The American Immigrant Policy Portal

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Numbers often tell the story of immigration. How many migrants arrive each year? Through what channels (legal or otherwise)?  From what countries? With what occupational and educational backgrounds?  How many are apprehended for illegal entry or visa violations, held in detention, and ultimately deported. And how many return to their home countries voluntarily? The studies in this collection seek answers to these questions in order to ground immigration policy-making in a solid basis of fact.  

Items arranged in order of publication date. Scroll down for all entries. Selection does not necessarily imply endorsement of findings or research methodology by Diversity Dynamics and its partner organizations. We regret that we may not be able to repair broken links promptly.



An Analysis of Trends in the US Undocumented Population Since 2011 and Estimates of the Undocumented Population for 2021,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, October 16, 2023, 11 pp.
Author:  Robert Warren

This report focuses on the change in the population of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. from 2011 to 2021. The most significant trend, according to the author, is a decline of 1.9 million in the number of Mexican undocumented immigrants — a decline primarily driven by an increase in voluntary emigration after 2014. For 20 countries of origin, the author also estimates the number and percentage of undocumented immigrants here in 2011 who had left that status by 2023 through emigration, death, adjustment to another status or removal. Estimates of the change in population of undocumented Mexican immigrants are broken out for the top 15 states of residence and there are estimates for states with the largest gains and for the largest declines in the undocumented population. The author also includes estimates for the sending countries with the largest gains in the U.S. undocumented population and for the countries (other than Mexico) with the largest declines. The author notes that data is not yet available to determine whether the trend of near-zero or negative growth in the overall undocumented population will be reversed by the recent surge in arrivals at the border.
(Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Shared Gains: Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Colleges
Migration Policy Institute, October 2023, 25 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova & Michael Fix

U.S. college enrollment has gone through periods of growth and decline between 2000 to 2021, driven by changes in the nation’s demographics, the economy, shifting views of a college degree’s value, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Total college enrollment increased by 37 percent from 2000 to 2011 but declined by 11 percent between 2011 and 2021. First- and second-generation immigrant students (many of whom are Latino, Black, or Asian American and Pacific Islander) have played a crucial role in bolstering student numbers in four-year institutions and mitigating enrollment declines in two-year colleges. During the 2000–2021 period, immigrants and their children went from being one in five college students to one in three. This issue brief, published by Migration Policy Institute and written by Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix, documents the rising presence of immigrant-origin students in the nation’s higher education institutions. The authors suggest that addressing barriers to college enrollment and completion for these students will help create a strong pool of workers able to navigate the evolving world of work and social change. Strategies to promote college enrollment and completion of immigrant-origin students should include a focus on three distinct demographic groups: 6.1 million immigrant-origin students already enrolled in college, 6.1 million immigrant-origin youth ages 14 to 18, and 20.6 million immigrant-origin adults ages 16 to 64 who do not have postsecondary credentials. Since most immigrant-origin adults are racial and ethnic minorities, their success would signal both successful immigrant integration and progress toward racial equity.
(The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


The Demographic Transition: An Overview of America’s Aging Population and Immigration’s Mediating Role,
Bipartisan Policy Center, September 2023, 16 pp.
Authors: Justis Antonioli & Jack Malde

According to the authors of this report, the U.S. is in the midst of a “demographic crisis” due to its aging population and the economic challenges associated with such a troublesome development. The average age has been increasing each year, leading to a smaller workforce and slower economic growth. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that between 2000 and 2021, the national median age in the United States increased by 3.4 years from 35.4 years to 38.8 years. Between 1944 and 2013, the percentage of American citizens 65 years and older doubled from 7% to 14%. The authors argue that immigration policy can help address the economic challenges associated with these changes by helping to offset the decline in the working-age population; by filling important gaps in the labor market; by bringing new knowledge, innovative ideas, and expertise that can benefit native-born workers and businesses; and by paying taxes to help pay for Social Security and Medicare. Immigration, they conclude, will be a “vital tool” for the federal government to achieve its economic goals in the future.


Undocumented Students in Higher Education: How Many Students Are in U.S. Colleges and Universities and Who Are They?
American Immigration Council & Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, August 2023, 10 pp.

This research brief looks at the size and makeup of the undocumented postsecondary student population in the U.S., its economic impact and potential contributions in a time of skilled workforce shortages. The brief also explores federal and state policies that could strengthen undocumented students’ opportunities for college and career success. Drawing on one-year estimates from the 2019 and 2021 American Community Surveys, the study finds more than 408,000 undocumented students are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in 2021, the majority (77%) in public institutions. However, this number represents a decrease of 4.2 percent from 2019, likely due to the pandemic and economic pressures and legal challenges to DACA. Studies have found that increased undocumented students’ access to higher education would result in reduced high school dropout rates, increased college enrollment, higher student achievement, and greater economic contributions. In 2021, households led by undocumented individuals contributed $30.8 billion in total taxes, including $18.6 billion in federal income taxes and $12.2 billion in state and local taxes. These data, the researchers conclude, highlight the importance of lowering barriers to college and career access for undocumented students. While a growing number of states have extended tuition equity and licensure eligibility to some undocumented students, many states have not. To fully leverage the contributions of undocumented students, state legislatures should expand access to in-state tuition, state financial aid, occupational licensure, and driver’s licenses to their state’s undocumented students. Congress should also pass a permanent legislative fix that allows them to work and study without fear of deportation and creates a path to permanent residency and citizenship. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)


In the Twilight Zone: Record Number of U.S. Immigrants Are in Limbo Status
Migration Policy Institute, August 2, 2023, 13 pp.
Authors: Muzaffar Chishti & Kathleen Bush-Joseph

This paper reviews the soaring number of immigrants in “limbo” or “liminal” status in the U.S. Although the use of  “parole” authority by the executive branch dates back over half a century, never before have the numbers of parole recipients reached today’s record level of 1.9 million individuals. The authors provide data for all the programs with “twilight status,” i.e. programs mostly slated to end after two years -- the largest of which is the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) program (611,000). Other programs include the DACA program for young arrivals (579,000), the Ukrainian relief program (141,000), and the Afghan relief program (76,000). If no other pathway to legal status is found, migrants must either return to their home countries or join the estimated 11 million people currently in undocumented status. Part of the reason why these numbers are growing is that Congress has failed to reach agreement on immigration reform legislation, and the regular refugee resettlement program, since being chopped down during the Trump administration, has remained far short of its earlier capacity.  The authors argue that limbo status is a problem that must be resolved, not just for the migrants themselves, but for all the institutions that interact with this population, including employers. Do we wish to live with a large population of migrants not fully integrated into American society?


