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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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Commentaries
January 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
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Articles
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Reports
January 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee
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Articles
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Policy Briefs
December 2017
By  Sarah Pierce and Andrew Selee
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Articles

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Policy Briefs
September 2012
By  Maruja M.B. Asis and Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Reports
September 2012
By  Madeleine Sumption and Sarah Flamm
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Policy Briefs
August 2012
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Policy Briefs
July 2012
By  Brian Kelly and Anita Jawadurovna Wadud
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Reports
July 2012
By  Michael Jones-Correa
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Policy Briefs
June 2012
By  Jaime Calderon, Barbara Rijks and Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza

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Mexico has lost its long-held status as the top source country of new immigrants to the United States, dropping to third place behind China and India. This historic shift is remarkable for the rapid decline in Mexican inflows combined with a steady rise in Asian immigration, largely through high-skilled visa programs. This Policy Beat explores the reasons behind these trends and their potential impact on U.S. demographics.
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Indian immigrants represent the second-largest origin group in the United States, accounting for 4.7 percent of the total foreign-born population. Generally high-skilled and highly educated, more than half of Indian immigrants have arrived since 2000 and largely attain green cards through employment-based pathways. Indians account for 70 percent of H-1B petitions and are the second-largest group of international students in the United States.

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The H-2B visa allows U.S. employers to bring in foreign workers to temporarily fill low-skill nonagricultural jobs across a wide range of states and industries. A series of recent legal challenges has exposed the presence of fraud and abuse, while stripping the program of its regulations and raising uncertainty about its future. This Policy Beat examines the implications in the debate surrounding temporary worker programs.
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The United Kingdom has faced changing immigration patterns over the last two decades driven largely by EU migration, and political upheaval caused by the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party and the Scottish National Party. Upcoming general elections in May 2015 will have a significant impact not only on immigration policies but the United Kingdom's place in the European Union.
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Attention is now squarely focused on the U.S. federal courts where the legal battle over President Obama's executive actions on immigration continues. While congressional efforts to roll back the directives appear to have been put aside, at least temporarily, implementation of the signature deferred action programs announced in November 2014 remains blocked. The administration, however, is moving forward with other aspects of the executive order, as this article explores.

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May 20, 2009
Award winners for the inaugural year of the E Pluribus Unum Prizes program were honored at a reception at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC in 2009.
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Video
May 15, 2009

MPI's symposium on citizenship examined immigrant civic and political participation, the notion of local voting rights for noncitizens, the concept and practice of dual citizenship, and the role of citizenship in immigrant integration.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
January 2018

The White House immigration plan offered as a solution to resolve the fate of DREAMers seeks legal immigration cuts unlike any seen since 1924. In addition to a decrease of up to 40 percent in family-sponsored immigration, the proposal demands vast increases in enforcement and a retrenchment in protections for those seeking humanitarian relief. In exchange, one-sixth of the unauthorized population could gain legal status.

Articles

An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.

Reports
January 2018

Looking back after one year in office, it is striking how just closely the Trump administration’s actions on immigration have hewed to priorities Donald Trump outlined in an uncommonly detailed policy speech in August 2016. This report revisits those pledges to assess where the administration has made the most and least headway, and what its policy agenda ahead might look like.

Reports
January 2018

As long-simmering passions related to federal immigration policies have come to a full boil, less noted but no less important debates are taking place at state and local levels with regards to policies affecting immigrants and their children. As states are increasingly diverging in their responses, this report examines how some of the key policies and programs that support long-term integration success are faring in this volatile era.

Articles

Chile's immigrant population has more than quadrupled since the country emerged from dictatorship in the early 1990s. As immigration has grown and moved away from its European roots to become more diverse, it has emerged as a hot-button political issue, complicating longstanding efforts to reform the country's 1975 immigration law. This article explores Chile's shift to the right on immigration, and how policies might evolve under the presidency of conservative Sebastián Piñera.

Articles

During its first year, the Trump administration methodically put in place a series of bureaucratic barriers that could significantly reduce opportunities for foreigners to come to the United States legally. Among the actions taken during 2017: Imposition of a much-challenged travel ban suspending the entry of nationals from certain Muslim-majority countries, cuts to refugee admissions, and increased scrutiny for visa applicants.

Policy Briefs
December 2017

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, offering a more detailed policy agenda than on any other issue. In the year since the election that propelled the Republican into the White House, how has the Trump administration’s record matched up with the rhetoric? This policy brief examines the executive orders and other changes to existing policy and practice made during 2017.

Articles

In its first year, the Trump administration moved to deliver on some of Donald Trump’s campaign promises on immigration, including ramping up enforcement in the U.S. interior and ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The administration also announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of some countries. This article explores some of the top policy changes.

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