This Policy Beat explores the law's lasting impact and lessons for policymaking today.

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Japan is one of the world's most generous contributors to humanitarian appeals, yet accepts a very small number of asylum seekers—indeed only 11 were granted refugee status in 2014. Even as Japan has witnessed a record number of asylum applications, the approval rate has declined. This feature explores Japan's low acceptance of asylum seekers, including institutional barriers and negative public perceptions.

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The annual inflow of new lawful permanent residents (LPRs), also known as green-card holders, has ebbed and flowed with changes in U.S. immigration policy and processing backlogs. This data Spotlight delves into legal immigration in the United States, covering class of admission, country of origin, destination states, and more.

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Facing legal setbacks and political opposition, the Obama administration may be required to overhaul its policy of detaining families in immigration custody. Recent court decisions have undermined the government's justification of the policy as a deterrent to future illegal immigration and may result in the release of more than 1,400 unauthorized immigrant women and children.

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Video, Audio
June 3, 2010

MPI report release with Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias, Luzviminda Padilla, Jeni Klugman, and Kathleen Newland, which examines the Philippines' large and sophisticated system of overseas labor deployment.

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Video, Audio
May 25, 2010

A discussion on possible reforms to the immigration adjudication system and the recent report on the topic by the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration.

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Video
May 18, 2010
Award winners were honored at the second annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC, on May 18, 2010.
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Video, Audio
April 22, 2010

'Securing Human Mobility' book release discussion with Susan Ginsburg, Michael German, Luis Rubio, and Donald M. Kerwin.

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Video, Audio
April 12, 2010

Public Policy Institute of California researchers Magnus Lofstrom and Laura Hill discuss their research examining the potential labor market outcomes and other possible economic effects of a legalization program.

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Recent Activity

Books
June, 2018

Wall or no wall, deeply intertwined social, economic, business, cultural, and personal relationships mean the U.S.-Mexico border is more like a seam than a barrier, weaving together two economies and cultures, as MPI President Andrew Selee sketches in this book, which draws from his travels and discussions with people from all walks of life in Mexico and the United States.

Articles

Though small, the population of Canadians in the United States is quite diverse, and includes students, highly skilled professionals on H-1B or NAFTA visas, family migrants, and retirees. Canadian immigrants have much higher educational attainment and incomes than the native- and overall foreign-born populations. This article offers an interesting data snapshot of Canadians in the United States.

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Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.

Video, Audio
May 8, 2018

Discussion at this event focused on findings from MPI's report examining the interior immigration enforcement system in the United States, including ICE data on deportations and arrests, and the responses of state and local governments, civil society, and consulates.  

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Nearly 2.5 million immigrants have passed through the U.S. immigration detention system since 2003. As the United States has expanded detention in recent decades, it has increasingly relied on contracts with facilities run by for-profit companies to house large numbers of detainees. This article traces the growing involvement of the private prison industry in U.S. immigration enforcement.

Reports
May 2018

The Trump administration has significantly cranked up the immigration enforcement machinery in the U.S. interior. Yet even as arrests and deportations are up in the early Trump months, they remain less than half their peaks. This report demonstrates how pushback from California and other "sanctuary" locations makes it quite unlikely that ICE will be able to match record enforcement levels.

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Seizing on reports of a migrant “caravan” making its way northward through Mexico, President Donald Trump called for up to 4,000 National Guard troops to deploy to the Southern border. Although previous presidents took similar action in response to upticks in violence and apprehensions, the picture at the border today differs on several metrics. This article examines how the deployment compares to those under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

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A small, isolated country, Iceland has been home to a largely homogenous population for much of its history. But in recent years, a booming economy and expanding tourism sector have drawn rising numbers of immigrants to the island nation. This article explores Iceland's balancing act of maintaining economic growth through immigration while preserving its culture and language.

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