Undercount of Undocumented Residents in the 2020 American Community Survey and Estimates and Trends in the Undocumented Population from 2010 to 2020, by US State and Country of Origin,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 10:4 (December 2022), 32 pp.
Author:  Robert Warren

This report estimates the population of undocumented immigrants in 2020, as well as changes in the size of that population since 2010. Estimates are based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The report’s two top-level findings are that the undocumented population was undercounted by approximately 1 million, and that the total undocumented population in the last 10 years has continued a decline that began after 2008.   While declining overall, the change in population since 2010 varied greatly by nationality, with large declines in the Mexican population and significant increases in Central American and other immigrants. The report provides estimates for the 2010-2020 change in the undocumented population by country of origin for populations that declined by 10,000 or more (14 countries) and for those that increased by 10,000 or more (10 countries). The report also breaks out the change in population for the 15 top destination states. The paper concludes by noting that if large increases in emigration continue — such as that observed in the Mexican population — we will continue to see near zero growth in the undocumented population. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)


A Profile of Low-Income Immigrants in the United States,

Migration Policy Institute, November 2022, 17 pp.
Authors: Julia Gelatt et al

Low-income immigrants in the United States, estimated at 14.8 million people in 2019, make up only about one-third of the country’s foreign-born population but face a unique mix of challenges. This study discusses the main characteristics of this group of immigrants, including their countries of origin, geographic location in the U.S., levels of education, and industries of employment. Participating in the labor force does not guarantee an exit out of poverty for this population: although two-thirds of low-income immigrants of prime working age were employed in 2019, more than half of those who worked full time, year round earned less than $25,000 annually. With higher rates of limited English proficiency and lower educational attainment than immigrants overall, low-income immigrants may face greater barriers to accessing needed services. Moreover, federal restrictions on noncitizens’ eligibility for public benefits programs puts these forms of support out of reach for millions of immigrants and their family members, potentially affecting their well-being. Low-income immigrants were also much less likely to have health insurance coverage than U.S.-born low-income individuals and the immigrant population overall.


Highly-Educated Undocumented Immigrant in the United States,
Center for Migration Studies, August 2, 2022, 17 pp.
Author: Evin Millet

This brief provides a statistical profile of undocumented immigrants in the United States who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher -- a total of 1,714,700 individuals. Using American Community Survey 2019 data, the brief looks at this population by level of degree, country of origin, state of residence, gender, and race/ethnicity, including the correlation between level of degree and race and country of origin. Undocumented highly-educated immigrants are more likely to be in the labor force than those who are documented (81% vs 75%), but documented highly educated immigrants are more likely to be employed in high-skilled management, business, science, and arts occupations (73%) than those who are undocumented (59%), Those who are undocumented also earn lower average wages and salaries ($73,522 vs. $87,378) and have less access to health insurance. Alongside legal status, the finding suggests that race plays a role in the fields in which undocumented immigrants find employment. The brief closes with estimates of undocumented immigrants eligible for legal status under pending legislative and administrative programs, including the Dream and Promise Act of 2021, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, and the US Citizenship Act of 2021. Legalization of highly-educated immigrants, the author concludes, would allow undocumented immigrants to fully participate in the labor force and help fill labor shortages while increasing innovation, productivity, and tax revenue. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)


Temporary Visa Holders in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, September 15, 2022, 14 pp
Author:  Jeanne Batalova

Drawing on data from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, this report examines trends in the issuance of temporary visas over the last two decades.  Nonimmigrant visa holders, as they are often called, fall into many categories, but the largest are visitors for pleasure or business, international students and exchange visitors, and temporary workers in agriculture and other seasonal occupations. Nonimmigrants are always restricted to the activities allowed by their visas in the U.S. The report details visa issuance trends in all major categories. As an example, before the pandemic, close to 790,000 international students and exchange visitor visas were issued in FY 2019, representing 9 percent of all 8.7 million temporary visas issued that year. This marked a drop of 26 percent from the 1.1. million such visas issued in FY 2015 – the highest year for international students in this decade. The report also gives nationality breakdowns for most visa categories.  People from Mexico, India, and mainland China, for example, made up about 46 percent of the 2.8 million nonimmigrant visas issued by the State Department in FY 2021.


A Profile of Undocumented Agricultural Workers in the United States,
Center for Migration Studies, August 30, 2022
Author: Raquel Rosenbloom

This report provides estimates of the number and demographic characteristics of undocumented workers in the U.S. agricultural sector. It also estimates the number of these workers who may be eligible for obtaining legalization under various legislative proposals introduced in Congress. In all, there are approximately 283,000 undocumented agricultural workers in the U.S., making up 45 percent of the agricultural workforce. Mexican workers comprise the majority — 88 percent. Most of these workers — 71 percent — have been living in the U.S. for more than 10 years. Most undocumented agricultural workers have less than a high school degree and 88 percent of them speak English less than “very well” (the threshold for proficiency). Of the various bills providing relief to undocumented immigrants introduced in this Congress, the US Citizenship Act of 2021 would provide the most relief — virtually all undocumented agricultural workers would be eligible for a legalization program. Under the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, a large share of undocumented agricultural workers (235,600) would be eligible for legal status. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Top Statistics on Global Migration and Migrants,
Migration Policy Institute, July 21, 2022, 10 pp.
Author:  Jeanne Batalova

This report reviews worldwide migration trends. According to the author, the movement of people across international borders is “as old as the creation of borders.” However, in recent times, due to improvements in transportation and technology, the number of migrants worldwide has grown considerably. The migrant share of the world’s population – now almost 4% of the world’s population (or 280.6 million people) – grew from 3.2% in 2010, and 2.6% in 1960. Migrants tend to favor high-income countries. Indeed, 52% of international migrants resided in North America or Europe. With 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has attracted 18 percent of all migrants, making it the top migrant destination. However, the U.S. doesn’t even crack the top 25 countries in terms of migrants as a percentage of total population. The report also includes statistics on top sending countries, the number of migrant workers, humanitarian migrants, migrant women and children, and migrant remittances. In addition, there are links to many other sources of data on international migration.


