E.g., 01/28/2023
E.g., 01/28/2023
Illegal Immigration & Interior Enforcement

Illegal Immigration & Interior Enforcement

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lllegal immigration is a phenomenon confronted by many major immigrant-receiving countries, one that vexes policymakers and publics alike. While much of the focus may be on border enforcement, there are an array of interior enforcement policies aimed at identifying unauthorized immigrants for removal, including worksite enforcement, employment verification, jail-house screening, and state and local law enforcement activity. The research below delves into many facets of illegal immigration and enforcement occcuring away from national borders.

Recent Activity

Cover image for African Migration through the Americas: Drivers, Routes, and Policy Responses
Reports
October 2021
By  Caitlyn Yates and Jessica Bolter
A Haitian man hugs his daughter in Peru.
Articles
A U.S. Customs agent looks at wreckage following the 9/11 terror attacks
Articles
Cover image for Migration Management and Border Security: Lessons Learned
Policy Briefs
September 2021
By  Alan D. Bersin
A member of the MS-13 gang.
Articles

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Reports
January 2019
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, Luis Argueta and Randy Capps
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Reports
November 2018
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Kate Hooper
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Fact Sheets
November 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Jie Zong
Coverthumbnail TCM NativistPopulism.pdf_
Reports
November 2018
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper and Meghan Benton
Coverthumb GlobalCompact Returning Migrants
Policy Briefs
October 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Brian Salant
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Reports
September 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
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Reports
September 2018
By  Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Reports
July 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee

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Sailors and marines on the HMS Bulwark help migrants ashore in Italy.

Even as the number of people making the dangerous journey through the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe has declined since the migration and refugee crisis of 2015-16, the rate of deaths has increased. This article evaluates the role of Europe's hardening approach to trans-Mediterranean migration and the criminalization of search-and-rescue operations by nongovernmental organizations.

A supporter holds a sign reading "Finish the Wall" during a rally for President Donald Trump in Mesa, Arizona.

In the United States, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on immigration. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have offered sharply diverging policy positions, and the outcome of the election is sure to have profound consequences for the U.S. immigration system. Yet this partisan divide is relatively new. Just two decades ago, the parties were much more united on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy and society.

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When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

An Indian internal migrant walks with her children in Delhi

India has no refugee law and has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, leaving many of its estimated 250,000 recognized refugees in a legal gray area. Meanwhile, more than 450 million internal migrants form the foundation of the country's economy, yet often have trouble accessing government benefits, identity cards, and other services. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these shared vulnerabilities into stark relief.

Migrants aboard a rubber vessel are rescued in the Mediterranean

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

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Audio
March 15, 2018

This discussion, featuring California's Labor Commissioner and the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, launched a report that examines state innovations in labor standards enforcement in low-wage, immigrant-dense industries. With wage underpayment, payroll fraud, and other violations widespread in industries such as construction and car-washing, the discussion focused on how targeted enforcement can deter practices that hurt native-born and immigrant workers alike, cost state tax revenue, and disadvantage law-abiding employers. 

2018.2.28 Immigration Enforcement and Education Wilson Center co sponsor
Video
February 28, 2018

In an era of stepped-up immigration enforcement, speakers at this event present their research on the impact of enforcement policies on children from immigrant families and U.S. public schools. 

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Video
February 14, 2018

Experts explore the significance of the Trump administration’s decision not to renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the approximately 263,000 Salvadorans residing in the United States, including the social impact of terminating TPS and the likely effects on the U.S. and Salvadoran economies, migration, and criminal violence, as well as policy options to address the fallout from the decision.

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Video, Audio
September 25, 2017

In a year when immigration has been prominent in the headlines, the 14th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference provides timely policy and legal analysis, with expert discussion covering the shifting immigration policy priorities under a new administration, including changes in immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee resettlement, the treatment of unaccompanied minors and the

EVENT PHOTO 2017.8.31   flickr   cesar bojorquez  Un dia sin migrantes (Tijuana B.C. Mexico)
Audio
August 31, 2017

Durante este seminario, ponentes presentaron hallazgos de un reciente informe que utiliza datos de agencias gubernamentales mexicanas, entrevistas con funcionarios clave y relatos de la sociedad civil para examinar el marco legal para la protección de menores no acompañados y su aplicación, al igual que las brechas entre este marco y su aplicación durante los procesos de detención, interrogación y alojamiento. El presidente de MPI, Andrew Selee, también expuso cómo el cambio en la dinámica política en Estados Unidos puede afectar las cuestiones migratorias con México, así como los efectos en la relación bilateral en medio de tensiones sobre el muro fronterizo, la renegociación del acuerdo del TLCAN y una cifra significativa de repatriaciones de migrantes mexicanos.

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Recent Activity

Reports
October 2021

The number of African migrants traveling through South and Central America in hopes of reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, many seeking asylum, is small but increasing. This report examines the factors driving African migration through the Americas, common routes and challenges, and how transit countries are responding.

Reports
October 2021

Nearly two decades since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was founded in 2003, U.S. immigration governance is buckling from breakdowns in performance across key immigration components and partner agencies. This report advances ideas for DHS to fix its governance to manage immigration as a system, focusing on challenges in mission and structure, intra-DHS and interdepartmental collaboration, funding, and institutional culture.

Video, Audio
September 27, 2021

The 2021 annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured a keynote conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and analysis by top experts on the early months of the Biden administration and how immigration law and policy can respond to our changing world in a manner that is humane and in the national interest.

Articles

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.

Articles

After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 the U.S. immigration system was retooled to have a strong national security focus. This restructuring had dramatic effects on government operations and resource allocations, not to mention on the lives of immigrants and the U.S. born alike. Twenty years on from 9/11, this article examines the changes put in place or accelerated as a result of the attacks.

Policy Briefs
September 2021

What strategic lessons can be learned from the migration- and border-management challenges North America and Europe have faced in recent years? This reflection by a former high-ranking homeland security official explores a range of timely issues, including the need to rethink multilateralism and improve international cooperation, address migrant smuggling, and engage in advanced planning to avoid future crises.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 2, 2021

The sprawling U.S. immigration detention system has long been controversial for its conditions of care, number of immigrants and asylum seekers detained, and costs. This discussion of a report provides a vision for a reimagined immigration custody system. 

Articles

Gang violence is a major driver of migration, particularly from Central America to the United States. But governments on both sides often rely on outdated and static understandings of gangs and their membership. This article explains the history of groups such as MS-13 and Barrio 18 and why they are relevant for immigration policy.

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