E.g., 01/27/2023
E.g., 01/27/2023
Border Security

Border Security

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In an era when countries and their populations are increasingly exposed to the opportunities and risks associated with the ever-expanding global movement of people, policymakers are rethinking approaches to border controls and border management. These policies and programs run the gamut—from facilitating the legitimate movement of people and trade to thwarting the unauthorized movement of humans and contraband, the latter a significant preoccupation in the post-9/11 era and as publics have become ever less accepting of illegal immigration. The research offered here examines the management of borders, enforcement policies and initiatives, and technologies used in pursuit of border security.

Recent Activity

Cover image for COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2021
Reports
May 2022
By  Meghan Benton, Samuel Davidoff-Gore, Jeanne Batalova, Lawrence Huang and Jie Zong
U.S. immigration officials walk by a courthouse in Seattle.
Home Secretary Priti Patel & Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Vincent Biruta hold asylum accord
Commentaries
April 2022
By  Hanne Beirens and Samuel Davidoff-Gore
Image of Central American migrant caravan passing through Chiapas, Mexico
Commentaries
April 2022
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Andrew Selee
A woman in Italy is vaccinated before travel in 1951.
Articles
U.S. Border Patrol agents prepare to transport unauthorized migrants to Mexico under Title 42.
Articles

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Reports
April 2021
By  Meghan Benton, Jeanne Batalova, Samuel Davidoff-Gore and Timo Schmidt
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Policy Briefs
September 2020
By  Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley and Andrew Selee

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A Dutch family at Ellis Island between 1915 and 1920.

As host to more immigrants than any other country, the United States has been shaped and reshaped by immigration over the centuries, with the issue at times becoming a flashpoint. This article covers the history of U.S. immigration and the major laws governing immigration, and provides a comprehensive overview of the present-day immigrant population.

Migrants enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The Biden administration's court-ordered restart of the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols, known informally as the Remain in Mexico policy, puts it in the awkward position of reviving a program it is simultaneously still trying to end. The Trump-era program forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait out the duration of their U.S. immigration court hearings in Mexico and was only questionably successful at deterring unauthorized arrivals.

Two boys pose in an informal settlement east of Johannesburg largely populated by immigrants.

South Africa hosts the most immigrants of any African country. Yet it faces conflicting pressures, including the legacy of apartheid, a steady outflow of well-educated South Africans, and the need to juggle bilateral labor mobility schemes at a time of economic insecurity and high unemployment. This article traces these pressures and how they have developed over time.

A woman and her child in southern Ethiopia.

In 1980, more than 2.5 million Ethiopian refugees lived in other countries. Now, Ethiopians are more likely to migrate for labor reasons, particularly to the Middle East and southern Africa, and meanwhile the country has become a refuge for humanitarian migrants from its neighbors. This article traces the history of migration from, to, and through Ethiopia.

A Haitian man hugs his daughter in Peru.

The chaotic arrival of thousands of Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2021 was the culmination of a journey through the Americas that began for many a decade ago. This article examines how Brazil became a refuge for many after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, and how Haitians then moved on to Chile and other countries as conditions changed, and then onward again further north.

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Commentaries
June 2018
By  Elizabeth Collett and Susan Fratzke
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Commentaries
January 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
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Commentaries
March 2017
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou
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Commentaries
February 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett
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Commentaries
November 2016
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Commentaries
June 2016
By  Will Somerville
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Commentaries
April 2016
By  Hanne Beirens and Paul Clewett

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Video, Audio
May 11, 2021

The convergence of the second largest refugee crisis in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has left the more than 5.5 million migrants who have fled Venezuela in an even more vulnerable position.

Video, Audio
April 19, 2021

Marking the launch of the Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World initiative, this event examines how the accessibility of asylum and protection globally has changed since the EU-Turkey deal, similar policies deployed by countries of asylum, the impacts of these policies, and what can be done t

Video, Audio
April 15, 2021

This report release event examines migration management in Mexico and Central America, and the growing government attention to migration functions, enhanced immigration enforcement, increased investments in asylum systems and existing protection frameworks, as well as labor migration policies.

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Video, Audio
April 8, 2021

Marking the release of an IOM-MPI report, this two-panel discussion, features introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino and examines how the pandemic has reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond.

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Video, Audio
February 5, 2021

With Portugal assuming the EU Presidency in January 2021 and prioritizing progress on the EU Migration and Asylum Pact, this webinar features senior officials from the European Union, Germany (the last holder of the presidency), and Portugal to take stock of where conversations on the pact stand and Portugal’s plans for taking forward the negotiations. 

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Recent Activity

Reports
May 2022

Despite high hopes that international movement would be revived in 2021 after the deep chill in 2020 with designation of a global pandemic, cross-border mobility remained limited as migrants and travelers faced complex rules, high costs, and uncertainty as new COVID-19 variants emerged. This report assesses global mobility in 2021, including changing use of travel restrictions, their impacts on mobile populations, and efforts to safely restart migration and travel.

Articles

New Biden administration guidelines encourage immigration prosecutors to support dismissing many low-priority deportation cases and focus on criminals, threats to national security, and other priorities. This move could have a major impact on clearing backlogs in the overstretched U.S. immigration court system, resulting in quicker determinations in removal and asylum cases, where wait times can presently stretch for years.

Commentaries
April 2022

The United Kingdom’s controversial deal with Rwanda to relocate certain asylum seekers there—not for offshore processing for possible settlement in the United Kingdom but as a permanent destination—will have far-reaching implications, possibly destabilizing the norms and architecture of the post-World War II protection system, this commentary argues.

Reports
April 2022

Digital health credentials that verify a person’s COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or recovery status are a central part of efforts to restart international travel and migration. This report explores these credentials’ use to date and persistent challenges, including those related to international coordination and technical compatibility between systems. It also recommends strategies to more fully leverage their potential and make them more inclusive.

Commentaries
April 2022

With migration from Central America increasing, the region from Canada to Panama faces an opportunity to build an effective regional approach to migration by focusing on several areas that are ripe for significant policy innovation. This commentary sketches a vision, offering a road map to more detailed research that outlines strategies for cooperation on legal pathways, humanitarian protection, migration management, and sustainable development.

Articles

Requirements that international travelers and migrants prove vaccination against certain diseases are about as old as vaccines themselves. In some cases, vaccine certificates predated the existence of government-issued passports. This article explores the history of these requirements, which began with smallpox and have since been applied for diseases including cholera, polio, yellow fever, and, recently, COVID-19.

Articles

The United States’ controversial Title 42 migrant expulsions policy will come to an end in May 2022, after more than 1.7 million expulsions over two years. The COVID-19-era public-health restriction ushered in an unprecedented period of mass expulsions, including of would-be asylum seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Unwinding the policy will be complicated amid predictions of a significant increase in unauthorized migration.

Reports
March 2022

Cooperation with other countries has become a central part of Australian border enforcement. Partnerships with countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Nauru, and Papua New Guinea have helped Australia curb irregular maritime migration, but also come at significant costs. This report explores the current and future role of cooperation in Australian immigration enforcement policy.

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