The Demographic Outlook: 2022-2052,
Congressional Budget Office, July 2022, 12 pp.
Author: Daniel Crown

This report explains the population projections that underlie the CBO’s economic forecasts and future budget projections. Over the next 30 years, CBO projects U.S. population growth to slow, while immigration becomes an increasingly important component of population growth, until by the end of the period, immigration accounts for all of our population growth. The report makes projections of the fertility rate (the number of children born to each woman), the mortality rate, and net immigration. The report notes that net immigration dropped during the Great Recession and had not recovered by the time policies adopted during the pandemic caused an even steeper decline. By 2052, the CBO projects net immigration to be 1.1 million per year — still 400,000 less than it was in the early 2000s. By the end of the period, the number of deaths are projected to exceed births, so that without immigration, the U.S. population would enter a downward trajectory. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

A Demographic Profile of Undocumented Immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands,
Center for Migration Studies, June 14, 2022, 14 pp.
Author: Evin Millet

This report provides population estimates and demographic characteristics of undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants, based on an analysis of 2019 American Community Survey data. CMS estimates there are more than 1.7 million undocumented immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands. The top sending countries are India (35 percent); China (20 percent) and the Philippines (10 percent). The largest populations live in California (26 percent); Texas (10 percent) and New York (8 percent). About 90 percent are of working age. Overall, this is a well-educated group, with 74 percent having some college education, a college degree, or some higher degree. The report also has some statistics on industry of employment, as well as the number of individuals within this population who would be eligible for legalization under various bills being considered by Congress. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)


A Demographic Profile of Undocumented Immigrant Women and Estimates of Those Potentially Eligible for Permanent Residence under Pending Bills,
Center for Migration Studies, March 23, 2022, 16 pp.

According to this study, there are 4,806,000 undocumented female immigrants living in the United States, making up 46 percent of the total US undocumented population. Seventy-one percent are of prime working age, i.e. between 24 and 54 years of age. The top five occupations of undocumented immigrant women in the workforce are maids and housekeeping cleaners; cooks; janitors and building cleaners; cashiers; and waitresses.  A significant percentage (39%) of undocumented women, however, are not in the labor force. While 39% of undocumented women ages 18 and over lack a high school diploma, this percentage has been steadily declining over the last 30 years. The study provides estimates as to how many undocumented women would qualify for legalization under pending bills in Congress. There are, for example, approximately 1.7 million undocumented women essential workers who are eligible for permanent resident status under the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act. Over 1 million would qualify for conditional permanent residence under the Dream Act of 2021. Another 140,300 women (half of whom have lived in the U.S. for more than 15 years) would qualify for permanent residence under the Farmworker Modernization Act of 2021. The authors contend that “legalization programs would help provide a more solid footing for these women to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

Black Immigrants in the United States Face Hurdles, but Outcomes Vary by City,
Migration Policy Institute, February 10, 2022, 14 pp.
Author: Valerie Lacarte

This article analyzes Black immigrants’ socioeconomic outcomes in the U.S., with emphasis on low-income immigrants in the five largest metro areas of residence—New York, Miami, Washington, DC, Atlanta, and Boston—comparing their experiences to those of native-born Blacks. Using data from the American Community Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the study finds that while Black immigrants are less likely to live in poverty than U.S.-born Black residents and typically have lower unemployment rates, due to factors including higher labor force participation and levels of education, systemic barriers persist for Black communities regardless of immigrant status. Federal restrictions on public benefits and limitations on work authorization also mean that low-income Black noncitizens face unique challenges despite their higher labor force participation rates. Immigrants’ outcomes can also vary significantly depending on the metro area where they reside, local economic conditions, and the policies of local and state government affecting access to safety net resources for immigrants with different statuses. Differences in immigration status can also impact the type of job immigrants hold and the industries they work in, making it more difficult to find and keep high-quality and stable jobs. Outcomes also vary among immigrant groups: Caribbean immigrants (from Haiti and Jamaica), have larger and more established networks and are more likely to be naturalized and English proficient; Africans, one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the U.S., are more likely to come as refugees or through the Diversity Visa lottery. Black immigrants are more likely to be working poor, are less likely to have health insurance, and Black immigrant children are more likely to be low income than their U.S.-born counterparts. Cities, the article concludes, could shift these outcomes with more immigrant-inclusive policies, offering newcomers more opportunities to earn a living while narrowing the gaps in outcomes with native residents, especially among low-income communities. Cities in states with more inclusive policies, such as Massachusetts and New York, tend to have lower gaps between U.S.-born and immigrant black residents. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)


Fiscal Year 2020 Refugee and Asylee Annual Flow Report,
Dept. of Homeland Security, March 8, 2022, 24 pp.
Author:  Ryan Baugh

This annual report provides information on the number and characteristics of those who were granted refugee status or were granted asylum in the government’s fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 to September 2020). The report also explains the process by which individuals gain refugee or asylee status, and gives a brief history of U.S. refugee resettlement. Refugee admissions are limited at the top end by a “ceiling” set each year by the president (in consultation with Congress). In FY 2020, the refugee ceiling was set at 18,000, the lowest level since the start of the modern refugee program in 1980. However, only 11,840 were actually admitted, a 60 percent decrease from the previous year. The leading countries of nationality for those admitted were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, and Ukraine. Persons applying for asylum do so affirmatively — they apply directly through an asylum officer — or defensively in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. There were 93,224 affirmative asylum applications in 2020, with the top three nationalities being Venezuela, China, and Guatemala, and 31,429 individuals gained asylum through this process. There were far more defensive applications — 189,838 — representing a decrease of 11 percent from 2019 and the first year-over-year decrease in several years. The top nationalities of defensive asylum applications were Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and 14,565 individuals gained asylum through this process. The report includes charts and tables detailing the geographic and demographic characteristics of refugees and asylees in FY 2020.  (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)


Pew Research Center, January 2022, 36 pp.
Authors: Christine Tamir & Monica Anderson

Using data from the decennial censuses and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006-2019 American Community Surveys, the Pew Research Center has produced a comprehensive analysis of the Black immigrant population in the United States. Fueled in large part by migration from Africa, the Black immigrant population has grown from 3% in 1980 to 12% today. In addition, a significant share of Black Americans today (9%) are the children of immigrants, for a total of 21% either immigrant or children of immigrants. The report also finds that Black immigrants have several advantages over U.S-born Blacks. For example, 31% of those aged 25 and over have college degrees compared to 22% of U.S.-born blacks. Household income for immigrant Blacks ($57,000) exceeded that of U.S.-born Blacks ($42,000), although it lagged behind that of all immigrant households ($63,000). Although the Caribbean remains the largest source of Black immigrants to the U.S. (Jamaica and Haiti account for the largest numbers), the percentage of African immigrants has grown from 23% of the total number of Black immigrants in 2000 to 42% today. The report also provides information on the regional distribution, legal status, home ownership, and poverty rates of Black immigrants.

Ready to Stay: A Comprehensive Analysis of the US Foreign-Born Populations Eligible for Special Legal Status Programs and for Legalization under Pending Bills,
Center for Migration Studies, December 2021, 41 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin et al

Several special legal status programs and pending legislation that offer permanent residence can cover significant segments of the undocumented immigrant populations in the U.S. This report offers a statistical profile of the populations eligible for legal status programs and permanent residence that policymakers, government agencies, community-based organizations and others can use to analyze the impact of these programs. The report states that the total undocumented population (10.35 million in 2019) has fallen by 1.4 million since 2010. In addition, the majority of newly undocumented residents since 2010 have overstayed temporary visas rather than crossed the border without authorization. The authors find that the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act would allow 7.2 million undocumented residents (or 70 percent of the total) gain eligibility for legalization. The report also finds that about 1.8 million people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if those countries were designated or redesignated for TPS. The report makes several policy recommendations: Congress should pass broad immigration reform that includes a properly structured and funded legalization program; immigration reform should allow the majority of undocumented residents to legalize; and local communities should build necessary partnerships and skills to implement these programs. (Samah Rizvi for the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Fiscal Year 2020 Entry/Exit Overstay Report: Fiscal Year 2021 Report to Congress
Dept. of Homeland Security, September 30, 2021, 54 pp.

