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

Legalization/Regularization

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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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Fact Sheets
August 2020
By  Diego Chaves-González and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada
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Fact Sheets
August 2020
By  Diego Chaves-González and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada
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Articles

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Reports
January 2014
By  Elizabeth Collett and Will Somerville
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Policy Briefs
January 2014
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Charles Kamasaki
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Policy Briefs
August 2013
By  Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker and Randy Capps
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Policy Briefs
May 2013
By  Randy Capps, Michael Fix, Jennifer Van Hook and James D. Bachmeier
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Reports
May 2013
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Doris Meissner and Eleanor Sohnen

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President Obama actively utilized the powers of the executive to reshape U.S. immigration policy in 2015. From signature deportation relief programs and changes to visa waiver eligibility to new grants of Temporary Protected Status and revised enforcement priorities, the administration made sweeping changes that touch all aspects of U.S. immigration policy. The actions prompted pushback, however, with 26 states suing to halt implementation of new deferred action programs.

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The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to maintain an injunction on President Obama's signature deferred action programs and the timing of the administration's Supreme Court appeal will prove critical amid the 2016 election campaign. This Policy Beat also explores a federal judge's decision not to block a Texas policy refusing to issue birth certificates to the U.S.-born children of unauthorized parents. Should the policy be upheld, it could open the door for further limitations on birthright citizenship.

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With the growing urbanization and consolidation of Nicaraguan immigrants in sectors such as construction and domestic service, Costa Rica has shifted its focus from immigration enforcement to integration. Tension has emerged between the government and private sector as a new mechanism for regularizing unauthorized immigrant workers has failed to gain traction.

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As legal challenges continue to impede President Obama's deferred action programs to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the window of opportunity for implementation before the 2016 election is growing ever narrower. Even as advocates continue mobilizing immigrants to apply, attention is shifting to other new policies announced by the president last November.
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Attention is now squarely focused on the U.S. federal courts where the legal battle over President Obama's executive actions on immigration continues. While congressional efforts to roll back the directives appear to have been put aside, at least temporarily, implementation of the signature deferred action programs announced in November 2014 remains blocked. The administration, however, is moving forward with other aspects of the executive order, as this article explores.

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MI_Pitfalls
Video, Audio
March 19, 2013

This discussion covers some of the most difficult issues that must be addressed if the United States is to reform its immigration system in ways that work not only for today’s reality but tomorrow’s future.

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Video, Audio
January 7, 2013

MPI has released a major study that describes and analyzes today’s immigration enforcement programs, as they have developed and grown in the 25 years since IRCA launched the current enforcement era.

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Video, Audio
December 7, 2011
A discussion on the gains that young adult immigrants or the U.S.-born children of immigrants have made in education and employment, with speakers: Michael Fix, Jeanne Batalova, Andrew P. Kelly, Raul Gonzalez, and Margie McHugh.
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Video, Audio
April 12, 2010

Public Policy Institute of California researchers Magnus Lofstrom and Laura Hill discuss their research examining the potential labor market outcomes and other possible economic effects of a legalization program.

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Video
June 24, 2009

This conference offers law and policy analysis and discussion on cutting-edge immigration issues.

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Recent Activity

Audio, Webinars
October 27, 2020

En dicho diálogo, algunos de los representantes de las organizaciones que conforman la red en Norteamérica, Centroamérica, Sudamérica y el Caribe, comparten la manera como se coordinan, las acciones que se llevan a cabo y las dificultades, retos y desafíos que atraviesan.

Policy Briefs
September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just weeks after the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, delaying plans to implement the withdrawal agreement’s provisions on citizens’ rights. This policy brief assesses the progress countries have made in setting up systems to adjust the status of mobile EU and UK nationals, as well as steps countries can take to make up for lost time.

Fact Sheets
August 2020

Los países de América Latina y del Caribe se están enfrentando a un desafío doble. Por un lado, deben manejar un flujo masivo de venezolanos entrando a sus países, mientras que, al mismo tiempo, deben enfocar sus esfuerzos en controlar el virus del COVID-19. Esta ficha técnica presenta un perfil regional de los migrantes y refugiados venezolanos que viajaron a través de 11 países.

Fact Sheets
August 2020

As Latin American and Caribbean countries face a dual challenge—managing large-scale Venezuelan arrivals alongside the COVID-19 pandemic—reliable data on the characteristics of newcomers are essential to policymaking. This MPI-IOM fact sheet offers a profile of refugees and migrants in 11 countries in the region, including their demographics, labor market participation, remittance sending, access to health care, trip details, and intention to return to Venezuela.

Reports
July 2020

Now into its fourth year, the Trump administration has reshaped the U.S. immigration system in ways big and small via presidential proclamations, policy guidance, and regulatory change. This report offers a catalog of the more than 400 administrative changes undertaken in areas such as immigration enforcement, humanitarian admissions, DACA, and visa processing—including a look at measures put in places since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports
February 2020

El gran desplazamiento forzado de personas en Venezuela y Nicaragua está transformando el panorama migratorio en gran parte de América Latina y el Caribe. Este informe examina las respuestas de las políticas de inmigración e integración de once países, incluyendo vías de regularización y medidas para integrar a los recién llegados en las escuelas y mercados laborales. Este informe acompaña el lanzamiento de un Portal Sobre Migración que ofrece investigación y análisis actualizados sobre tendencias y políticas de inmigración en la región.

Reports
February 2020

Large-scale displacement from Venezuela and Nicaragua is reshaping the migration landscape in much of Latin America and the Caribbean. This report, accompanied by the launch of a new Migration Portal offering research and analysis on the region, examines the immigration and integration policy responses of 11 countries, including pathways to legal status and measures to integrate newcomers into schools, health-care systems, and labor markets.

Articles

The fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has ping ponged between all three branches of government. But with the Supreme Court poised to decide DACA's future in spring 2020, Congress may finally be forced to act to resolve the status of DREAMers after nearly two decades of considering various DREAM Act bills. Could this break the long stalemate Congress has had on passing substantive immigration legislation, and pave the way for other actions?

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