E.g., 01/24/2021
E.g., 01/24/2021

Border Enforcement

Border Enforcement

Border enforcement is more than its widely perceived role of border guards patrolling external boundaries and inspectors admitting traffic through ports of entry. While those are key components, border enforcement represents a more holistic function, integrating resources and information at and between all ports of entry—whether air, land, or sea—with consular operations abroad and more. The research presented here examines these varied facets.

Recent Activity

Commentaries
January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
Registration of Nigerian migrants for voluntary return
U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
Articles
Migrant processing at San Ysidro port of entry
Articles
Commentaries
November 2018
By  Doris Meissner

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Reports
December 2011
By  Christal Morehouse and Michael Blomfield
Reports
October 2011
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
Reports
August 2011
By  Marc R. Rosenblum and Kate Brick
Fact Sheets
August 2011
By  Michelle Mittelstadt, Burke Speaker, Doris Meissner and Muzaffar Chishti
Reports
June 2011
By  Elizabeth Collett

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Girl wearing flag

The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.

Migrants on a boat

European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Western Balkans route during the peak of the migration crisis. While Balkan countries initially facilitated movements northward, pressure from the European Union led to cascading border controls, which left thousands stranded in the region. This article examines the role of Balkan countries during the thick of the crisis and subsequent regional impacts.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a man into custody.

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.

A sign at the Quebec border advises travelers to turn back and report to a port of entry.

Amid a sense of declining welcome in the United States, growing numbers of asylum seekers have crossed into Canada in recent months, entering illegally to take advantage of a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. The result? Refugee advocates and politicians in Canada are issuing growing calls to change or suspend the treaty. This article examines the treaty's history, effects, and current challenges.

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Audio
July 8, 2015

This teleconference, the first in a series from MPI Europe on the future of asylum policy in the European Union, focuses on the politics and mechanics of asylum seeker relocation and whether a recent contentious European Summit represents a new phase of intra-EU cooperation on asylum.

Video, Audio
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

Video, Audio
December 3, 2014

A discussion with MPI experts of the less-examined aspects of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, with respect to immigration enforcement, legal immigration, and immigrant integration.

Video, Audio
October 21, 2014

This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.

Video, Audio
October 16, 2014

MPI researchers, along with analysts from the Government Accountability Office and American Immigration Council, discuss the findings from an MPI report that examines the 3.7 million deportations that have occurred in the United States since establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, as well as lessons that can be learned for future policy and possible administrative action.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio, Webinars
January 16, 2019

This MPI webinar focuses on reception and reintegration services for returning migrants, along with the heightened pressure policymakers in Mexico and Central America are facing to design systems and programs that support both returnees and the communities in which they settle. Authors of a year-long study of reception and reintegration services in Mexico and the Northern Triangle discuss the findings of their fieldwork.

Commentaries
January 2019

What President Trump calls a border crisis is in fact a crisis in the asylum system—one worsened at every turn by his administration’s harsh policies and rhetoric. Rather than spend $5.7 billion on a wall, it would be far more effective to use the money to retool an overwhelmed asylum system, adapt outmatched border enforcement infrastructure to respond to the changing composition of arrivals, and work cooperatively with Mexico to tackle the factors propelling Central Americans to flee.

Articles

The European Union's focus on formal readmission agreements with migrant-origin countries to manage the return of irregular migrants and failed asylum seekers has given way since 2016 to informal arrangements. This article explores the potential effect that nonbinding readmission pacts could have on migrant returns to sub-Saharan Africa, where return rates from EU Member States have been low.

Articles

The Trump administration took sweeping action in 2018 to slow legal immigration, make life harder for some immigrants already in the United States, rebuff would-be asylum seekers, and reduce refugee resettlement. Shaping a narrative of crisis at the border, the administration significantly changed the U.S. asylum system, deployed troops and tear gas, and separated families—yet Central American migrants continued to arrive.

Articles

Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.

Articles

The Trump administration’s latest effort to narrow the ability to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border hit a legal roadblock within days of implementation, as has been the pattern for much of its immigration agenda. This article examines the actions on asylum, which alongside deployment of active-duty military to the border, are among measures taken to seek to reduce the flow of Central Americans to the United States.

Articles

In less than two years as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions oversaw wide-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system. Even as the zero-tolerance policy, fights with "sanctuary" cities, and DACA termination might be more visible, Sessions' enduring legacy may be his muscular use of a little-noted authority, which he wielded to significantly reshape immigration and asylum policy by referring immigration cases to himself.

Commentaries
November 2018

Asylum reform, not the "shock-and-awe" deployment of thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to deal with the migrant caravan, represents the real path to addressing the current realities of mixed economic and humanitarian migration flows, as the person who presided over the last reform of the U.S. asylum system in the mid-1990s explains in this commentary.

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