State-level immigration laws have gradually softened in tone since the Supreme Court in 2012 affirmed federal primacy in immigration enforcement in a landmark Arizona case — a trend further solidified by a changed post-election political calculus on immigration reform. This article examines this unanticipated shift away from restrictive state immigration actions as well as the recent new trend in the passage of immigrant-friendly laws regarding in-state tuition and the granting of driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants.
The immigration debate in the United States often focuses on how many foreign born enter and reside in the country. Much less attention is paid to Americans who live abroad—a population estimated at anywhere from 2 million to 7 million. This article examines the challenges of enumerating this population and also explores top destinations for American expats, their livelihoods, and motivations for leaving the United States.
Muslim integration is one of the most contentious issues in the immigration debate in Europe, and one that gets to the heart of public anxieties about immigration. This article explores public perception toward Muslims in Western Europe and the array of integration policies that countries in the region have adopted during the past several years.
Immigrants from South America made up 2.7 million (about 7 percent) of the United States' foreign-born population of 40.4 million in 2011. While the share may seem small, this population has grown 30 times its size since 1960, when about 90,000 South American immigrants resided in the country. This article examines the latest data on South American immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators informally called the "Gang of Eight" in mid-April introduced long-awaited legislation for sweeping reform of the U.S. immigration system. This article provides a summary of the Senate bill's provisions and outlines the main critiques and obstacles ahead, including a tight legislative calendar, a difficult political dynamic in the House of Representatives, and an early stumbling block precipitated by the Boston Marathon bombing.
Fundamental demographic, economic, and educational changes have set Mexico on a new path, significantly altering its migration-related priorities and concerns vis-a-vis the United States and Central America. This article examines new migration trends, Mexico's role as a country of transit and increasingly of destination, the 2011 migration law, remittances, government policies on the Mexican diaspora, and more.
Immigration has contributed to many of the economic, social, and political processes that are foundational to the United States as a nation since the first newcomers arrived over 400 years ago. After brushes with immigration reform that began in 2001 and continued in 2006 and 2007, the United States seems to be on the threshold of overhauling the legal immigration system in the most substantive way since 1965. This article provides a comprehensive overview of major legislation and events affecting U.S. immigration throughout history, legal and illegal immigration flows, postrecession immigration trends, and more.
Honduras has a population of just over 8 million and an economy primarily driven by exports—propped up in no small way by remittances. This article examines the history of modern Honduran migration, tracing the rise of emigration to the United States as a dominant economic force, and exploring migration trends, policies, and impacts on Honduran society.
This article provides a comparative analysis of health outcomes of Mexican immigrant women in the United States, assessing the results against what is known as the immigrant paradox—the idea that these women enjoy a better state of health overall than might be expected, given their socioeconomic status and very limited health insurance coverage.
During recent decades, large-scale international migration has been an external escape valve for Guatemala, a response to the country's multiple internal problems. This article examines Guatemalan migration, primarily to the United States, into the post-war era; U.S. government immigration policies affecting Guatemalans; the impacts of migration within Guatemala; and Guatemala/Mexico migration dynamics.
Since 1990, the number of Central American immigrants in the United States has nearly tripled. This immigrant population grew faster than any other region-of-origin population from Latin America between 2000 and 2010. This article focuses on a wide range of characteristics of Central American immigrants residing in the United States, including the population's size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
Across-the-board federal budget cuts went into effect on March 1, and effects are already being felt in a wide range of immigration functions. This article explores how the sequester has and will be impacting the U.S. immigration system, focusing on the federal government's recent decision to release immigration detainees on bond or to less costly supervision programs. It also takes a look at stateside processing of I-601 waivers, new policy guidance on immigration enforcement at community establishments, and more.
El Salvador's lengthy civil war crushed diasporas' opportunities for political or civic engagement in this small, densely-populated Central American nation. However, hometown associations—diaspora organizations that contribute to the development needs of their members' hometowns—represent a modern-day venue for civil society participation. This article explores how diasporas are contributing to development in more ways than just cash flows and projects by transforming the governance landscape.
Over the past five decades, Mexicans have constituted the single largest group of immigrants to the United States originating from Latin America. In 2011, 11.7 million Mexican immigrants resided in the United States, representing 29 percent of the U.S. immigrant population and close to 4 percent of the overall U.S. population. This article examines the latest data on Mexican immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
Burma, a resources-rich yet impoverished nation also known as Myanmar, rejoined the international community in 2011 after a military junta loosened its grip. Before the Southeast Asian nation opened its borders, Burmese migrated primarily for low-paid, clandestine work in Thailand but also as a result of violence and natural disasters. This article explores how the country’s recent transition has impacted Burmese migration flows.
Immigration reform is squarely back on the agenda in Washington, with the unveiling of plans for major reform of the U.S. immigration system by the White House and a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight. This article explores the policy and political aspects of this fast-moving debate, examines an uptick in apprehensions of illegal crossers, and more.
Several international initiatives were launched in the 1990s and 2000s in response to the steady development of migration policy and governance in the international arena. One such initiative, the Global Migration Group, an inter-agency group, has received scant attention from scholars. This article provides a critical analysis of its genesis, functioning, and future.
MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the new Department of Homeland Security rule on the filing of unlawful presence waivers, ICE's FY 2012 deportations and new detainer policy, and more.
This Q&A explores the dire medical emergency and refugee health concerns resulting from the ongoing Syrian crisis. Source Editor Amber French conducts a Q&A with Dr. Fadi Al Khankan of the Syrian Expatriates Organization and MPI's Kathleen Newland, both panelists at the January 14, 2013 MPI event unveiling the International Rescue Committee's report, Syria: A Regional Crisis.
Many countries, and in particular the United States, have begun granting asylum claims filed on the basis of sexual orientation in the past few decades. Despite the efforts by U.S. and other governments to reinforce protection for LGBT refugees, this community remains a marginalized group.
Immigrants accounted for 16 percent of the 58.8 million college-educated persons in the United States in 2011, with one in three immigrants holding a college degree. In this spotlight, MPI's Qingqing Ji and Jeanne Batalova provide a demographic and socioeconomic profile of college-educated natives and immigrants in the country.
MPI’s Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the ongoing debate surrounding driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants, new immigration bills in Congress, proposed rules governing ICE detention, and more.
Arrivals of unaccompanied minors to the United States surged during 2012, straining the child custody system. While the flows of unaccompanied child migrants to Europe remained stable, the European Union continues to grapple with policies regarding the treatment of this uniquely vulnerable population.
More students crossed borders in 2012 than ever before. A number of countries have entered the student mobility game in a significant way, including Brazil and Saudi Arabia, whose governments recently extended programs investing in scholarships for study abroad. And Asia, a long-standing international student source, is now emerging as a destination for those seeking higher education.
The U.S. and Australian governments have long grappled with unwanted entries by unauthorized migrants and would-be asylum seekers. Both nations undertook efforts in 2012 to reform immigration detention policies and procedures that have generated significant scrutiny and criticism.