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Immigration Policy & Law

Immigration Policy & Law

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Immigration legislative and administrative policies, legal statutes and court decisions, and regulations collectively shape nations' immigration systems—from visa allotments and immigrant-selection mechanisms to immigrant integration programs, border controls, and more. As international migration has increased in size and spread and as a number of nations are more flexibly adjusting their immigration systems, the research offered here examines the many permutations of immigration policy and law, often with a comparative lens.

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Reports
March 2017
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Guntur Sugiyarto

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Policy Briefs
October 2013
By  Kathleen Newland
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Policy Briefs
November 2012
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Kathleen Newland
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Policy Briefs
October 2012
By  Jerry Huguet, Aphichat Chamratrithirong and Claudia Natali
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Policy Briefs
September 2012
By  Maruja M.B. Asis and Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Policy Briefs
August 2012
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza

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One of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, Japan is looking to immigration to address increased labor shortages—albeit slowly and largely without public debate. This country profile offers a brief overview of Japan’s migration history and examines the current immigration system, in particular policies and programs to bring in foreign workers, particularly on a temporary basis.

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Faced with labor shortages in key sectors of the economy, South Korea has moved carefully in recent decades toward accepting greater numbers of workers—albeit in temporary fashion. Its Employment Permit System, launched in 2003, earned international accolades for bringing order and legality to immigration in the country, although several challenges remain to be addressed as this Country Profile explores.

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Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.

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Having emerged from a long era of military rule, Myanmar's leaders and many citizens are looking outward. In particular, with Burmese labor migration abroad on the rise, policymakers are examining ways in which to harness remittances as a vehicle for economic development, particularly in impoverished rural areas. This article explores Burmese labor migration flows, financial reforms, and challenges on migration and development.

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With many countries in East Asia facing unfavorable demographic shifts in the form of aging populations, low fertility, and shrinking workforces, governments in 2016 continued to explore immigration as a potential policy solution. However, a tradition of cultural homogeneity and wariness among publics about increased immigration is leading policymakers to test the waters with very small steps.

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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.
 

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Audio
April 8, 2020

MPI and MPI Europe experts discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on asylum systems in Europe and North America, as well as in developing regions, where 85 percent of refugees live. During this freeform conversation, our analysts also assess the implications for the principle of asylum and the future for a post-World War II humanitarian protection system that is under threat.

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Audio
April 2, 2020

This MPI webinar brought together public health and migration experts to analyze the impact that COVID-19 preventative measures will have on vulnerable immigrants and refugees in Colombia and Latin America. Speakers also discussed how policymakers and international organizations can include migrant populations in their emergency response plans.

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Expert Q&A, Audio
March 31, 2020

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer.

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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. 

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Recent Activity

Articles

While intraregional migration is a pillar of the African Union's focus on enhancing regional integration and economic development, visa-free travel or visas upon arrival are a reality for only about half of the countries on the continent. Progress towards free movement for Africans has occurred mostly at a subregional level, as this article explores.

Articles

For the first time in a decade, fewer international students were studying in the United States during the 2019-20 school year than the year before. This decline, brought about in part by changing U.S. policy, has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article profiles the international student population in the United States, including their origins and fields of study.

Commentaries
December 2020

Researchers, service providers, and others have long predicted that sweeping revisions by the Trump administration to the definition of who constitutes a public charge would deter large numbers of immigrant-led households from using federal means-tested public benefits for which they are eligible. Recently released Census Bureau data show they were right: During the administration's first three years, program participation declined twice as fast among noncitizens as citizens.

Reports
December 2020

Climate change is likely to increase the intensity of extreme-weather events already shaping human mobility and displacement. The nature, scale, and direction of future climate-related migration will depend on many factors. This report takes stock of the influence that different combinations of migration, development, and climate policies could have on migration in regions around the world for the 2020-2050 and 2050-2100 periods, using a first-of-its-kind systematic exercise.

Fact Sheets
December 2020

After decades of growth, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has remained largely stable since the 2008–09 recession. The group's demographics are changing, though, with a shrinking number of Mexicans and rising Asian and Central American arrivals. This fact sheet presents a profile of these 11 million individuals, including top origin countries; U.S. destinations; and age, education, job, income, home ownership, English proficiency, and other characteristics.

Reports
December 2020

The link between climate change and migration is a complex one. Whether individuals move or stay in place can be voluntary or involuntary, a proactive strategy or last resort, and is part of a bigger story of global mobility and personal networks. This report examines this complicated relationship, highlights limitations of climate response measures to date, and presents an alternative, flexible approach based on the involvement of affected communities.

Commentaries
December 2020

With the U.S. health-care system buckling under the resurgent COVID-19 outbreak, policymakers could undertake efforts to enable skilled, underemployed international health-care professionals to practice. This would both make the health system more resilient and flexible, as well as introduce critical language and cultural skills important during the contact-tracing and vaccine rollout phases of the pandemic response, as this commentary explores.

Reports
December 2020

Un desafío y una oportunidad clave que enfrentará la administración de Joe Biden será cómo abordar la cooperación regional en relación a la migración. Este informe explora la evolución de la movilidad entre los Estados Unidos, México y Centroamérica y presenta una estrategia para ampliar las oportunidades en cuanto a la migración legal, abordar necesidades humanitarias, fortalecer la aplicación de la ley y mitigar algunas de las fuerzas que provocan la emigración.

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