E.g., 10/19/2020
E.g., 10/19/2020

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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A family in New Jersey celebrates the Hindu festival of Janmashtami.

There are 2.7 million Indian immigrants in the United States, making them the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans. This number has increased dramatically in recent years, growing 13-fold between 1980 and 2019. This article provides an overview of this population, which is more highly educated, likely to work in management positions, and higher-earning than the U.S. born and overall immigrant population, as this article explores.

A supporter holds a sign reading "Finish the Wall" during a rally for President Donald Trump in Mesa, Arizona.

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.

Students at the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu prepare to graduate during the spring commencement ceremony.

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.

People at an annual July 4 citizenship ceremony

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.

Bangladeshi migrants in Egypt wait to return home

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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Commentaries
August 2020
By Hanne Beirens, Susan Fratzke, and Lena Kainz
Commentaries
June 2020
By Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
Commentaries
May 2020
By Meghan Benton
Commentaries
March 2020
By Kate Hooper and Camille Le Coz
Commentaries
March 2020
By Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton, and Susan Fratzke
Commentaries
January 2020
By Meghan Benton
Commentaries
October 2019
By Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
Commentaries
August 2019
By Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix, and Mark Greenberg

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Explainers
April 2019

Through which visa categories can immigrants move temporarily or permanently to the United States? What are the main channels by which people come, and who can sponsor them for a green card? Are there limits on visa categories? And who is waiting in the green-card backlog? This explainer answers basic questions about temporary and permanent immigration via family, employment, humanitarian, and other channels.

Explainers
February 2019

Who is an immigrant? Does that status change if, for example, a foreigner marries a native-born resident or serves in his or her adopted country's military? This explainer answers basic questions about international migrants—who they are, their top destinations, where they come from, how they are counted, and more.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Articles

There are 2.7 million Indian immigrants in the United States, making them the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans. This number has increased dramatically in recent years, growing 13-fold between 1980 and 2019. This article provides an overview of this population, which is more highly educated, likely to work in management positions, and higher-earning than the U.S. born and overall immigrant population, as this article explores.

Commentaries
October 2020

The Trump administration's changes to the H-1B visa program are the most significant in three decades, promising to end the practice of replacing U.S. workers with highly skilled immigrants. While the problems the administration has identified and the interest in protecting U.S. workers are legitimate ones, its approach may cripple the H-1B program itself, as this commentary explains.

Policy Briefs
October 2020

Although proven effective in supporting young children and their caretakers, home visiting programs are less likely to see the enrollment of immigrant and refugee families. This brief looks at the strategies some states and counties are using to boost the equity and quality of their home visiting services for these at-risk families, from rethinking how they assess the needs of resident families, to involving communities in program design and service provision.

Articles

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.

Reports
September 2020

Since COVID-19 hit cities across Europe, many have struggled with how to sustain support for migrant inclusion in a time of social-distancing orders and likely budget cuts. This report explores how municipalities and their partners used social innovation to meet the challenges of the 2015–16 spike in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants, and how those experiences can help localities weather the pandemic and put communities at the center of recovery efforts.

Policy Briefs
September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just weeks after the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, delaying plans to implement the withdrawal agreement’s provisions on citizens’ rights. This policy brief assesses the progress countries have made in setting up systems to adjust the status of mobile EU and UK nationals, as well as steps countries can take to make up for lost time.

Articles

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.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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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