Key Facts about U.S. Immigration Policies and Proposed Changes

Key Facts about U.S. Immigration Policies and Proposed Changes. Pew Research Center.  Jens Manuel Krogstad and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera. February 26, 2018

 Nearly 34 million lawful immigrants live in the United States. Many live and work in the country after receiving lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card), while others receive temporary visas available to students and workers. In addition, roughly 1 million unauthorized immigrants have temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs.

For years, proposals have sought to shift the nation’s immigration system away from its current emphasis on family reunification and employment-based migration, and toward a points-based system that prioritizes the admission of immigrants with certain education and employment qualifications. These proposals have received renewed attention under the Trump administration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Deterring Emigration with Foreign Aid: An Overview of Evidence from Low-Income Countries

Deterring Emigration with Foreign Aid: An Overview of Evidence from Low-Income Countries. Center for Global Development.  Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel. February 12, 2018

 In response to the recent migrant and refugee crisis, rich countries have redoubled policy efforts to deter future immigration from poor countries by addressing the “root causes” of migration. The authors review existing evidence on the extent and effectiveness of such efforts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Can Regular Migration Channels Reduce Irregular Migration? Lessons for Europe from the United States

Can Regular Migration Channels Reduce Irregular Migration? Lessons for Europe from the United States. Center for Global Development.  Michael Clemens and Kate Gough. February 14, 2018

 Lawful migration channels are often suggested as a tool to reduce unlawful migration, but often without much evidence that they work. There is evidence that lawful channels for migration between Mexico and the United States have suppressed unlawful migration, but only when combined with robust enforcement efforts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Moving Beyond “Root Causes:” The Complicated Relationship between Development and Migration

Moving Beyond “Root Causes:” The Complicated Relationship between Development and Migration. Migration Policy Institute. Susan Fratzke and Brian Salant. January 2018.

 As policymakers in Europe and other high-income countries search for ways to reduce unmanaged migration, they are paying new attention to addressing the drivers of migration, in particular the lack of economic opportunities in countries of origin.

The logic, embedded in the European Commission’s 2015 European Agenda on Migration for example, suggests that if development assistance can improve livelihood prospects in countries of migrant origin, outward migration will decrease.

However, the nature of migrant decision-making and the complex relationship between migration and development suggest development assistance may be a blunt tool for reshaping migration patterns—and indeed one that could increase migration flows over the short term. Numerous studies have found that as countries become richer and their citizens have more resources at their disposal, emigration increases, at least initially. And while employment may decrease the likelihood that an individual will migrate in some contexts, in others it appears to increase those prospects.

Little solid research has been done on the extent to which development policies reshape migration, but the brief suggests shifting the focus of development assistance away from increasing individuals’ skills and assets toward the creation of opportunities at the local, regional, or national level. Investments in the broader economic or governance structures that are a prerequisite for economic growth and stability may offer more alternatives to emigration in the long run. In the shorter term, destination-country policymakers may need to accept the idea of working with, rather than against, migration trends to reap the development benefits of migration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Remittance Flows Worldwide in 2016

Remittance Flows Worldwide in 2016. Pew Research Center. January 23, 2016.

 Worldwide, an estimated $574 billion (USD) was sent by migrants to relatives in their home countries in 2016, a 1% decline from 2015, when the amount was $581 billion, according to economists at the World Bank. This is the second drop in global remittances since the global financial crisis. Despite this recent decline, remittances sent by migrants are still about double what they were a decade ago, before the sharp decline in the global economy during the late 2000s. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Leveraging the Links between Migration and Development: US Government Policy, Practice, and Potential

Leveraging the Links between Migration and Development: US Government Policy, Practice, and Potential. Center for Global Development. Kathleen Newland. November 20, 2017. 

 This paper reviews the positions and activities of the US government that have linked international migration with social, political and, above all, economic development in migrants’ countries of origin, through 2016. It specifies major opportunities for the government to do more for its overseas development policy goals by shaping the terms on which migration occurs, including in times of restricted immigration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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EU Migration Partnerships: A Work in Progress

EU Migration Partnerships: A Work in Progress. Migration Policy Institute.  Elizabeth Collett and Aliyyah Ahad. December 2017.

 While EU ambitions to cooperate with migrants’ countries of origin and transit stretch back more than two decades, they took on fresh urgency following the 2015–16 European migrant and refugee crisis, when migration management rocketed to the top of the policy agenda. In 2016, the European Union introduced the Migration Partnership Framework to guide EU and Member State engagement with third countries and embed migration objectives within broader foreign and development policy domains. In addition to sharpening existing tools for collaboratively tackling migration objectives, the framework draws on the strength of bilateral relationships between Member States and third countries and reorganizes the bloc’s financial commitments.

 This report critically examines whether this approach has put the European Union on track to reach the framework’s stated aims—strengthening borders, stepping up the return of migrants without authorization to stay in Europe, and addressing the root causes of migration—and, if not, what adjustments are needed.

 By taking a close look at the migration landscapes in four partner countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, and Niger) and how key socioeconomic and political factors in each affect EU engagement, the report illustrates some of the challenges inherent to this new generation of partnerships. Chief among them are identifying the right partners, reconciling divergent EU and partner-country priorities, setting clear benchmarks and conducting robust evaluation, and modulating how progress is communicated to European publics. While EU policymakers acted quickly to launch the framework following the crisis, the authors find a number of areas in need of review if these migration partnerships are to have the desired lasting impact. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 55 pages, 1.61 MB].