E.g., 06/30/2022
E.g., 06/30/2022
Legalization/Regularization

Legalization/Regularization

_Legalization Regularization

Millions of unauthorized immigrants have been given legal status in Europe and the United States since the mid-1980s through programs and mechanisms variously referred to as legalization or regularization. The policy tool has been used variously to address rising numbers of unauthorized immigrants, regulate underground labor markets, or for humanitarian purposes. Viewed by critics as a spur for more illegal migration, such policies are touted as a humanitarian means of addressing the status of workers and residents living in limbo and of regulating the informal labor market.

Recent Activity

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Commentaries
March 2021
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Diego Chaves-González
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Diego Chaves-González
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Reports
February 2021
By  Jessica Bolter, Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner
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Articles
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Policy Briefs
November 2020
By  Doris Meissner and Michelle Mittelstadt

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Policy Briefs
January 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Jessica Bolter, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian and Miryam Hazán
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Policy Briefs
January 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Jessica Bolter, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian and Miryam Hazán
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Reports
April 2018
By  Meghan Benton, Aliyyah Ahad, Michaela Benson, Katherine Collins, Helen McCarthy and Karen O’Reilly
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Policy Briefs
December 2017
By  Sarah Pierce and Andrew Selee
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Fact Sheets
October 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Sarah Pierce and Randy Capps
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Fact Sheets
October 2017
By  Jeanne Batalova, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Michelle Mittelstadt

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MetroCaracas EneasDeTroya Flickr

Migration surged throughout South America in 2017, challenging governments to keep up with inflows. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru worked to process record numbers of Venezuelan asylum applications, and launched special visa programs for some new arrivals. While the government responses have been largely welcoming, the illegal immigration of Haitians provoked more restrictive policy reactions in Chile and Argentina.

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Thailand has become a key destination for migrant workers, primarily from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Many lack authorization, however, and as their numbers have grown, so has the government's intent in regulating their movement—sometimes provoking unintended results. This article explores recent patterns in labor migration to Thailand and examines the likely impacts of a 2017 decree criminalizing illegal employment.

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The history of dynamic migration flows throughout the Soviet Union pre- and post-collapse has significantly shaped the current migration reality in Russia. Even as borders have shifted and policies changed, inflows and outflows still occur mostly within the former Soviet space. As this article explores, Russia has worked in recent decades to strengthen its migration management system and update its residence and citizenship policies.

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Donald Trump has made a series of postelection statements suggesting he may backtrack on several campaign pledges on immigration, including building a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Still, his choice of top advisors points to a hard-line agenda. This Policy Beat article examines what some of the better known elements of Trump's immigration policy might look like.

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In contrast to increasingly restrictive approaches to migration in the global North—and recent skepticism towards Europe's free mobility project—South America is taking steps in the other direction, toward free movement for regional migrants. This article examines the emerging South American model and discusses its implications for migration in the region and for free movement in general.

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EVENTPH 2014.10.21   11th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conf. USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez
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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Video, Audio
October 31, 2013

The 10th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured keynotes by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, as well as panel discussions covering a range of key immigration topics.

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Video, Audio
August 14, 2013

During this online chat, MPI researchers discuss their findings in an MPI brief, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at the One-Year Mark: A Profile of Currently Eligible Youth and Applicants, that provides the most up-to-date estimates of the current and prospective DACA population by educational attainment, English proficiency, state of residence, country of origin, age, gender, labor force participation, poverty, and parental status.

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Video, Audio
August 7, 2013

MPI experts participate in a video chat shortly after the Migration Policy Institute released an analysis comparing the major provisions of the Senate bill to those of the individual House bills considered to date in House committees. 

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Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
March 2021

El anuncio del presidente de Colombia que los estimados 1,7 millones de migrantes venezolanos recibirán un estatus de protección temporal migratoria por un periodo de diez años representa un hecho valiente y sin precedentes en América Latina. El reto que sigue será el de poder materializar este esfuerzo en una política pública que abogue por un proceso de cohesión social en el país.

Commentaries
February 2021

The DREAM Act of 2021 could represent one of the narrower legalization measures with better prospects for passage in a narrowly divided Congress. MPI's latest estimates of the DREAMers who could gain conditional and then permanent legal status are offered here, as are the share of DREAMers who feature in another ongoing conversation, around essential workers in the U.S. labor market overall as well as in the health-care sector.

Commentaries
February 2021

Colombian President Iván Duque’s announcement that the estimated 1.7 million Venezuelans in Colombia will receive a ten-year protection status represents a bold, first-of-its-kind move in Latin America. However, translating this ambitious legalization into action will require both a massive logistical effort and long-term planning to assure social cohesion, as this commentary explores.

Reports
February 2021

With legalization of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population back on the table, this report offers estimates and characteristics for subgroups that have particularly strong equities, including DREAMers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and parents and spouses of U.S. citizens. It also traces past legalizations and details the range and scope of legalization options that policymakers have.

Articles

The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.

Video, Webinars
September 21, 2020

This year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference examines the immigration policy agenda under the Trump administration, including changes in the asylum system; the vast societal upheaval brought on by COVID-19 and the rising racial justice movement; what the future of U.S. immigration may look like; and many other topics related to U.S. immigration policy.

Video, Expert Q&A, Audio
November 9, 2020

What actions might the incoming Biden administration take on immigration, whether to unwind some of the most restrictive Trump policies or advance an affirmative agenda of its own? And what challenges and opportunities will the Biden administration face? MPI experts analyze the campaign pledges and prospects ahead, for everything from reversing the Remain in Mexico program and cuts to legal immigration, ending border wall construction, and reviving DACA and refugee resettlement, as well as new policies such as legalization.

Policy Briefs
November 2020

Joe Biden pledged during his campaign to reverse some of the most restrictive immigration actions undertaken during Donald Trump’s four years in office. While some actions can be undone with the stroke of a pen, others will take more time. This policy brief outlines the incoming administration’s top immigration priorities, examines challenges and opportunities ahead, and previews MPI policy ideas that could improve the immigration system and advance the national interest.

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