E.g., 10/30/2020
E.g., 10/30/2020

Illegal Immigration & Interior Enforcement

Illegal Immigration & Interior Enforcement

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

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U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
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Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona
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Migrant processing at San Ysidro port of entry
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Fact Sheets
November 2018
By Julia Gelatt and Jie Zong
Reports
November 2018
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper, and Meghan Benton

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Reports
April 2014
By Marc R. Rosenblum and Doris Meissner
Reports
March 2014
By Sarah Hooker, Michael Fix, and Margie McHugh
Policy Briefs
January 2014
By Muzaffar Chishti and Charles Kamasaki
Reports
January 2014
By Randall Hansen and Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Reports
September 2013
By Jeanne Batalova, Monisha Das Gupta, and Sue Patricia Haglund
Policy Briefs
August 2013
By Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker, and Randy Capps

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Department of Justice

The Trump administration has been steadily building a case to penalize "sanctuary" cities—those jurisdictions that in some way limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities—after threatening to cut federal funding. Despite court rulings that seemed to strike a blow against these efforts, the Justice Department is moving forward with its strategy, relying on a broad interpretation of a federal statute, as this article explores.

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.

7-Eleven in Los Angeles

An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.

ICE agent

In its first year, the Trump administration moved to deliver on some of Donald Trump’s campaign promises on immigration, including ramping up enforcement in the U.S. interior and ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The administration also announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of some countries. This article explores some of the top policy changes.

In 2017, nationalists in Europe and the United States continued seizing on public concerns about immigration and diversity, making gains in pushing their agendas. While their success at the polls was mixed, nativist politicians have succeeded in reshaping broader migration debates, with growing political fragmentation and mistrust of establishment parties making it easier for them to break through.

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Video, Audio
December 8, 2015

A discussion marking the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Immigration Act, where experts examinine the history of the legislation, how it was accomplished politically, and the stakeholders and issues that were critical to its passage.

Video, Audio
October 29, 2015

This annual discussion offered political and policy analysis on key immigration topics, including family detention, unaccompanied child migrants, executive action, and the presidential campaigns, along with featured keynotes by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.  

Video, Audio
October 20, 2015

An MPI Europe video chat with the outgoing head of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on the current EU refugee crisis, what strategies Europe ought to be pursuing in response, and the growing role of EASO as well as its track record over its first five years.

Video, Audio
October 15, 2015

Marking the release of an MPI brief, this webinar examines data on where unaccompanied child migrants are being placed in the United States, how they are faring in immigration courts, what services are available to them, and how U.S.

Video, Audio
October 8, 2015

This webinar discusses the different policies that states have on unauthorized immigrants and in-state tuition, financial aid and other benefits, and the implications for unauthorized immigrant youth seeking two- and four-year college degrees.

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Recent Activity

Reports
April 2019

With the children of immigrants a growing share of all U.S. children, and federal immigration enforcement and other policies undergoing significant change, some state and local child welfare agencies are developing new ways to improve how they work with immigrant families. This report examines key cultural, linguistic, and legal challenges, and how agencies are adjusting staffing, training, placement, and other policies to tackle them.

Video, Audio
April 16, 2019

Over recent months, the number of Central American migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border has surged, presenting a critical challenge in the relationship between the two neighboring countries. Experts from a Study Group on U.S.-Mexico Migration convened by El Colegio de México and MPI discuss current trends, policies, and politics surrounding migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America and the U.S.-Mexico relationship, ways to improve U.S. and Mexican asylum systems, possible new approaches to labor migration, ways to address smuggling networks, and modernize border management.

Video, Audio
April 10, 2019

MPI's Kathleen Newland, Refugee Council USA's Mary Giovagnoli, and David Scott FitzGerald, author of Refuge beyond Reach, discuss how and why international and national responses to the rising challenge of refugee displacement are diverging. They examine what lies ahead for the Global Compact on Refugees and how adjustments to asylum policies in many high-income democracies are narrowing the paths to protection.

Reports
April 2019

A relatively new destination for immigrants, Spain has developed a labor migration system that builds on longstanding relationships with countries outside the European Union and that actively involves employers, trade unions, and regional governments. This report examines how this legal framework has evolved in recent decades, and how it could serve as a model for EU policymakers in admitting non-EU workers.

Policy Briefs
April 2019

The first years of a child’s life are a time of immense growth, and exposure to trauma—if left unaddressed—can have significant, lifelong effects. This issue brief examines how young children of refugees and other immigrants may be affected by trauma, and what early childhood education and care programs, health-care providers, and others can do to mitigate its adverse effects.

Commentaries
April 2019

Closing the U.S.-Mexico border and cutting off aid to Central America would only feed the crisis unfolding at key points along the U.S.-Mexico border. This commentary outlines a range of immediate and long-term policy responses that would more effectively address the complex mix of factors fueling rising Central American migration to the United States.

Articles

Remain in Mexico—the Trump administration policy aimed at deterring the rising numbers of migrants from Central America by requiring them to stay in Mexico through most of their U.S. asylum adjudication process—bears striking similarities to U.S. policy in the 1980s and 1990s that sought to discourage Haitians from making the sea journey to the United States. This article explores the parallels and differences between Remain in Mexico and the earlier narrowing of asylum for Haitians.

Commentaries
March 2019

The first bill introduced in the 116th Congress to offer a path to legal status to DREAMers, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, could legalize nearly 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, as well as those eligible for Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure, as this commentary explains.

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