E.g., 06/20/2024
E.g., 06/20/2024
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

Immigrants arriving on a ferry near Ellis Island.
Cover image for The State of Global Mobility in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Reports
April 2024
By  Meghan Benton, Lawrence Huang, Jeanne Batalova and Tino Tirado
U.S. Border Patrol agents transporting migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border
Articles
Flags of South American countries.
Articles
Image of female worker at the Boqueria market in Barcelona making a crepe
Commentaries
March 2024
By  Anna Terrón Cusí and Andrew Selee
President Joe Biden in Mexico City.
A naturalization ceremony at the White House.

Pages

Cover image for The State of Global Mobility in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Reports
April 2024
By  Meghan Benton, Lawrence Huang, Jeanne Batalova and Tino Tirado
Cover image for Converging Crises
Reports
March 2024
By  Luisa Feline Freier, Andrea Kvietok and Leon Lucar Oba
Cover image for Outmatched: The U.S. Asylum System Faces Record Demands
Reports
February 2024
By  Kathleen Bush-Joseph
Cover image for Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Reports
January 2024
By  Alan D. Bersin, Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh
Shifting Realities at the U.S.-Mexico Border report
Reports
January 2024
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Doris Meissner
Cover image for What Role Could Digital Technologies Play...
Policy Briefs
December 2023
By  Lucía Salgado and Hanne Beirens

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Immigrants arriving on a ferry near Ellis Island.

The Immigration Act of 1924 shaped the U.S. population over the course of the 20th century, greatly restricting immigration and ensuring that arriving immigrants were mostly from Northern and Western Europe. The century-old law was one of the most restrictive in U.S. history and helped create the framework for key provisions of the U.S. immigration system that remain in place a century later. This article analyzes the effect and legacy of the 1924 law.

U.S. Border Patrol agents transporting migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border

Once an obscure section of U.S. law, Title 42 was used to expel unauthorized migrants reaching U.S. borders nearly 3 million times from March 2020 to May 2023. Despite idealized depictions of its impact by some politicians, the order was largely ineffective in deterring irregular migration. Instead, it represented a dramatic break with decades of law providing protection to asylum seekers, as this article details.

Flags of South American countries.

The South American immigrant population in the United States has grown at a faster rate than that of the overall foreign-born population, amid crises in Venezuela, Colombia, and elsewhere. Yet South Americans still account for only about one in ten U.S. immigrants. While they mirror the overall U.S. immigrant population in several demographic characteristics, there are some notable differences, as this article details.

President Joe Biden in Mexico City.

The U.S. immigration enforcement system increasingly depends on other countries to help halt irregular movements through the Americas and accept the return of unauthorized migrants. Foreign governments play a crucial and yet underappreciated role in migration management, and can either aid or frustrate U.S. border-control aims, as this article explores.

A naturalization ceremony at the White House.

Immigration touches on many facets of life in the United States. Get the facts with this useful resource, which compiles in one place answers to some of the most often-asked questions about immigration and immigrants in the United States now and historically. This article contains essential data on the immigrant population, immigration levels, trends in immigration enforcement, and much more.

Pages

Image of female worker at the Boqueria market in Barcelona making a crepe
Commentaries
March 2024
By  Anna Terrón Cusí and Andrew Selee
Image of EU and Member State flags flapping in wind
Commentaries
December 2023
By  Hanne Beirens and Camille Le Coz
CBP personnel process and screen migrants for possible entry into the U.S.
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a DACA roundtable
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Jennifer Van Hook, Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
President Biden meets with DACA recipients
Commentaries
September 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Julia Gelatt
Photo of CBP One App poster at shelter in Reynosa, Mexico
Commentaries
April 2023
By  Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh
CBP agents process asylum seeker at El Paso, Texas port of entry
Commentaries
March 2023
By  Doris Meissner

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Explainer IllegalImmigration Art
Explainers
April 2019

How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 19, 2023

African migrants turn to the strength of kinship-based support systems in pursuit of stability as they settle in a European landscape that is sometimes made precarious by their legal status and shifting policies. This episode discusses use of the kinship networks, including to exchange or broker identity documents between migrants along the migration journey and at destination.

2023 Immigration Law and Policy Conference
Video
September 18, 2023

The 20th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by MPI, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, features fresh, thoughtful policy and legal analysis, and discussion of some of the top immigration issues by leading government officials, attorneys, researchers, advocates, and other experts. 

Community leaders and former returnees act as focal points to help returnees in accessing relevant services,
Video, Audio
July 25, 2023

This webinar explores the goals and target audiences for public-facing information campaigns on voluntary return and reintegration, how to evaluate dissemination gaps, and the risks associated with inadvertently issuing messages that are not trusted or are misunderstood.

Image of gavel resting on U.S. flag
Video
July 20, 2023

As the U.S. immigration court system struggles with record case backlogs, decisions take years, immigration enforcement is delayed, and wait times incentivize unauthorized arrivals. This discussion examines the factors that have driven the system to the point of crisis and possible fixes.

Expert Q&A, Audio
June 27, 2023

MPI Senior Policy Analyst Valerie Lacarte speaks with experts Bridget Wooding and Louby George about migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

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Recent Activity

Articles

The Immigration Act of 1924 shaped the U.S. population over the course of the 20th century, greatly restricting immigration and ensuring that arriving immigrants were mostly from Northern and Western Europe. The century-old law was one of the most restrictive in U.S. history and helped create the framework for key provisions of the U.S. immigration system that remain in place a century later. This article analyzes the effect and legacy of the 1924 law.

Reports
April 2024

While human mobility globally has largely recovered from its pandemic-era drop, it is undergoing considerable change. The causes are diverse, from climate shocks and shifting economic conditions to conflict-induced displacement. This report explores how the scale and characteristics of cross-border movement are evolving post-pandemic, featuring case studies from different world regions.

Articles

Once an obscure section of U.S. law, Title 42 was used to expel unauthorized migrants reaching U.S. borders nearly 3 million times from March 2020 to May 2023. Despite idealized depictions of its impact by some politicians, the order was largely ineffective in deterring irregular migration. Instead, it represented a dramatic break with decades of law providing protection to asylum seekers, as this article details.

Articles

The South American immigrant population in the United States has grown at a faster rate than that of the overall foreign-born population, amid crises in Venezuela, Colombia, and elsewhere. Yet South Americans still account for only about one in ten U.S. immigrants. While they mirror the overall U.S. immigrant population in several demographic characteristics, there are some notable differences, as this article details.

Commentaries
March 2024

Spain and the United States both receive their greatest number of immigrants from Latin America, and have worked collaboratively together on displacement crises and other migration issues. As shared immigration challenges dominate debate on both sides of the Atlantic, Spain can serve as a vital bridge in the policy conversation, this commentary notes.

Articles

The U.S. immigration enforcement system increasingly depends on other countries to help halt irregular movements through the Americas and accept the return of unauthorized migrants. Foreign governments play a crucial and yet underappreciated role in migration management, and can either aid or frustrate U.S. border-control aims, as this article explores.

Articles

Immigration touches on many facets of life in the United States. Get the facts with this useful resource, which compiles in one place answers to some of the most often-asked questions about immigration and immigrants in the United States now and historically. This article contains essential data on the immigrant population, immigration levels, trends in immigration enforcement, and much more.

Reports
March 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on mobility in the Middle East and North Africa were immediate and wide-reaching. These include the world’s largest and most sustained repatriation efforts for stranded migrants, halted and reversed irregular journeys, and a reckoning with some countries’ reliance on foreign labor. This report examines how these impacts varied across countries in this highly diverse region, as well as the uneven recovery.

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