E.g., 09/24/2020
E.g., 09/24/2020

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

U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
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Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona
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Migrants returning to Ethiopia
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Migrant processing at San Ysidro port of entry
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Reports
November 2018
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, and Kate Hooper
Fact Sheets
November 2018
By Julia Gelatt and Jie Zong

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Reports
January 2015
By Sarah Hooker, Margie McHugh, and Angelo Mathay
Reports
October 2014
By Marc R. Rosenblum and Kristen McCabe
Policy Briefs
September 2014
By Randy Capps and Marc R. Rosenblum
Reports
August 2014
By Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker, and Randy Capps
Reports
April 2014
By Marc R. Rosenblum and Doris Meissner
Reports
March 2014
By Sarah Hooker, Michael Fix, and Margie McHugh

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Department of Justice

The Trump administration has been steadily building a case to penalize "sanctuary" cities—those jurisdictions that in some way limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities—after threatening to cut federal funding. Despite court rulings that seemed to strike a blow against these efforts, the Justice Department is moving forward with its strategy, relying on a broad interpretation of a federal statute, as this article explores.

Girl wearing flag

The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.

7-Eleven in Los Angeles

An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.

Migrants on a boat

European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.

ICE agent

In its first year, the Trump administration moved to deliver on some of Donald Trump’s campaign promises on immigration, including ramping up enforcement in the U.S. interior and ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The administration also announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of some countries. This article explores some of the top policy changes.

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Video, Audio
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

Video, Audio
January 15, 2015

A webinar showcasing MPI's data profiles of unauthorized immigrants in the 94 U.S. counties with the largest such populations, as well as the implications of the data for implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.

Video, Audio
January 7, 2015

A webinar examining the outreach and initiatives by educational institutions and other community stakeholders seeking to support the education and training success of grantees of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Video, Audio
December 3, 2014

A discussion with MPI experts of the less-examined aspects of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, with respect to immigration enforcement, legal immigration, and immigrant integration.

Video, Audio
October 21, 2014

This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.

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Recent Activity

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The Trump administration’s latest effort to narrow the ability to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border hit a legal roadblock within days of implementation, as has been the pattern for much of its immigration agenda. This article examines the actions on asylum, which alongside deployment of active-duty military to the border, are among measures taken to seek to reduce the flow of Central Americans to the United States.

Video, Audio, Webinars
November 15, 2018

In advance of the December 2018 adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, which includes a commitment to facilitate the return and reintegration of migrants, this webinar examines the policies, practices, and contextual factors that make compulsory returns such a difficult issue for international cooperation. Speakers also discuss the programs that are being implemented to make reintegration of returnees sustainable.

Reports
November 2018

Nativist populism is both symptom and driver of the challenges facing many societies in Europe and the United States. And, as this Transatlantic Council Statement explores, it is reshaping political landscapes and immigration debates. Rebuilding public trust in governments’ ability to manage migration will require that policymakers actively address social and economic divisions and provide a credible alternative to populism.

Fact Sheets
November 2018

This fact sheet and accompanying interactive data tools provide characteristics of the estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, using a unique MPI methodology that assigns legal status to U.S. Census Bureau data. The fact sheet and tools offer statistics on these immigrants’ origins, U.S. destinations, educational attainment, English proficiency, employment, income, home ownership, and more.

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