E.g., 09/25/2022
E.g., 09/25/2022
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

Cover image for Four Years of Profound Change: Immigration Policy during the Trump Presidency
Reports
February 2022
By  Jessica Bolter, Emma Israel and Sarah Pierce
Photo of U.S. President Joe Biden delivering remarks in front of White House.
Articles
Cover image for Putting Migrant Reintegration Programs to the Test: A Road Map to a Monitoring System
Reports
January 2022
By  Lucía Salgado, Radu-Mihai Triculescu, Camille Le Coz and Hanne Beirens
A Dutch family at Ellis Island between 1915 and 1920.
Migrants enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
Cover image for El estado de la política migratoria y de integración de Costa Rica
Reports
November 2021
By  Diego Chaves-González and María Jesús Mora
Cover image for The State of Costa Rican Migration and Immigrant Integration Policy
Reports
November 2021
By  Diego Chaves-González and María Jesús Mora

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Policy Briefs
February 2021
By  Camille Le Coz and Kathleen Newland
Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins
Fact Sheets
December 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Jennifer Van Hook
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt
Coverthumb DataMatters2018
Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt

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A member of the MS-13 gang.

Gang violence is a major driver of migration, particularly from Central America to the United States. But governments on both sides often rely on outdated and static understandings of gangs and their membership. This article explains the history of groups such as MS-13 and Barrio 18 and why they are relevant for immigration policy.

The number of Central American immigrants in the United States has grown dramatically, amid political corruption, violence, and natural disasters in their native countries. But recent images of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border do not tell the whole story, with more than half the population arriving in 2000 or earlier. This article offers key data on the 3.8 million Central American immigrants in the United States.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a political event in Arizona.

Texas seems set to become chief antagonist to President Joe Biden’s immigration agenda. This article explores Governor Greg Abbott's plans to build new barriers along the border, use state and local law enforcement to carry out arrests of unauthorized immigrants, and strip licensing from federally contracted shelters housing unaccompanied children.

A boy walks through a coastal village in Honduras.

A disproportionate number of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the United States come from Honduras, driven by government corruption, impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and hurricanes that have devastated communities and livelihoods. This article examine the multiple factors behind migration from the country, drawing from interviews with migrants en route.

Two men talk during a retiree luncheon

Results from the 2020 census show that the U.S. population has been growing at its slowest rate since the Great Depression. Reduced immigration has been one component of this sluggish population growth, which could pose a problem for the United States as people age and strain public retirement systems. This U.S. Policy Beat article examines how immigration fits into the country's demographic puzzle.

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flickr Pompeo and Mexican Foreign Secretary 48339070726_fce1d4d7d7_c (1)
Video, Audio
June 8, 2020

Amid rising Central American migration to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments in June 2019 signed a joint declaration pledging to work together to manage and reduce irregular migration. At the agreement’s one-year anniversary, MPI researchers engaged in discussion with former U.S. and Mexican Ambassadors and a veteran journalist about the changes sparked. 

Andrew Selee, Veronica Escobar, Dan Crenshaw, Duncan Wood
Video
April 22, 2020

In this bipartisan discussion, two border-state members of Congress—Rep. Veronica Escobar and Rep. Dan Crenshaw—discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak, how it is affecting the interconnected border region, and what the future might hold.
 

Pixabay Gerd Altmann
Video, Audio
March 24, 2020

This webinar, organized by MPI and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed migration policy responses around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. 

Cecilia Munoz and Carlos Gutierrez
Video, Audio
August 12, 2019

This discussion marked the launch of MPI's Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy Initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration should play in America’s future, as well as to build a bipartisan center so needed reforms can be enacted.

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Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

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Recent Activity

Reports
February 2022

The Trump administration set an unprecedented pace for executive action on immigration, reshaping many aspects of the U.S. immigration system through changes large and small. This report chronicles the 472 administrative changes enacted during this four-year period—ranging from COVID-19 response measures and immigration enforcement, to humanitarian protection, travel bans, legal immigration and DACA changes, and more.

Video, Audio, Webinars
January 19, 2022

This MPI discussion with leading experts, advocates, and a top official from the administration examines the Biden track record on immigration and what lays ahead

Articles

While Donald Trump’s presidency is perceived as being the most active on immigration, touching nearly every aspect of the U.S. immigration system, President Joe Biden’s administration has far outpaced his predecessor in the number of executive actions taken during his first year in office—even as the pace of change has gone largely unnoticed, as this article explores.

Reports
January 2022

The European push to increase migrant returns has led to new investments in assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programs. Yet it is hard to tell whether these investments are paying off. This report explores what is and is not known about returnee reintegration, and how improved monitoring and evaluation would help bridge knowledge gaps and inform future decisions about programming, funding, and strategy.

Articles

As host to more immigrants than any other country, the United States has been shaped and reshaped by immigration over the centuries, with the issue at times becoming a flashpoint. This article covers the history of U.S. immigration and the major laws governing immigration, and provides a comprehensive overview of the present-day immigrant population.

Articles

The Biden administration's court-ordered restart of the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols, known informally as the Remain in Mexico policy, puts it in the awkward position of reviving a program it is simultaneously still trying to end. The Trump-era program forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait out the duration of their U.S. immigration court hearings in Mexico and was only questionably successful at deterring unauthorized arrivals.

Reports
November 2021
Dentro de América Latina, Costa Rica es uno de los principales destinos para migrantes y refugiados de una amplia gama de países y con características e intencionalidades migratorias diferentes. Este informe examina el marco institucional y la capacidad del sistema migratorio del país, con un enfoque en la integración de inmigrantes en cuatro áreas de políticas: registro y regularización, salud, empleo y educación.
Reports
November 2021

Within Latin America, Costa Rica is a top destination for migrants and refugees from a range of countries and with different characteristics and migration intentions. This report examines the institutional framework and capacity of the country’s migration system, with a focus on immigrant integration in four policy areas: regularization and registration, health, employment, and education.

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