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E.g., 06/25/2024
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

Venezuelan migrants at the Colombian border.
Articles
Farmworkers in Murcia, Spain
Articles
The U.S. Supreme Court.
Articles
A flag hangs at the vice president's residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.
Articles
Crossers at the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border
Articles
Cover image for Migration, Integration, and Diaspora Engagement in the Caribbean
Reports
March 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Jordi Amaral, Diego Chaves-González, Ana María Sáiz and Jeremy Harris
CBP agents process asylum seeker at El Paso, Texas port of entry
Commentaries
March 2023
By  Doris Meissner
A migrant from Tajikistan outside Moscow.

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Coverthumb RethinkingImmigration ConceptNote
Policy Briefs
August 2019
By  Doris Meissner
Coverthumb Border ControltoCrisis Report 2019
Reports
August 2019
By  Randy Capps, Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
Coverthumb MPI ImmigrationIssues2019
Reports
May 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Julia Gelatt
Coverthumb UnauthorizedImmigrant HS Graduates FactSheet
Fact Sheets
April 2019
By  Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova
Coverthumb ImmigrantFamiliesChildWelfare
Reports
April 2019
By  Mark Greenberg, Randy Capps, Andrew Kalweit, Jennifer Grishkin and Ann Flagg

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People in a business meeting.

The number of Chinese immigrants in the United States had grown swiftly for decades but shrank amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a whole, Chinese immigrants tend to have more education and higher salaries than other immigrants, although they are less likely to be fluent in English. This article provides a sociodemographic profile of Chinese immigrants in the United States, their top destination globally.

A migrant scheduled to be deported from the United States is escorted to a charter flight.

Every year, thousands of migrants ordered deported from EU Member States, the United States, and elsewhere are not returned to their origin countries. Why? One reason is the multiple nations that refuse to cooperate on readmitting their nationals abroad. This article explores the motivations behind countries’ lack of cooperation and how deporting states have responded.

Venezuelan migrants at a reception center in Brazil.

The Biden administration’s policy to expel some Venezuelan border arrivals to Mexico marks a significant reversal. For the first time, the U.S. government is invoking the controversial Title 42 expulsions policy not on public-health grounds but as an explicit immigration enforcement measure. The expulsions are being paired with a new humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelans. This article assesses the policy and the uneven treatment of humanitarian migrants by nationality.

A view of Barcelona.

Spain has an unconventional immigration system. The national government is primarily responsible for border control, granting legal status to migrants, and other issues, but integration is mostly handled by regional and local governments, allowing for some pioneering policies at the subnational level. This article explores what this system has meant for Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona, which have been considered to be a model throughout Europe.

A mariachi band performing in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Mexicans are by far the largest immigrant group in the United States, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all immigrants. However their numbers have been declining and in 2021 there were 1 million fewer than a decade ago. At the same time, despite years in which more new migrants came from China and India, Mexicans once again count as the largest group of new arrivals. This article outlines the changing shape and composition of this immigrant population.

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Video, Audio
May 8, 2018

Discussion at this event focused on findings from MPI's report examining the interior immigration enforcement system in the United States, including ICE data on deportations and arrests, and the responses of state and local governments, civil society, and consulates.  

EVENT PHOTO 2018.3.19 Immigration Data option 2a
Video, Audio
March 19, 2018

With immigration increasingly visible in the news and the political space in the United States and internationally, getting access to accurate, high-quality data is essential to understand immigration’s demographic effects and impacts on the economy, education and labor systems, and communities. This event marks the release of the Immigration Data Matters guide.

EVENT PHOTO 2018.3.15 LABOR STANDARDS 3
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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Recent Activity

Articles

Political and economic crises, new free-movement arrangements, and other trends are transforming countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, a region once known primarily for its emigration. The number of immigrants living in the region has nearly doubled since 2010, an incredible change in a short period of time. This article makes sense of a profound transition underway in the Western Hemisphere.

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Historically a country of emigration, Spain rapidly transitioned to become one of Europe’s major immigration destinations in just a few years. Remarkably, this evolution occurred with minimal political backlash, even as the country suffered through a crippling economic and labor crisis. This country profile examines the trends and policies that led to this astonishing development.

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Virtually all major U.S. immigration policy reforms have faced lawsuits in recent years, giving federal judges wide latitude to shape national policy. The situation, which began during the Obama administration and has escalated, is a byproduct of congressional inaction and the emergence of immigration as a political wedge issue. This article tracks the trend, which has added new volatility to the immigration system, and places it in context.

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Want to check a fact about U.S. immigration? Interested in putting recent trends into perspective? This article compiles authoritative, up-to-date information about the U.S. immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Data cover immigrants' demographic, educational, and linguistic characteristics; their top states of residence; enforcement activities; refugees and asylum seekers; naturalization trends; visa backlogs; and more.

Articles

A political crisis marked by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s growing authoritarianism has sparked the largest emigration in the country’s modern history. Hundreds of thousands have fled, including intellectuals, artists, and academics. They increasingly are heading beyond the traditional destination of Costa Rica, to the United States and beyond, as this article details.

Reports
March 2023

Although Caribbean migration is often discussed in terms of movement to North America and Europe, migration within the region has increased notably in recent years. With people on the move for work or study, to join family, and to seek safety from natural disasters or persecution, this mobility takes many forms. This report explores Caribbean migration trends and the policies and institutions put in place at national and regional levels to manage them.

Commentaries
March 2023

The border asylum proposed rule the Biden administration unveiled in February represents a bid to save the U.S. asylum system, not shut it down, as some contend. Whether it can succeed, however, depends on how it is implemented and on other steps that are beyond the bounds of the proposed rule, as this commentary explains.

Articles

Millions of immigrants fill key sectors in Russia’s economy, help offset its demographic challenges, and support origin communities, particularly in Central Asia. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many have also been pressured into joining the military, and meanwhile face continued marginalization by Russian society. This article outlines the key issues facing these migrants, some of which have been complicated by the fallout from the war.

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