This annual report from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides data on the number of nonimmigrants who overstayed the terms of their admission. The report provides an update on CBP’s efforts to obtain biographic and biometric data from arriving and departing nonimmigrants at air, sea, and land ports of entry, and explains how arrival and departure information is matched. It also provides an explanation of what happens to information about persons who fail to depart the U.S. when required to do so. The report includes statistics on the overstay rate, and the total numbers suspected of overstaying, by nationality, divided into tables focusing on visitors coming to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program; non-Visa Waiver visitors; students; and all other nonimmigrant categories (excepting a few “non-scope” categories, such as diplomats).  The major challenge for an entry-exit system continues to be collecting exit data. As the report notes, “…transportation hubs and border infrastructure in the United States were not constructed with exit processing in mind.” CBP continues to test technologies to collect biometric data from departing nonimmigrants. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)


Fiscal Year (2020) U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents Annual Flow Report
Office of Immigration Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, September 28, 2021, 21 pp.
Author: Irene Gibson

(We have corrected an error in the title of this report, i.e. substituting Fiscal Year 2020 for Fiscal Year 2021)
This report provides information on the number and characteristics of persons who became Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) in Fiscal Year 2020 (ending September 30, 2020). It should be noted that “new LPRs” are not necessarily new arrivals—63 percent of new LPRs were already in the U.S. and adjusted to permanent residence from some other immigration status. The time period covered in this report includes the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which both USCIS and Department of State Consular Offices were temporarily closed. As a result, the numbers presented in this report are out of line with recent trends. Grants of LPR status in 2020 were at their lowest level since 2003. Concurrent with the decrease in numbers of people granted immigrant visas, processing backlogs have skyrocketed—from January 2020 to February 2021, the number of pending visa cases increased six-fold. The report includes details of admissions by category of immigrant visa (family- and employment-sponsored; diversity; refugee and asylee adjustments); top countries of origin; top state and Metropolitan area of residence; and age, sex, and marital status of new LPRs. There are a number of tables showing trends for the past 3 fiscal years. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Population Estimates of Nonimmigrants Residing in the United States: Fiscal Years 2017-2019,
DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, May 2021, 11 pp.
Author: Bryan Baker

Nonimmigrant residents are defined as foreign nationals temporarily residing in the United States for reasons such as work, study, diplomacy, and exchange programs. This report, issued by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), estimates the size of this population from 2017-2019. Estimates are derived from DHS administrative records detailing noncitizen entries and exits from the United States using a statistical model to approximate recent populations. According to the report, the number of nonimmigrant residents has steadily increased each year, rising from 2.6 million in 2017 to 3.2 million in 2019. The report includes a breakdown of the characteristics of this population, including factors such as age, gender, country of origin, and reason for residency. The report includes relevant charts, graphs, and visuals to illustrate these various demographic factors. (Lara Carbine for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Revisiting America’s Demographic Challenge: How Increasing Immigration Can Bring the United States Out of the Covid-19 Economic Slump and Maintain Its Global Competitive Edge

Bipartisan Policy Center, May 6, 2021, 3 pp.

Author: Rachel Iacono
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the total number of immigrants legally entering the United States declined by 87% in 2020. This paper, written by Rachel Iacona of the Bipartisan Policy Center, argues that immigration should play a larger role in building the future workforce and in growing the U.S. economy. Immigration can mitigate some of the negative economic impacts of slowing population growth and an aging population. According to the Census Bureau, high immigration levels can delay the year in which the population of those over 65 exceeds the population under the age of 18. If the U.S. does not increase legal immigration, the country might sacrifice its position as the world’s largest economy by 2030. Moreover, funding for vital programs, like Social Security, could be depleted by 2034, and even sooner according to some experts as a result of the pandemic. The 2019 American Community Survey data indicates that immigrants had $1.3 trillion in collective spending power. Immigrant business owners accounted for 25% of new firms and played an important role in creating new job opportunities. The report concludes that Congress must enact long-lasting immigration reform that recognizes and reflects the economic and demographic benefits that immigrants bring to the entire nation. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Quantifying the Impact of the Trump Administration on Immigration,
New American Economy, March 17, 2021, 9 pp.

Using USCIS data for Fiscal Year 2020, this report seeks to quantify the impact of the Trump administration on naturalization rates, grants of permanent residency, approvals of H-1B applications, issuance of international student visas, DACA approvals, and grants of temporary protected status. The report tries to disentangle the impact of the pandemic on immigration processing from broader restrictive policies adopted by the Trump administration during its four years in office. For example, there was a precipitous decline of 35 percent in the number of green cards issued in FY 2020, but that one-year decline was preceded by smaller declines in the three previous years. Likewise, the issuance of international student visas dropped by almost 40 percent in FY 2020, continuing a downward trend for the three previous years. On the other hand, H-1B approvals increased by 9.6 percent in FY 2020, continuing a pattern of increase from the three previous years. However, most of these approvals were likely visa renewals for workers already present in the U.S.

What the 2020 census will reveal about America: Stagnating growth, an aging population, and youthful diversity

The Brookings Institution, January 11, 2021

Author: William H. Frey
Using Census Bureau survey data released over the past couple of years, the author of this report looks at current and future U.S. demographic trends as they relate to immigration. The report paints a picture of a population growing older and more diverse, with a troubling decline in overall growth. A few highlights: The nation’s overall population growth fell to 0.35% between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020 — the lowest annual growth rate since at least 1900. For whites, Census Bureau estimates projected a small decline in population, for the first time since the first census in 1790. While the white population declined slightly, Latinos contributed more than half of the nation’s growth, followed by Asian Americans, Black Americans, and persons of two or more races. In addition, older segments of the population are growing much faster than younger ones, with consequent implications for the size of the future workforce. The number of people age 55 and over grew 27% between 2010 and 2020, while the number of people under age 55 grew 1.3%. Future growth — especially among the young — will depend largely on our immigration policies. With a level of immigration twice that of the year before the pandemic, the nation’s under-18 population would grow by just 4%. Without an increase in immigration, there would be zero growth in the under-18 population, while the over-65 population would grow by 38%. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins,
Migration Policy Institute, Fact Sheet, December 2020, 22 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et al

Unauthorized immigration to the U.S. steadily increased throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but dropped significantly in 2008-2009 due to the economic recession. Since then, rates of unauthorized immigration have remained steady, and it is estimated that there are currently 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. This fact sheet uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security to give a demographic profile of this population. While the number of unauthorized immigrants has mostly remained steady following the recession, the demographic makeup of this group has changed. Immigrants from Mexico, for example, now make up a smaller share of the total unauthorized population, while shares from Central America and Asia are larger. This report includes information on:  countries of origin; the number of unauthorized immigrants who are members of mixed-status families; the states and counties that are home to the largest numbers of unauthorized immigrants; and socioeconomic characteristics such as English proficiency, educational attainment, and income levels. (Deb D’Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Immigrant Women and Girls in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity,
American Immigration Council, September 24, 2020, 10 pp.

