E.g., 11/28/2020
E.g., 11/28/2020

Immigration Policy & Law

Immigration Policy & Law

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.

Recent Activity

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Reports
May 2018
By  Randy Capps, Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Reports
April 2018
By  Meghan Benton, Aliyyah Ahad, Michaela Benson, Katherine Collins, Helen McCarthy and Karen O’Reilly
Reports
April 2018
By  Maki Park, Caitlin Katsiaficas and Margie McHugh
Policy Briefs
April 2018
By  Kate Hooper and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
March 2018
By  Sarah Pierce and Julia Gelatt
Scaling up Refugee Resettlement in Europe
Reports
March 2018
By  Hanne Beirens and Aliyyah Ahad
Policy Briefs
January 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester
Reports
January 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee

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Image of families belong together event banner in Houston

As the Trump administration moves to be able to indefinitely detain parents and children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether illegal border crossers or asylum seekers, recent apprehension trends and history suggest hardline policies might not be a slam-dunk deterrent with a Central American population often driven by the desire to escape gang or other violence, as this Policy Beat explores.

Salvadoran kids

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America yet the most densely populated. A stagnant economy, high levels of crime and violence, and natural disasters have pushed growing numbers of people to migrate without authorization or seek asylum abroad, mostly in the United States. This article explores historical and contemporary emigration from El Salvador.

Protest at an immigration detention facility

With the #AbolishICE movement catching fire among some on the left, critics of the Trump administration's immigration policies have seized on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as their main target—even condemning it for actions taken by other agencies. This article explores the evolution of ICE and resistance to it, as well as actions taken by the agency itself that have made its mission even more controversial.

Construction site in Kuwait

In Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, migrants make up a significant share of the private-sector workforce. While mainstream narratives commonly focus on the exploitation and abuse some of these migrant workers experience, their lives and relationships with the native born are much more complex and less unequal than is often perceived, as this article explores.

Honduran boy

Since fiscal year 2010, more than 70,000 immigrant children have applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a pathway to a green card for youth who have been abused or neglected by their parents. Based on interviews with SIJ applicants, judges, and attorneys, this article provides an overview of the SIJ program and identifies limitations on access.

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Video, Audio
May 4, 2017

In the midst of efforts to further ramp up enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border even as illegal crossings are a fraction of what they were at their peak in 2000, MPI research sketches the changing realities at the border and offers data that should help inform the policy debate. As the Trump administration and Congress consider constructing a border wall, adding thousands of Border Patrol agen

Audio
April 24, 2017

As the 100-day milestone for the Trump administration approaches, MPI's Doris Meissner and Muzaffar Chishti are joined by the former Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie Myers Wood, and former DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning C. Stewart Verdery for a discussion of the administration's track record to date on immigration, the policies articulated in its executive orders, legal challenges, reactions by publics and policymakers, and the possible long-term effects of these policies.

Video, Audio
April 12, 2017

Public anxiety about immigration and the fast pace of social change has reached a boiling point in many parts of Europe, contributing (in part) to the ascent of populist far-right parties. This discussion focuses on how the French election is unfolding, what we can learn from Brexit and the Dutch elections, and what these results portend (if anything) for the next round of political contests in Europe. Experts consider how governments can manage broader public concerns about rapid social change, economic opportunity, and security in ways that can reduce public anxiety over immigration and restore the public's trust. 

Video, Audio
January 27, 2017

As the Trump administration assumes office and the DACA program faces an uncertain future, University of California President Janet Napolitano; Donald Graham, cofounder of TheDream.Us; and Ike Brannon, Visiting Fellow at the CATO Institute join MPI's Doris Meissner for a discussion on the possible impacts of rescinding DACA, particularly in the areas of higher education, philanthropy, and the economy.  

Video, Audio
December 7, 2016

A presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of brain waste for highly skilled immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. The researchers discuss their findings in terms of the billions of dollars in forgone earnings and unrealized taxes when college-educated immigrants are relegated to low-skilled work.

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Recent Activity

Articles

With a backlog of more than 1 million removal cases, the U.S. immigration court system is in crisis. Pressure from external forces, internal challenges, and lagging resources for the courts at a time of massive increases in spending on immigration enforcement have contributed to the backlog. This article explores how the system got to the breaking point, and what opportunities for reform exist.

Video, Audio
September 27, 2019

Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border, discusses how Colombia is coping with the influx of Venezuelan migrants, plans for future policy decisions surrounding this migration, and developments in regional and international cooperation.

Articles

Buoyed by initial successes challenging Trump administration immigration actions such as the travel ban in federal court, many critics expected the judiciary to act as a brake on major changes to the immigration system. Yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown a willingness to affirm the executive branch's immigration policies, most recently permitting what is arguably the most significant asylum policy change in four decades to proceed.

Reports
September 2019

La migración entre México y Estados Unidos ha cambiado dramáticamente en los últimos años, pero las políticas y la retórica política en ambos países no se han actualizado a este contexto a la misma velocidad. Este reporte explora esta nueva realidad migratoria y cómo los dos gobiernos podrían trabajar juntos para abordar los desafíos de políticas públicas que tienen en común.

Reports
September 2019

Migration between Mexico and the United States has changed dramatically in recent years, but policies and political rhetoric in both countries have not always kept up. This report, which draws from discussions of a high-level Mexico-U.S. study group convened by MPI and El Colegio de México, explores this new migration reality and how the two governments could work more closely together to address shared policy challenges.

Policy Briefs
September 2019

Six months on from the original March 2019 Brexit date and staring a new deadline in the face, many EU countries still had only skeletal plans for how to adjust the status of their resident UK nationals should a no-deal Brexit come to pass. This policy brief highlights critical gaps in these plans, the groups most likely to be affected by them, and strategies Member States and the United Kingdom could adopt to soften the impact.

Articles

With nearly 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), Ukraine is home to one of the largest IDP populations in the world. Five years after Russia's annexation of Crimea, displaced Ukrainians continue to face challenges related to national identity, social cohesion, and political participation. While the Ukrainian government has had some success integrating IDPs, the conflict’s end remains uncertain, and many are unlikely to return to their communities of origin no matter the outcome.

Articles

New Zealand drew global attention for its unity and support for the Muslim community targeted during the horrific Christchurch attacks. Yet the country's road to inclusion has been far from straightforward, and amid rising diversity it is grappling with the best way to achieve inclusion for its multiethnic population, including indigenous Māori peoples and migrants. This article outlines the opportunities and challenges to fostering multiculturalism against a backdrop of bicultural policies.

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