E.g., 08/03/2020
E.g., 08/03/2020

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.

Recent Activity

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Policy Briefs
April 2018
By Kate Hooper and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
March 2018
By Sarah Pierce and Julia Gelatt
Scaling up Refugee Resettlement in Europe
Reports
March 2018
By Hanne Beirens and Aliyyah Ahad
Reports
March 2018
By Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak, and Michelle Mittelstadt
Policy Briefs
January 2018
By Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester
Reports
January 2018
By Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee
Policy Briefs
December 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Andrew Selee

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Image of families belong together event banner in Houston

As the Trump administration moves to be able to indefinitely detain parents and children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether illegal border crossers or asylum seekers, recent apprehension trends and history suggest hardline policies might not be a slam-dunk deterrent with a Central American population often driven by the desire to escape gang or other violence, as this Policy Beat explores.

Salvadoran kids

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America yet the most densely populated. A stagnant economy, high levels of crime and violence, and natural disasters have pushed growing numbers of people to migrate without authorization or seek asylum abroad, mostly in the United States. This article explores historical and contemporary emigration from El Salvador.

Protest at an immigration detention facility

With the #AbolishICE movement catching fire among some on the left, critics of the Trump administration's immigration policies have seized on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as their main target—even condemning it for actions taken by other agencies. This article explores the evolution of ICE and resistance to it, as well as actions taken by the agency itself that have made its mission even more controversial.

Construction site in Kuwait

In Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, migrants make up a significant share of the private-sector workforce. While mainstream narratives commonly focus on the exploitation and abuse some of these migrant workers experience, their lives and relationships with the native born are much more complex and less unequal than is often perceived, as this article explores.

Honduran boy

Since fiscal year 2010, more than 70,000 immigrant children have applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a pathway to a green card for youth who have been abused or neglected by their parents. Based on interviews with SIJ applicants, judges, and attorneys, this article provides an overview of the SIJ program and identifies limitations on access.

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Video, Audio
December 7, 2016

A presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of brain waste for highly skilled immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. The researchers discuss their findings in terms of the billions of dollars in forgone earnings and unrealized taxes when college-educated immigrants are relegated to low-skilled work.

Video, Expert Q&A
December 6, 2016

Nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants in the United States are stuck in low-skilled jobs or are unemployed—a phenomenon known as brain waste. In this brief video, MPI researchers discuss their key findings on immigrant skill underutilization and the resulting billions of dollars in unrealized wages and forgone federal, state, and local tax receipts.

Video, Audio
October 20, 2016

A discussion featuring data on immigration trends and the agricultural workforce, and some of the adjustments that farm employers are making, including increased mechanization, improved wages and benefits, and the increased use of the H-2A program. University of California-Davis’s Phil Martin, along with researchers from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Labor, present their findings on the foreign agricultural workforce in the United States, which is followed by comments from the President of Farmworker Justice on some of the policy implications.

Video, Audio
September 28, 2016

The 13th annual Immigration Law & Policy Conference offered policy and legal analysis on key immigration topics, including: the election and the future of immigration policy; refugee resettlement in the United States; immigration detention and enforcement; and the impacts of the Supreme Court opinion in the important U.S. vs Texas case

Video, Audio
August 11, 2016

Marking the fourth anniversary of the implementation of the DACA program, this webinar presents findings on the most current estimates of potential DACA beneficiaries, trends in requests and application rates, and discussion of recent policy and political developments.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Ideological differences in the Democratic Party over immigration that were once masked by unity against President Trump’s border wall and immigration agenda are now being exposed as Democratic presidential candidates seek to stand out in a crowded field and amid controversy over an emergency border spending bill. As the 2020 electoral calendar accelerates, how the party navigates the gulf between its most liberal and conservative wings will become a greater challenge for its leaders.

Reports
July 2019

Over the last decade, a number of governments have launched start-up visa programs in the hopes of attracting talented immigrant entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. With the track record for these programs a mixed one, this report explains how embedding start-up visas within a broader innovation strategy could lead to greater success.

Articles

Faced with a lack of employment opportunities and recurrent poverty, Albanian youth migrate to Italy alone in the hopes of improving their educational prospects or making money for their families. Yet upon arrival, they face many vulnerabilities. While some protections for unaccompanied minors exist in the Italy, the system is greatly fragmented and challenges, including how to return them to Albania, remain persistent.

Articles

Long a country of emigration and a springboard for migrants aiming to reach Europe, Morocco has emerged as a destination for many sub-Saharan Africans. As more migrants remain in Morocco, the kingdom has implemented policies to aid with integration. But challenges remain, with most of the estimated 700,000 sub-Saharan Africans living in precarious conditions and irregular status despite some legalization programs.

Video, Audio
June 26, 2019

This discussion on the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) showcases MPI Fellow Charles Kamasaki's book, Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die. Kamasaki is joined by other veterans of the IRCA debate for a conversation on the lessons, the intended and unintended consequences, and how the law’s legacy has shaped contemporary politics on immigration.

Policy Briefs
June 2019

Migration and development policy discussions have edged closer to each other on the international stage. The adoption of the Global Compact for Migration in December 2018 marks an important milestone. As all eyes turn toward the compact’s implementation, this brief examines some of the key topics states have pledged to work more closely on—from labor migration and migrants’ rights, to returns and reintegration.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

Reports
June 2019

In the three years since the European migration and refugee crisis vividly captured public attention, a wave of innovative initiatives has emerged to help newcomers settle into receiving societies. Now, as the sense of crisis abates, this report explores what these initiatives will need to do to outlast the hype and produce lasting change on key integration issues such as housing, economic inclusion, and community building.

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