Immigrant women and girls in the United States number more than 23 million and constitute a formidable presence in the U.S. economy and society. This fact sheet draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey to provide a detailed overview of their skills and rates of participation in the economy. Immigrant women and girls come from all over the world, outnumber male immigrants, are more likely than male immigrants to come to the U.S. via family-based immigration systems, and naturalize at rates higher than male immigrants (53.0 percent of female immigrants versus 48.1 percent of male immigrants). They account for nearly 16 percent of all employed women, and nearly a third of immigrant women have a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, although this share is lower than for U.S.-born women and immigrant men. Immigrant women work in every occupation, with nearly 35 percent in management, business, science and arts occupations, and they outnumber U.S.-born women in service occupations, production and transportation, and construction and maintenance occupations. Despite the extent of female immigrant education and presence in the workplace, however, they are paid less than U.S.-born men and women, and less than immigrant men. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)  


College-Educated Immigrants in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, September 16, 2020, 17 pp.
Authors: Kira Olsen-Medina & Jeanne Batalova

This report examines trends in the share of college-educated immigrants to the United States, including H1B workers and international students. As U.S. employment projections point to a greater demand for highly-skilled and educated workers, immigrants represent an increasingly important source for this workforce. While 32 percent of all foreign-born adults in 2018 had a bachelor’s degree or higher—similar to the 33 percent for the U.S.-born—47 percent of immigrants who arrived during the last five years had a college degree. As of 2018, 17 percent of college-educated adults ages 25 and older were born abroad, compared to 10 percent in 1990. More than half are concentrated in four states (California, New York, Florida and Texas) and 73 percent in just ten states. College-educated immigrants are younger and more likely to be of working age than their native-born counterparts. Almost half (47 percent) are Asian American and Pacific Islander, with the highest shares from India (24 percent) and China (10 percent). The total number of international students in the U.S. has also more than doubled since 1990, with growth largely coming from the number of students participating in optional practical training (OPT) programs after graduation. College-educated immigrants have a virtually equivalent level of workforce participation (74 percent vs. 75 percent) as their U.S.-born counterparts and are more likely to be in high-tech, science, and engineering occupations. In FY 2019 two-thirds of approved H-1B petitions were in computer-related occupations. These trends notwithstanding, 23 percent of college-educated immigrants in 2018 were unemployed or underemployed in low-skilled jobs, compared to 18 percent of U.S.-born college graduates, often because of difficulty getting their credentials recognized. Trump administration policy changes, including increased scrutiny of work and international student visas, have also limited U.S. companies’ ability to hire highly-skilled foreign workers, even while other high-income countries have increased efforts to attract these workers. Mobility restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic may also affect the migration flow in the near to medium term. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)

Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education: A Data Profile,
Migration Policy Institute , October 2020, 13 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova with Miriam Feldblum

In 2018, more than 5.3 million students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities were from immigrant families (28 percent of all students enrolled). “Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education” by the Migration Policy Institute describes the changing face of U.S. higher education from 2000 to 2018. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), authors Jeanne Batalova and Miriam Feldblum show that the population of immigrant-origin students in U.S. higher education grew rapidly between 2000 and 2018, with immigrant-origin students accounting for nearly 60 percent of the growth in the student population during this period. The report points out that immigrant-origin students are a diverse group, including high shares of racial and ethnic minority students (85 percent of all Asian American and Pacific Islander students, and 63 percent of Latino students). As immigrant-origin students are predicted to heavily drive U.S. labor force growth well into 2035, the authors draw attention to the importance of equipping these students with the critical skills necessary to adapt to unpredictable economic circumstance, such as the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors go on to explain that immigration policies, such as the 2019 federal “public charge” rule, as well as initiatives to narrow the postsecondary education attainment gap among racial and ethnic minorities, are key issues to consider in removing barriers to success for immigrant-origin students and, in the process, benefit the U.S. economy and society. (Stephanie Depauw for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study,
The Lancet, July 14, 2020, 22 pp.
Authors: Stein Emil Vollset et al

Declining populations and shifts in age structure may have profound economic and geopolitical impacts in many countries, according to the authors of this study. Modeling future population trends based on current fertility rates, as well as migration and mortality rates, the authors estimate that global population will peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion people and then decline to 8.79 billion in 2100, and continue “inexorably” declining after that. By the turn of the next century, the global total fertility rate (number of children born per woman) will have dropped to 1.66, well below the replacement level of 2.1.  Contributing to this trend will be improvements in female educational attainment and greater access to contraception. Under the most likely scenario, the five largest countries by population will be India, Nigeria, China, the USA and Pakistan. Although China will become the largest economy by 2035, the model predicts that the USA will again eclipse China to become the largest economy by 2100. These trends argue for policy options that adapt to continued low fertility, including the promotion of immigration, especially to higher income countries where the fertility rates will be lowest. Population size and composition of countries are not exogenous factors for countries to account for, but rather outcomes that they can help influence through policies on reproductive health, gender equality, and immigration. According to the authors, “Responding to sustained low fertility is likely to become an overriding policy concern in many nations given the economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical consequences of low birth rates.” (Julianne P. Weis, Ph.D.)

Undocumented Students in Higher Education: How Many Students are in U.S. Colleges and Universities, and Who are They?
New American Economy & Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, April 2020, 9 pp.
Authors: Miriam Feldblum et al

This report documents significantly higher rates of undocumented immigrants in the US enrolled in higher education than previously thought. More than 450,000, or approximately 2% of all students in higher education in the US are undocumented. These students, the authors assert, go on to make significant professional contributions to the American economy. Most undocumented students pursuing post-secondary education in the US do not have the benefit of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Since the rescission of DACA was announced in September 2017, the percentage of students with DACA work authorization has declined. The growing number of undocumented students without DACA protections underscores the urgency of providing work permits and protection from deportation for these students. The authors also argue for the extension of in-state tuition to all undocumented students with state residency to ensure equal opportunity for all students. Undocumented students are primarily enrolled in public colleges and universities, and are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Increasing the number of college graduates fuels community and state economic growth and prosperity. The authors suggest that it is in the national interest to support the growing numbers of undocumented students in higher education in the US. (Julianne P. Weis, Ph.D.)

