E.g., 10/18/2017
E.g., 10/18/2017

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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Online Journal
After watching the immigration reform debate intensify in the last few months, Thor Arne Aaas, Norway's Director General of the Department of Migration and a Visiting Fellow at MPI, characterizes the debate as "unfocused, unstructured, and very emotional." More on his views in this interview with Migration Information Source Editor Kirin Kalia.
Online Journal
In the most recent session of Congress, four legislative proposals addressing unauthorized immigration and general immigration reform have been introduced. MPI's Eliot Turner and Marc R. Rosenblum compare their provisions for enforcement, employer sanctions, legalization, and guest worker programs.
Online Journal
Spain’s latest regularization program, unlike in the past, is part of a more comprehensive approach to combating illegal immigration and employment. Joaquín Arango of Complutense University of Madrid and Maia Jachimowicz outline the program and provide some preliminary results.
Online Journal
Over the past 25 years, regularization programs have become more common. Amanda Levinson explains their challenges, their outcomes, and why governments choose such programs.

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Recent Activity

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.
Reports
December 2011

While policymakers are under increasing pressure to reduce illegal immigration, the estimated population of unauthorized immigrants in EU-15 countries has declined since 2002. European governments are collaborating on the management of their external borders, as this report details, discussing the detected and estimated scope of irregular migration in the European Union.

Policy Briefs
December 2011

Though contentious, regularization (referred to in the U.S. context as legalization) remains a frequently utilized policy tool to address the European Union’s unauthorized immigrant population. Since 1996, more than 5 million people have been regularized through a variety of methods, as this Insight details.

Reports
November 2011

The story of immigrant integration in the United States has historically been one of generational progress, with the gains for second-generation Hispanic women particularly impressive, as this report reveals. It profiles first- and second-generation young adults ages 16 to 26, examining this diverse population's education and career pathways.

Reports
August 2011

Migration to the United States from Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) has accelerated in the last four decades. This increase has been driven by economic opportunities and facilitated by social networks of friends and family already in the United States.

Policy Briefs
January 2011

This Policy Brief examines four types of criteria for earned legalization (English proficiency, employment, continuous presence, and monetary fines) in the five major legalization bills proposed by Congress since 2006—and finds that the projected effects differ on the ability of unauthorized men, women, and children to gain legal status.

Policy Briefs
December 2010

This policy brief examines the legalization debate on both sides of the Atlantic and discusses policy parameters that characterize legalization programs, such as qualifications, requirements, benefits, and program design and implementation.

Policy Briefs
December 2010

This policy brief shows that more unauthorized immigrants in the United States have been legalized through population-specific and registry programs than through the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act general legalization provisions.

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