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.
President Obama's sweeping executive action to shield as many as 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from deportation is facing tough legal and political challenges. This month's Policy Beat examines the efforts to proceed with implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA despite a lawsuit brought by a coalition of 26 states and staunch opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress.
In 2014 governments in Europe, North America, and Australia reacted to significant mixed flows of humanitarian, economic, and family-stream migrants with a range of new policies. These came as some migrants presented themselves to authorities for processing rather than trying to evade U.S. or European border controls, with the knowledge that backlogs and little political will for the removal of vulnerable populations might allow them to stay for extended periods.
After years of gridlock, increasing pressure from immigrant advocates, and several delays in 2014, President Obama announced sweeping executive actions to provide deportation relief to as many as 5.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The plan sparked a political firestorm among Republicans who vowed to use all tools at their disposal to block the actions, ensuring that immigration will continue to be a flashpoint for the remainder of the president's term.
New migration patterns at the U.S. Southwest border, including a shift in border crossers from primarily Mexican men to Central American families, and from the California and Arizona borders to the Rio Grande Valley, have important implications for U.S. border policy and enforcement strategies, raising questions of what consequences might deter unauthorized Central Americans while still meeting international obligations to protect vulnerable migrants.
In recent years emigration from Mexico has declined, the country's stable economy has drawn an increasing number of international migrants, and the pace of transmigration to the United States has quickened. Amid these changing realities, punctuated by a spike in migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America in 2014, Mexico is confronting a new role as migration manager: balancing increasing enforcement and protection of migrants' rights.
The debate over the future of DACA participants and the passage of legislation to legalize them and a broader cohort of DREAMers features a number of arguments pro and con. Opposition centers in part on the premise of widespread labor market competition between DREAMers and the U.S. born, particularly minorities. But as as this commentary explains, analysis shows that the case is a weak one.
Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.
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.
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.
As destination countries look for ways to better manage migration, many are seeking to build or strengthen collaboration with origin and transit countries. While many partnerships share similar goals—limiting arrivals, returning unauthorized migrants, and addressing migration’s root causes—their outcomes vary. This Transatlantic Council Statement examines the factors behind these mixed results and offers recommendations to make partnerships succeed.
In 2016, the European Union announced with fanfare a new Migration Partnership Framework to inform cooperation with countries of origin and transit. While the bloc has long recognized collaboration as key to achieving its migration-management aims, EU partnerships face persistent challenges, including looking beyond short-term enforcement goals and taking into account partner needs, capacity, and objectives.
Amid growing calls for Congress to pass DREAM Act-type legislation, critics are arguing that legalization would spur vast new "chain migration" because DREAMers could eventually sponsor their relatives for green cards. MPI estimates the numbers who could receive legal permanent residence as a result of sponsorship by DREAMers would be far lower, for a range of reasons explained in this commentary.
With 1 million people forcibly returned to Afghanistan in 2016 alone, the nature of return policies and reintegration assistance from European governments and others merits significant attention. This report examines the implications that returns present for those who are returned, Afghan society, and the migration-management and development objectives of the countries that are initiating the returns.