Brain Waste among U.S. Immigrants with Health Degrees: A Multi-State Profile,
Migration Policy Institute, July 2020, 17 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova et al

Drawing on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Labor, this brief offers a state-by-state look at the underemployment of immigrant health professionals and explores their potential contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. While more than 2.6 million immigrants and refugees were employed in healthcare when the outbreak began, 263,000 with at least a four-year degree in heathcare fields were unemployed or working in low-skilled jobs, due to credential-recognition difficulties, licensing barriers, lack of professional networks, and other obstacles. Rather than being concentrated in traditional gateway regions, these workers are widely distributed across the United States. More than 80 percent are legally present in the country. Almost two-thirds are English proficient, and there is a substantial overlap between the languages they speak and those of limited English proficient populations in the states where they reside. Almost half (46 percent) were trained as nurses. These individuals, the brief argues, represent a reserve of health professionals who can ease the strains imposed on the health-care system by COVID-19.  In more normal times, they can also meet the rising demand for health services in general, particularly in rural and underserved communities. Their linguistic and cultural skills also represent a valuable public health asset, particularly in areas like contact tracing, and could help allay the fear and distrust in immigrant communities arising from anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies like the expanded public charge rule, which have further chilled already limited immigrant access to health-care services. Policies supportive of these underutilized workers could build on executive orders (summarized in an Appendix to this brief) that were introduced in response to the pandemic by governors of Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and that temporarily adjust licensing requirements in certain health professions, including for individuals who are internationally-trained. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)

Statelessness in the United States: A Study to Estimate and Profile the US Stateless Population,
Center for Migration Studies, January 2020, 120 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin et al

The dissolution of the USSR, Myanmar’s exclusion of Rohingya from citizenship, the inability of some Kuwaiti women to confer nationality on their children, and the refusal of Thai officials to register births to members of Hill Tribes are just a few causes of statelessness in the world today. Under international law a “stateless person” is defined as “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.” This study applies this definition and utilizes data from intergovernmental, governmental and academic sources, as well as surveys and interviews, to describe and estimate the population of U.S. residents who are stateless or potentially at risk of becoming stateless (ca. 218,000). The report includes short profiles of major groups of stateless people from around the world, and highlights the challenges they face. In addition to limited employment prospects, domestic and international travel restrictions, and the threat of deportation, stateless persons cannot receive protection from an embassy or return to their country of previous residence. To prevent and reduce statelessness, the authors recommend ways to better identify stateless persons and policies that should be implemented by government, international and non-governmental actors, including universal birth citizenship, and creating paths to legal residency and citizenship. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

A Changing Nation: Population Projections Under Alternative Immigration Scenarios,
U.S. Census Bureau, February 2020, 21 pp.
Author: Sandra Johnson

In 2017, the Census Bureau published the National Population Projections, covering the period 2017 to 2060. In “A Changing Nation,” the Bureau acknowledges that the migration component of these projections may swing significantly due to difficult-to-anticipate changes in political and economic conditions. In this report, the Census Bureau projects three additional scenarios for immigration—high (50 percent more than current levels); low (with immigration rates cut in half from current levels); and no immigration—and analyzes the impact these scenarios would have on U.S. demographics. Without immigration, by 2060 the U.S. population would be smaller, less diverse, and older. Specifically, total population would be about 1.1 percent lower than today. The foreign-born would comprise just 4.6 percent of the population (compared to 26.6 percent in the high immigration scenario) and the median age of the population would rise from 37.9 in 2016 to 45.7 in 2060. The report includes projections for ethnicity, as well as age, nativity, and population growth. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Analysis of FY 2018 Legal Immigration Statistics,
National Foundation for American Policy, January 2020, 11 pp.

The recent release of the 2018 Handbook of Immigration Statistics by the Dept. of Homeland Security shows significant reductions in legal immigration to the U.S. An analysis of the data done by the National Foundation for American Policy shows a decline of 7.3 percent from FY 2016 to FY 2018 (adjusted to more than 15 percent if refugees are excluded from the total). Most of the declines were in the immediate relative categories (spouses, children, and parents of U.S citizens), which are not subject to numerical limitations by current U.S. law.  Legal immigration from Mexico declined by 7.3 percent during this period, while immigration from China fell by 20.3 percent. Especially large drops in legal immigration occurred from “travel ban” countries like Iran (down 44 percent) and Yemen (down 87 percent).  Curiously, there was little change in the number of people receiving immigrant visas in the employment category. The authors of the report attribute most of the family category reductions to delays in processing and heightened screening procedures. If the administration’s health insurance mandate and public charge ruling are unblocked by the courts, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of additional people would not be able to reunify with their loved ones and that legal immigration rates will continue to plummet. (Nicholas V. Montalto, Ph.D.)

Temporary Visa Holders in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, December 5, 2019, 12 pp.
Authors: Brittany Blizzard & Jeanne Batalova

There are several categories of nonimmigrant temporary visas to the United States, and nearly every category has seen declining numbers of visas issued since 2015. Nonimmigrant temporary visas are a vital part of the US economy through tourism, higher education, and temporary labor. The nature of nonimmigrant visa issuance to the US has been shifting for various reasons, from perceived hostility to immigrants to new restrictions and travel bans on certain countries. The issuance of temporary visas reached a peak in 2015, and has been steadily dropping since. The 2017 travel ban led to a 79 percent decline in visas issued to nationals of the seven countries included in the ban. Student visas have also seen a decline of 27 percent between 2015-2018. Temporary visitors to the US for business or pleasure are the largest group of nonimmigrant visa holders, suffering a 20 percent decline between 2015 and 2018. Mexico was the leading country for nonimmigrant visas of all categories from FY 2000 to FY 2013, after which it was overtaken by China, whose citizens sought entry to the U.S. as tourists in large numbers. The only visa category that has bucked this trend is that for seasonal workers. Since 2016, the number of visas to temporary, seasonal workers has remained flat or increased slightly, while the H-2A seasonal agricultural visa figures grew rapidly between 2014-2018. (Julianne Weis, Ph.D.)

