E.g., 09/29/2020
E.g., 09/29/2020

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

Reports
September 2018
By Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman, and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
Image of families belong together event banner in Houston
Articles
Commentaries
September 2018
By Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix, and Jennifer Van Hook
Reports
September 2018
By Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Salvadoran kids
Articles
Protest at an immigration detention facility
Articles
Honduran boy
Reports
July 2018
By Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee

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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
Reports
May 2013
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Doris Meissner, and Eleanor Sohnen
Policy Briefs
May 2013
By Randy Capps, Michael Fix, Jennifer Van Hook, and James D. Bachmeier

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Trump at a rally in Phoenix.

The Trump administration has released a list of hardline immigration demands—including border wall funding, restrictions on federal grants to “sanctuary” cities, and cuts to legal immigration—in exchange for legislation protecting DREAMers. This article examines the prospects for these proposals and more broadly for a legislative fix to resolve the status of unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Cambodian worker in Thailand

Thailand has become a key destination for migrant workers, primarily from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Many lack authorization, however, and as their numbers have grown, so has the government's intent in regulating their movement—sometimes provoking unintended results. This article explores recent patterns in labor migration to Thailand and examines the likely impacts of a 2017 decree criminalizing illegal employment.

Bangladeshi migrant workers

Bangladeshis in 2017 suddenly emerged as one of the top migrant groups entering Europe illegally. While Europe is a new destination, Bangladeshi labor migration has been an important part of the country's development since the 1970s, with growing numbers heading abroad, largely to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This article explores and contextualizes the new phenomenon of Bangladeshi migration to Europe.

Supporters of the DREAM Act at a September 2017 march in Los Angeles.

The Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deportation-relief program launched in 2012 has sparked new urgency to find a longer-term fix for "DREAMers," the unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. This Policy Beat article examines movement in the courts and in Congress on the DREAM Act and similar proposals, exploring likely paths forward.

Grand Canal in Venice

Long a country of emigration—13 million Italians went abroad between 1880 and 1915—Italy has also experienced significant inflows of Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African workers in recent decades. Italy has also been on the frontlines of Europe's refugee crisis. This country profile examines Italy's shifting migration patterns, policy responses over time, and debates.

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Video, Audio
June 24, 2014

This MPI panel discussion focuses on a toolkit by the Women's Refugee Commission to provide detained and deported immigrants as well as unauthorized immigrant mothers and fathers with crucial information to protect and maintain their parental rights and make well-informed decisions regarding the care and welfare of their children.

Audio
June 18, 2014

This MPI Europe telebriefing, releasing the brief "Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum," examines Europe's current reality with respect to migration and asylum and assesses the possibilities for future development of EU immigration policy.

Video, Audio
April 29, 2014

This MPI panel discussion examines the U.S. deportation system with analysis on migrant apprehensions, removals, returns, and criminal prosecutions, and launches the report, "The Deportation Dilemma: Reconciling Tough and Humane Enforcement."

Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse.

Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

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Recent Activity

Reports
September 2018

The United States has a long tradition of providing asylum to those in need. But in recent years, case backlogs have grown and many asylum seekers now wait years for a decision. This report examines the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to this crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be taken to restore timeliness and fairness, while deterring abuses.

Articles

As the Trump administration moves to be able to indefinitely detain parents and children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether illegal border crossers or asylum seekers, recent apprehension trends and history suggest hardline policies might not be a slam-dunk deterrent with a Central American population often driven by the desire to escape gang or other violence, as this Policy Beat explores.

Commentaries
September 2018

In a commentary, MPI and Penn State researchers explain why an academic article suggesting the unauthorized population is significantly higher than previously estimated derives from seriously flawed assumptions. The researchers, who peer-reviewed the analysis, find the authors overestimate successful illegal crossings by misapplying data from the 2000s to the 1990s, when crossing patterns were much different.

Reports
September 2018

The Houston metro area, home to 1.6 million immigrants, is diverse and rapidly growing. This report sketches the area's immigrant population, examining top origin countries, key socioeconomic measures, and more. It also explores how Hurricane Harvey affected the immigrant population, and how national policy changes under the Trump administration are being felt locally, including by DACA recipients and asylum seekers.

Articles

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America yet the most densely populated. A stagnant economy, high levels of crime and violence, and natural disasters have pushed growing numbers of people to migrate without authorization or seek asylum abroad, mostly in the United States. This article explores historical and contemporary emigration from El Salvador.

Articles

With the #AbolishICE movement catching fire among some on the left, critics of the Trump administration's immigration policies have seized on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as their main target—even condemning it for actions taken by other agencies. This article explores the evolution of ICE and resistance to it, as well as actions taken by the agency itself that have made its mission even more controversial.

Articles

Since fiscal year 2010, more than 70,000 immigrant children have applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a pathway to a green card for youth who have been abused or neglected by their parents. Based on interviews with SIJ applicants, judges, and attorneys, this article provides an overview of the SIJ program and identifies limitations on access.

Reports
July 2018

President Trump has made reshaping the U.S. immigration system a top priority. Yet the fragmented nature of policy-making in the United States—with power split between branches and levels of government—has made it difficult to pursue some of his most ambitious proposals. This report explores the evolution of migration policy under Trump, and what these changes may mean in the long run.

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