E.g., 03/05/2021
E.g., 03/05/2021

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
January 2019
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, Luis Argueta and Randy Capps
Commentaries
January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
Registration of Nigerian migrants for voluntary return
Articles
U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
Articles
Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona
Articles
Migrants returning to Ethiopia
Articles

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

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Metro in Caracas

Migration surged throughout South America in 2017, challenging governments to keep up with inflows. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru worked to process record numbers of Venezuelan asylum applications, and launched special visa programs for some new arrivals. While the government responses have been largely welcoming, the illegal immigration of Haitians provoked more restrictive policy reactions in Chile and Argentina.

Salvadoran family

The Trump administration’s announcement that it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan has brought unprecedented attention to the program and its future. Established in 1990, TPS offers work authorization and deportation relief to foreign nationals already in the United States unable to return to countries embroiled in conflict or the effects of a natural disaster. This Policy Beat explores past and current TPS designations and debates surrounding the program.

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.

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Audio
June 25, 2014

The flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States has surged 90 percent since last year, with government officials predicting that it might reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September—and perhaps 130,000 next year. This telebriefing discusses factors behind the flows as well as short- and longer-term policy options for improving how the U.S. immigration system interacts with this population with distinct needs.

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.

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Recent Activity

Reports
January 2019

Reception and reintegration programs for deported and other returning migrants represent a long-term investment for migrant-origin and destination countries, holding the potential to reduce re-migration and permit communities of origin to benefit from the skills migrants learn abroad. This report offers recommendations to make reintegration programs more effective in Mexico and Central America.

Commentaries
January 2019

What President Trump calls a border crisis is in fact a crisis in the asylum system—one worsened at every turn by his administration’s harsh policies and rhetoric. Rather than spend $5.7 billion on a wall, it would be far more effective to use the money to retool an overwhelmed asylum system, adapt outmatched border enforcement infrastructure to respond to the changing composition of arrivals, and work cooperatively with Mexico to tackle the factors propelling Central Americans to flee.

Articles

The European Union's focus on formal readmission agreements with migrant-origin countries to manage the return of irregular migrants and failed asylum seekers has given way since 2016 to informal arrangements. This article explores the potential effect that nonbinding readmission pacts could have on migrant returns to sub-Saharan Africa, where return rates from EU Member States have been low.

Articles

2018 proved a banner year for far-right populist movements in Europe and the Americas. They claimed the presidency of Brazil, sparked the collapse of the Belgian government, and—whether in or out of office—put a harder-edged stamp on migration and asylum policies in Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, and beyond.

Articles

The Trump administration took sweeping action in 2018 to slow legal immigration, make life harder for some immigrants already in the United States, rebuff would-be asylum seekers, and reduce refugee resettlement. Shaping a narrative of crisis at the border, the administration significantly changed the U.S. asylum system, deployed troops and tear gas, and separated families—yet Central American migrants continued to arrive.

Articles

Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.

Articles

As industrialized countries are adopting harder-edge immigration and asylum policies to deal with real and perceived crises, humanitarian actors have sought to blunt the effects of those policies by launching rescue missions at sea, rendering direct aid to migrants in need, and offering legal assistance. A concerted pushback to this resistance emerged in 2018, with governments using legislative, legal, and other tools to fight back.

Articles

Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

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