E.g., 07/01/2020
E.g., 07/01/2020

North America

North America

North America is a dynamic migration region, with the United States home to more immigrants than any other country in the world, the Mexico-U.S. corridor the globe's top migration corridor, and Canada a leading destination for migrants. Research collected here focuses on everything from visa policy and border management to immigrant integration, national identity, the demographics of immigrants in the region and their educational and workforce outcomes, and ways to more effectively use migration policy as a lever for national and regional competitiveness.

Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
August 2017
By Philip Martin
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a man into custody.
Articles
One of Cuba's many old cars on a street in Havana.
Articles
Immigrant nurse at a doctor's office.
Articles
Agricultural workers break for lunch on a cucumber farm in Virginia.
Articles
Commentaries
June 2017
By Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix

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Reports
June 2011
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
Reports
June 2011
By Elizabeth Collett
Reports
June 2011
By Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix
Reports
June 2011
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
Reports
June 2011
By Margie McHugh and A.E. Challinor

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Immigration to the United States from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has increased in recent years, rising to a total population of 1.02 million in 2013. Immigrants from the region come from a diverse range of countries and cultures. This data Spotlight delves into the variations among MENA groups on key socioeconomic indicators, from geographic distribution and language proficiency to employment, immigration pathways, and naturalization.

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.

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.

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.

Cuban immigrants are afforded a special place in U.S. immigration law, with most able to gain permanent residency after one year in the country. Following a history of surges in maritime migration, more than 1.1 million Cuban immigrants resided in the United States in 2013, accounting for about 3 percent of the total foreign-born population. This article explores key characteristics of Cubans in the United States, including educational attainment, income, and more.

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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.
Video
August 12, 2011
In this video, Michael Fix and Margie McHugh discuss the distribution of English Language Learners across the country, their growth in enrollment, and more.
Video
August 12, 2011
In this video, Michael Fix and Margie McHugh examine key indicators of ELL students' performance on standardized tests, among other topics.
Audio
August 3, 2011

This interactive language access webinar, one in a series offered by the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, examines how New York and Illinois have broken down some of these barriers to proactively engage LEP communities to obtain workforce services.

Audio
July 14, 2011
This Migration Policy Institute webinar discusses labor enforcement laws during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations and chronicles gaps in labor protection.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
August 2017

U.S. agriculture has long relied on foreign-born workers to fill seasonal and labor-intensive jobs. But who are the immigrants who now make up three-fourths of hired workers on U.S. farms? This policy brief sketches a workforce that is aging and less reliant on unauthorized workers—and employers who are increasingly turning to mechanization and the H-2A guestworker program to fill gaps as Mexican migration slows.

Reports
July 2017

Mexico has apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children since 2014 and introduced ambitious reforms to safeguard their rights. Yet the gap between policy and reality is wide: Most are held in adult detention centers rather than child shelters and report never being told of their right to apply for asylum. This report examines the child protection legal framework in Mexico, its implementation, and the gaps between the two.

Articles

Making good on campaign promises to toughen immigration enforcement, the Trump administration has acted swiftly to cast a wider net in the U.S. interior. The actions represent a sea change in enforcement practice, moving from a tight focus on high-priority individuals to an era in which all unauthorized immigrants may be subject to deportation. This article explores the shifts undertaken during President Trump's first six months.

Articles

The Cuban Revolution unleashed a massive exodus from the island. Cuba is now among the top origin countries of immigrants in the United States—where for decades they have received preferential treatment—with smaller numbers across Europe and Latin America. This article explores the evolution of Cuban migration, particularly within the context of the Cold War and shifting U.S. policies toward the country.

Commentaries
June 2017

Legal analysis of the Supreme Court’s opinion allowing aspects of a controversial Trump administration executive order to take effect has largely focused on the travel ban on certain nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries.  Less noticed was the justices' views with regards to the temporary suspension of the refugee resettlement program. This commentary explores the ruling's possible consequences on refugees.

Articles

Approximately 2.1 million immigrants work in health-care occupations in the United States, comprising nearly 17 percent of the 12.4 million doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health-care professionals. Learn more about immigrant health-care workers in the United States with this data-rich article, including top occupations nationally and by state, countries of origin, educational levels, visa pathways, and much more.

Articles

Although President Trump has repeatedly pledged to preserve "U.S. jobs for U.S. workers," employers are increasingly relying on temporary visas as a result of labor shortages in agriculture, high tech, and beyond. This article examines the increases occurring in key temporary worker programs, affecting seasonal agricultural and nonagricultural industries, as well as high-skilled tech jobs.

Commentaries
June 2017

A recent MPI study reveals that 48 percent of recent immigrants to the United States were college graduates, a sharp increase over earlier periods. How can the United States better leverage this brain gain? This commentary outlines some policies that could allow the United States to more fully utilize the professional and academic credentials that highly skilled immigrants have, for their benefit and that of the U.S. economy.

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