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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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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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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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From ongoing emigration flows and a surge in asylum seekers, to more than 150,000 returnees, this country profile examines contemporary and historical migration trends in Albania. Driven by extreme poverty and unemployment, more than one-third of Albania's population has emigrated in the last 25 years. The government now seeks to capitalize on diaspora resources by linking migration and development policies.

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With the growing urbanization and consolidation of Nicaraguan immigrants in sectors such as construction and domestic service, Costa Rica has shifted its focus from immigration enforcement to integration. Tension has emerged between the government and private sector as a new mechanism for regularizing unauthorized immigrant workers has failed to gain traction.

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The killing of a young woman in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant coincided with the Obama administration's rollout of the Priority Enforcement Program, a new vehicle for improving federal-local relations on immigration enforcement. The tragedy has rekindled debate over the role of "sanctuary" cities and propelled illegal immigration to the forefront of the 2016 presidential race.

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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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Video, Audio
March 22, 2010

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas details his agenda for his agency and discusses top priorities for USCIS.

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January 25, 2010
For MPI's Leadership Visions Speakers Series, John Morton, DHS Assistant Secretary, candidly spoke about his pespective on ICE, its mission, and its future.

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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.

Articles

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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