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.
This Transatlantic Council on Migration Statement assesses the continuum of policies needed to disrupt illegal migration-related activities and addresses the conditions that make them possible. It examines the role of migration "bad actors"—human traffickers and unscrupulous employers, among them—who operate and profit in this environment, and considers how governments can deploy resources to discourage their actions.
This report examines human trafficking and smuggling trends and routes to Europe, and profiles the facilitators and clients/victims of such activities. It also offers a menu of policy options that are likely to reduce trafficking and smuggling flows, noting that such policies must be multifaceted to address a variety of contributing factors simultaneously.
This report, based on an undercover exposé of Punjabi visa agencies by The Sunday Times, sketches one immigration loophole into Europe: so-called “donkey flights” by which Indian migrants obtain a tourist visa for a Schengen-zone country in order to enter the United Kingdom through the back door. Thousands of visa agencies operate in the Punjab region alone, with varying degrees of legality, some having links to criminal smuggling networks across Europe.
Policymakers confront significant constraints in addressing the population of unauthorized migrants, including tackling illegal migration. This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series focused on migration "bad actors," explores the trade-offs that policymakers face with respect to comprehensive enforcement efforts.
This policy brief traces the successes and failures of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which represented the first and most comprehensive legislation to take on the issue of illegal immigration to the United States. The brief makes the case that IRCA's major flaws were rooted in statutory design more than regulatory challenges and implementation by the administrative agencies.
This report analyzes how governments ought to best allocate their resources to address the risks associated with migration—the "immigration harms" that undermine the positive economic and social benefits of immigration—including choosing which threats to tackle and where to prioritize enforcement efforts. Immigration policymakers can learn from other public policy regulation efforts to ensure that regulatory actions advance the public interest.
This report analyzes the exploitation of migrants in three spheres: the domestic care sector, the labor market, and the sex industry. It details several obstacles governments face in their efforts to weaken the "bad actors" that profit from exploitation, and shows how one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement is that serious criminals and lawbreakers often operate on the edge of legality and exploit legal routes wherever possible.
This report outlines the security-related challenges that borders are intended to address—including terrorism, human smuggling and trafficking, illegal migration, and drug trafficking—and, in turn, the perverse consequences that tighter border enforcement can generate. As states implement extensive border controls and deterrence measures to prevent illegal migration, they indirectly push unauthorized migrants into the hands of smugglers and traffickers.