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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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Fact Sheets
May 2014
By  Margie McHugh, Jeanne Batalova and Madeleine Morawski
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Reports
April 2014
By  Marc R. Rosenblum and Doris Meissner
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Reports
March 2014
By  Elizabeth Collett and Milica Petrovic
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Reports
March 2014
By  Sarah Hooker, Michael Fix and Margie McHugh
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Reports
January 2014
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Will Somerville
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Policy Briefs
January 2014
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Charles Kamasaki

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Afghanistan, once the world's largest origin of refugees, is increasingly experiencing mixed migration, including seasonal and permanent outflows for both economic and humanitarian reasons, internal displacement, and refugee returns. This feature article examines the current trends with a focus on return migration and the development impacts at the intersection of displacement and urbanization.

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The complex push and pull factors driving child and family migration from Central America to the United States have changed little since the 2014 crisis. Despite some fluctuation in arrival numbers, recent trends suggest the characteristics of an enduring phenomenon. This Policy Beat explores the latest developments in U.S. policy responses, including enforcement operations, development assistance, and family detention.

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Drawn by generous asylum policies and the region's welcoming reputation, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived in Scandinavia in 2015. As the unprecedented flow overwhelmed the asylum systems of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, lawmakers began to recalibrate their policies, tightening asylum benefits in a number of significant ways, as this article explores.

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The number of college-educated immigrants in the United States has more than tripled in the last two decades. Asians accounted for 46 percent of the 10.5 million college-educated immigrants, with India the top origin country. This Spotlight article examines key indicators of the college-educated population, including international students and high-skilled H-1B visa holders.

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Passed with minimal controversy and public debate, the 2016 spending bill included some of the most substantial immigration policy changes enacted by Congress in the last decade. The changes touched on aspects including temporary worker visas, visa security, and the immigration courts, and could signal a new strategy for legislative change to the immigration system.

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Video
February 7, 2012
MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner discusses U.S. immigration policy during the Fireside Forum on Foreign Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The other participants are Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera and Douglas Savage, Assistant Director of the Institute of World Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
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Video, Audio
December 7, 2011
A discussion on the gains that young adult immigrants or the U.S.-born children of immigrants have made in education and employment, with speakers: Michael Fix, Jeanne Batalova, Andrew P. Kelly, Raul Gonzalez, and Margie McHugh.
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Audio
August 26, 2011

With the ten year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks approaching, the Migration Policy Institute held a conference call to discuss the most significant changes that have occurred in the immigration arena in the decade since the attacks.

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Audio
June 13, 2011

This Migration Policy Institute event was held to discuss the release of MPI's book, Migration and the Great Recession: The Transatlantic Experience, which reviews how the financial and economic crisis of the late 2000s marked a sudden and dramatic interruption in international migration trends.

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Video
April 26, 2011
The conference offered law and policy analysis and discussion on cutting-edge immigration issues. Featured panelists included high-ranking government officials, academics, advocates, and other immigration experts.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Faced with high emigration rates and shrinking, aging populations, the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are exploring different ways to lure back nationals who have emigrated and establish or solidify ties with members of the diaspora. Of the three countries, Estonia is proving the most successful, while Latvia appears to be ignoring the looming demographic crisis and lacks an immigration plan.

Reports
May 2019

In the two years since President Trump entered office, U.S. immigration policy has changed in many ways. Some actions have received significant media attention and public scrutiny, and others have been implemented with little fanfare. This document chronicles these wide-reaching policy changes, covering immigration enforcement, the immigration courts, humanitarian admissions, visa processing, and more.

Reports
May 2019

Amid a significant reshaping of immigration policy by the Trump administration, a range of immigration topics that have not been at the forefront of debate merit further information sharing with the public and policymakers. This report examines eight issues areas that are deserving of additional review and could form the basis for future action by Congress, including H-1B reform and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

Articles

The Netherlands has witnessed a rise in far-right populism, challenging its reputation as a humanitarian haven. Yet, public fears equating immigration with a rise in religious extremism do not necessarily reflect the facts. This profile explores historical and contemporary migration in a country where population growth relies largely on immigration, and analyzes to what extent policymaking has been shaped by rising populism.

Reports
May 2019

Refugees encounter a range of challenges after resettlement—from adjusting to a new culture and language, to finding a job. Many resettlement countries invest in predeparture orientation to help refugees develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to face these challenges. This report explores the many forms these programs take, highlighting important design questions and key elements that effective programs share.

Reports
April 2019

High school graduation is a landmark event for students. It also plays an important role in the state accountability systems designed to ensure that schools provide all students a high-quality education. Yet relying on a school's four-year graduation rate for federal accountability purposes can have unintended consequences for English Learners, who may need extra time to graduate.

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.

Articles

Though it has achieved success in some areas, the Trump administration’s many efforts to stiffen immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior and at the Southwest border are being consistently stymied by court injunctions, existing laws and settlements, state and local resistance, congressional pushback, and migration pressures that are beyond the government’s ability to swiftly address, as this article explores.

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