Reflecting a demographic shift, 109 U.S. counties have become majority nonwhite since 2000,
Pew Research Center, August 21, 2019, 10 pp.
Author: Jens Manuel Krogstad

Between 2000 and 2018, 109 U.S. counties went from majority white to majority non-white according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. The report finds that 21 of the 25 biggest U.S. counties (by population) are made up of majority non-white residents, with eight of these counties moving from majority white to majority non-white in the 21st century.  The author notes that many of the most populous counties with a majority non-white population are in California, the South or the East Coast, with few majority minority communities in the center of the country.  Georgia counties stand out as having some of the largest shifts. The analysis highlights that U.S. demographics can also shift in the opposite direction. From 2000-2018, just two small counties, Calhoun County in South Carolina and West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana (with relatively small populations of about 15,000 each) went from minority white to majority white. The future of U.S. demographics is still unstable.  As the number of multiracial Americans grows, the way they choose to identify will have lasting effects on the landscape of U.S. racial and ethnic composition.   (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

There are Only About 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S., Not Twice as Many,
Fiscal Policy Institute, July 2019, 2 pp.
Author: Cyierra Roldan

After failing to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Trump administration released an executive order requiring federal agencies to collect citizenship data using administrative records. According to the author of this essay, the justification for this order was based on a flawed estimate from three professors at Yale, none of whom are specialists in demography. They claimed that there are between 16 to 29.5 million undocumented persons in the United States -- the only study that gives such an inflated estimate. The Department of Homeland Security arrived at an estimate of 12 million, while the Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research Center and the Center for Migration Studies concluded that there were 11 million in 2017. Demographers have found clear errors in the Yale professors’ methodology, which are discussed in the report. These errors suggest that the White House’s justification for its executive order is unsubstantiated and merits reconsideration based on the evidence available.

Most Released Families Attend Immigration Court Hearings,
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), Syracuse University, June 18, 2019, 5 pp. 

Contrary to claims made by the Department of Homeland Security, six out of every seven asylum-seeking families in the United States appear for their initial court dates. This analysis of records on court attendance from the Executive Office for Immigration Review finds that appearance rates for families with legal representation rose to 99.9 percent, while the rates of appearance for unrepresented families was at 81.6 percent. The study notes that attorneys, who must keep track of when and where their clients’ hearings will be held, are usually able to communicate details directly to their clients thus ensuring a much greater chance of appearing in court. To the extent that the court system operates in a monolingual environment, court appearance rates will be negatively affected.  Additionally, families who are released after being apprehended at the border may not know where they will be residing after their release and so may not receive notifications of court appearances, and those returned to their home countries to await hearings may similarly have no reliable means of notification. The study finds that the presence of legal representation is the key factor in maintaining high court attendance rates among asylum-seeking families. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Overstays Exceeded Illegal Border Crossers after 2010 Because Illegal Entries Dropped to their Lowest Level in Decades,
Center for Migration Studies, April 2019, 9 pp.
Author: Robert Warren

A 2019 presidential memorandum introduced measures aimed at reducing the number of nonimmigrants who “overstay” their authorized period in the United States. However, according to the Center of Migration Studies, the basis on which the Department of Homeland Security estimates overstays is not sound, and the idea that the number of overstays has exceeded the number of unauthorized border crossers because of rising numbers of overstays is incorrect. The article utilizes data from government and other sources to show that the number of overstays has exceeded the number of those who entered illegally at the southern border primarily due to an historic decline in unauthorized entries since 2000. For example, from 2000 to 2016, overstays were in the 200,000 to 400,000 range annually, while illegal entries declined from almost one million in 2000 to approximately 200,000 after 2008. The article highlights that the overall overstay rate did not grow in recent years and that overstays from Mexico in particular but also Korea, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Poland declined substantially when comparing the 2000 to 2006 period to the 2010 to 2016 period. The article concludes that there is a need for additional study of the factors related to the phenomenon of overstays, as well as recognition that overstays continue to leave the country at a significant rate. This additional research may be helpful in allowing the Departments of State and Homeland Security to address the problem of overstays in an effective manner. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

In 116th Congress, at least 13% of lawmakers are immigrants or the children of immigrants,
Pew Research Center, January 24, 2019, 7 pp.
Author: Abigail Geiger

Immigrants and their children make up at least 13 percent of all voting members of the 116th Congress and trace their ancestry to 37 different countries. Analyzing birthplace and parentage data through news stories, obituaries, candidate statements, and congressional and genealogical records, along with interviews with congressional staff, the Pew Research Center found that out of these 68 lawmakers, 52 serve in the House of Representatives and 16 serve in the Senate; 58 are Democrats, 10 are Republican and one is an Independent. Only three percent or 14 lawmakers are immigrants, less than the historical high of 10 percent in 1789. The number of foreign-born lawmakers in Congress is less than the share of immigrants in the United States overall, which was around 13.5 percent in 2016. Thirty-one lawmakers who are immigrants or children of immigrants represent Western states, 13 represent the Northeast, 13 from the South, and 11 from the Midwest. California has the highest total at 19 members, and Illinois is second at five members. About 32 percent of these lawmakers have roots in Europe, and 22 percent come from Latin America (Mexico being the largest source country). Asia follows with 19 percent of lawmakers, the Caribbean with 18 percent, and the Middle East, North America and sub-Saharan Africa combined below 10 percent. 

US Undocumented Population Continued to Fall from 2016 to 2017 and Visa Overstays Significantly Exceeded Illegal Crossings for the Seventh Consecutive year,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 1:4 (2019), 4 pp.
Author:  Robert Warren

This short paper from the Center for Migration Studies highlights data to show that, in recent years, illegal entries across our southern border have decreased significantly, while the overall undocumented population in the U.S. has declined.  Undocumented migration is lower today than it has been in the past 25 years, and the numbers would even be lower but for the erroneous inclusion of asylum seekers in the statistics on undocumented immigration. Asylum seekers account for some of the increased arrivals after 2012. (Asylum seekers are exercising rights recognized by international and domestic law.) From 2000 to 2017, apprehensions at the border declined 81 percent, from 1.6 million to 300,000 — despite a 110 percent increase in the size of the Border Patrol (from 9,200 to 19,400). The author points out that if attempts at illegal entry had not been falling, the increase in number of Border Patrol agents would have resulted in an increase in apprehensions. The multi-year trends highlighted in this paper show there is no national emergency at the border — only a continuation of progress in thwarting illegal entries.  (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade,
Pew Research Center, November 27, 2018, 77 pp.
Authors:  Jeffrey S. Passel & D’Vera Cohn 

This report from the Pew Research Center, based on an analysis of Census and other data, provides a broad range of information on the size and demographic characteristics of the undocumented population as of 2016. The authors compare their estimates to those in a report produced in 2007. Since 2007, the undocumented population has shrunk somewhat, from 12.2 million in 2007 to 10.7 million in 2016. Estimates are provided for the average number of new arrivals and where they come from; the median U.S. residency of undocumented immigrants (now 14.8 years); the number of children in households with at least one undocumented parent; the top birth countries of the undocumented; states with the largest populations of undocumented immigrants and how these populations have changed since 2007; the number of these immigrants in the U.S. workforce, as well as the percentage of the U.S. workforce (4.8) that is undocumented; and occupations with the largest concentrations of undocumented immigrants. The report includes a detailed explanation of Pew’s methodology, and more than 20 pages of appendices with maps and tables. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States,
Plos One, September 21, 2018, 8 pp.
Authors: Mohammad M. Fazel-Zarandi et al

