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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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Reports
November 2018
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper and Meghan Benton
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Policy Briefs
October 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Brian Salant
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Reports
October 2018
By  Meghan Benton, Antonio Silva and Will Somerville
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Articles

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More than 653,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens in fiscal year 2014, bringing the total number of naturalized U.S. citizens to 20 million—nearly half the overall immigrant population of 42.4 million. Over the past decade, naturalizations have ranged from about 537,000 yearly to just more than 1 million. Learn more about naturalization trends in the United States with this Spotlight article.

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The stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic parties on immigration was codified in their 2016 party platforms, and showcased in the rosters of convention speakers—featuring victims of unauthorized immigrant crimes on the one hand, and unauthorized immigrants living in fear on the other. This article explores the evidence, even compared to earlier platforms, of two divergent universes regarding immigration.

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As many as half of all unauthorized immigrants in the United States entered legally and overstayed a visa. This article explores a possible way to refine visa policies: Examine the economic growth of travelers' home countries. The author examines the correlation between economic growth and the rate at which a country’s nationals are denied visas, and explores how this might inform visa policy.

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News of the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America has raised alarm bells, resulting in scattered calls for tighter restrictions on international entries to the United States. Evidence shows, however, that closing borders and restrictions on international travel tend to have little impact on the spread of infectious diseases. This feature article explores the linkages between public health and migration in the Americas.

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A split ruling by the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas has dealt a hard blow to the Obama administration's signature deferred action programs. While the decision makes it unlikely the DAPA program and DACA expansion will be implemented in their current form, the outcome at the high court may have opened a path for renewed movement on immigration policy changes in Congress, as this article explores.

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Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

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Video, Audio
April 5, 2013

This discussion with Mexico's new Ambassador to the United States focused on changing dynamics in Mexico, and their implications for both Mexico and the U.S.

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Video, Audio
March 27, 2013

With the prospects for immigration reform greater than they have been in more than a decade and the U.S. economy slowly shrugging off the effects of the recession, the United States may be on the cusp of historic changes that make the immigration system a more effective tool for innovation, economic growth and the competitiveness of its firms—large and small. 

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Video, Audio
March 19, 2013

This discussion covers some of the most difficult issues that must be addressed if the United States is to reform its immigration system in ways that work not only for today’s reality but tomorrow’s future.

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Video
March 14, 2013
Testimony of Demetrios G. Papademetriou, MPI President, before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives.

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Recent Activity

Reports
November 2018

Emotionally charged and anecdotal narratives about immigrants often seem to drown out arguments made on the basis of robust data and evidence. Why is that? This report explores how new technologies, the human brain, and political communication are reshaping the role of facts in public debates. The report concludes with an examination of what it takes to make the “expert consensus” resonate with skeptical publics.

Articles

In less than two years as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions oversaw wide-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system. Even as the zero-tolerance policy, fights with "sanctuary" cities, and DACA termination might be more visible, Sessions' enduring legacy may be his muscular use of a little-noted authority, which he wielded to significantly reshape immigration and asylum policy by referring immigration cases to himself.

Reports
November 2018

In many recent European and U.S. elections, candidates touting nativist populist and anti-immigrant platforms have enjoyed rising support. As populism moves from the fringes into the mainstream, this report takes stock of the economic and social forces driving its rise, the diverse ways populists are influencing immigration policymaking, and what it will take to build a new center around immigration and integration issues.

Policy Briefs
October 2018

To successfully integrate, immigrants and refugees need a variety of skills and knowledge—from English proficiency to understanding how school systems and local services work. Yet the adult education programs in place to support them have narrowed in scope. This policy brief proposes a new instructional model, English Plus Integration, to help states more comprehensively meet the diverse needs of their adult immigrant learners.

Video, Audio
October 1, 2018

At the 15th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, held in October 2018, leading experts and government officials discussed the role that immigration is playing in the mid-term elections; how the courts are handling key immigration questions; and recent changes in the U.S. asylum system, border and interior enforcement, and regulations surrounding legal immigration.   

Policy Briefs
October 2018

In recent years, questions of whether, when, and how to return failed asylum seekers and other migrants to their origin countries have dominated migration debates in many countries. These issues were also taken up in the negotiation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, moving the discussion beyond the typical bilateral one. This policy brief outlines how states might more constructively work together on returns and reintegration programs.

Reports
October 2018

Governments are increasingly drawing on research into human behavior when developing policies that aim to encourage people to make better decisions, be it accessing preventative health care or paying taxes. This report explores how a similar approach of 'nudges' could be applied to immigrant integration policy to encourage social mixing, narrow socioeconomic gaps, and more.

Articles

For decades, Mexicans have been the largest immigrant group in the United States. While this is still the case, the Mexican immigrant population is no longer growing at the rate it once was. In fact, between 2010 and 2017, the number of Mexicans in the country first leveled off and then began to decline. This article explores the latest data on Mexican immigrants in the United States.

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