E.g., 09/30/2014
E.g., 09/30/2014

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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Recent Activity

Fact Sheets
March 2013

A timeline of key immigration laws and policy developments between 1986 and 2013.

Policy Briefs
March 2013

This brief demystifies the technical meaning of going to the “back of the line”—a phrase adopted by lawmakers to convey the intent to grant legal status to unauthorized immigrants only after existing backlogs have been cleared—by explaining what “the line” refers to, who is in it, and what it means to be at the back of it.

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.

Policy Briefs
October 2012

Thailand is well positioned to take advantage of the benefits of migration. This brief examines the country’s migration challenges and two basic approaches to regularizing labor migration: Memoranda of Understanding with migrant-sending neighbors and nationality verification as a preliminary step for work permit application by unauthorized immigrants.

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.

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