Immigration policy, particularly regarding undocumented immigrants, is a hotly debated issue in the United States. Many of these debates and decisions rely on a conventional estimate of 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. However, an analysis from the Yale School of Management suggests that the number of undocumented immigrants might be substantially larger, ranging between 16.2 million and 29.5 million people “with an estimated ninety-five percent probability.” The traditional estimate of 11 million people was derived from the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey, along with legal immigration records. However, the Yale study uses “a different approach grounded in operational data, and demographic and mathematical modeling” to arrive at higher estimates. This data was collected from academic literature and government sources including border apprehensions, visa overstays, deportations, voluntary emigration, mortality and change-of-status information from 1990 to 2016. According to the authors, the discrepancy in these results might be because a representative sample is required for accurate responses when using the survey-based approach. Undocumented immigrants are more difficult to locate and may misreport out of fear. These new estimates, according to the authors, could help frame policy debates that depend on accurate population estimates (Public Education Institute, Immigrant Learning Center). (Editor’s Note:  The higher estimates in this study have been strongly contested by other researchers. See, for example, “Center for Migration Studies Disputes PLOS ONE Estimates of US Undocumented Population”)

A Profile of Immigrants from Travel-Ban Affected Countries in the United States,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, April 2018, 27 pp.
Author: Mohammad Ismael Nooraddini
This study looks at the geographic distribution and characteristics of the approximately 800,000 immigrants already living in the United States from seven of the countries covered by travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on September 25, 2017:  Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.  The data indicate that these immigrants are employed, highly educated, have high incomes, own their own homes, and are making impressive contributions to the larger society. Forty-six (46) percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of native-born and 28 percent of all immigrants. The largest occupational cohort were architects and engineers, where 7 out of every 1,000 individuals employed in these professions were from travel ban-affected countries. Dentistry also ranked high on the list of occupations (28 out of every 1,000).  The author worries that "the United States may be denying admission to highly educated and skilled individuals who could be making significant contributions to the United States." At the same time, immigrants already living in the United States may have suffered great harm by losing physical contact with loved ones abroad and by deciding not to travel abroad for fear of not being allowed to return.

Evolution of the H-1B: Latest Trends in a Program on the Brink of Reform,
Migration Policy Institute, March 2018, 17 pp.
Authors: Sarah Pierce & Julia Gelatt
This issue brief examines the main features of the H-1B temporary worker program, including the background of visa holders, the types of companies they work for, and latest trends in the operation of the program. The report notes that the H-1B program has been growing, with much of the growth due to the fact that there is a long wait for employment-based green cards, particularly for Indian nationals. H-1B visa holders may renew their temporary visas until a green card is available. In the past five years, an average of 212,000 visas have been approved beyond those covered by the annual cap of 85,000 (requests for H-1B visas by universities, as well as renewals of existing H-1B visas are not covered by the cap). Initial applications for H-1B visas are now far more numerous than visas available, and winners are selected by lottery. While more than 40,000 firms were approved to sponsor H-1B visas, just 20 companies accounted for one-third of all new and continuing petitions in fiscal year 2017. In the coming months, the Trump administration is expected to make a number of changes to the H-1B program, including taking away the opportunity for certain H-1B spouses to work and other changes that will narrow the definition of who is qualified and which employers may petition for a worker. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

How the Trump Administration’s Plan Would Shape the Composition of Immigration: First Numerical Estimates,
Center for Global Development, January 30, 2018, 5 pp.
Authors: Michael Clemens & Jimmy Graham 
The Trump Administration proposals for cuts to legal immigration are embodied in the Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 (H.R. 4760), filed in the U.S. House of Representatives in January, 2018.  According to estimates in this report, the bill, if enacted, would substantially change the racial, religious and educational characteristics of new U.S. immigrants. The New Immigrant Survey, conducted in 2003, permits analysis of H.R. 4760’s potential impact on new immigrants’ characteristics.  The survey posed race, religion and educational attainment questions to a representative sample of new legal arrivals to the U.S. New Immigrant Survey findings, applied to H.R. 4760, predict strong racial, religious and educational shifts resulting from the bill. The number of Black, Non-Hispanic immigrants, for example, would decline by 64 percent, Hispanic immigrants by 58 percent, and White, Non-Hispanic immigrants by 35 percent. As far as religion is concerned, Catholic immigration would drop by 54 percent and Muslim immigration by 53 percent due to the termination or reduction of visa categories under H.R. 4760.  Orthodox Christians would fall by 49 percent. Immigrants with less than a high school education would fall in number by 71 percent under the proposed reform, which eliminates several types of family reunification visas.  Although the bill seeks to expand employment-based visas for high-skill immigrants, the number of such arrivals would nevertheless decline by 18 percent because of reduced visas for families and the end of Diversity Visas. In addition to presenting and explaining these findings, the authors provide a link to a spreadsheet which can be used to estimate the effects of other immigration reform proposals. (Rob Paral, Rob Paral  & Associates)

Immigration Data Matters,
Migration Policy Institute and Population Reference Bureau, March, 2018, 46 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova et al 
This report, which researchers may want to bookmark, contains a long list of easily accessible online data sources providing a broad range of information on the foreign-born and immigration, including demographic characteristics, English proficiency, health and health care access, labor force characteristics, annual immigration admissions, undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, temporary humanitarian statuses, immigration enforcement, state-based policies, public opinion about immigration and immigrants, and much more. There is a separate section listing sources of government data. Finally, there is a list of international sources of data on immigration and immigrants and topics related to international migration. For each source, there is a short description of what is available, as well as the URL for the online source. This will be a useful tool for researchers, advocates, and policy makers looking for data relevant to their needs. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

The U.S. Undocumented Population Fell Sharply During the Obama Era: Estimates for 2016,
Center for Migration Studies, February 22, 2018, unpaginated
Author: Robert Warren 
According to this study, the undocumented immigrant population in the United States fell by nearly 1 million persons between the years 2010 and 2016, from 11.7 million to 10.8 million. The number of undocumented is at its lowest level since 2003.The largest undocumented group, persons from Mexico, has declined sharply. Undocumented Mexicans numbered 6.6 million in 2010 but fell to 5.7 million in 2016. Populations from South America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) and Europe (Poland) also fell between 2010 and 2016.  Three groups from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) have increased in number in recent years, as have persons from Asian nations including India and China.  Their growth, however, has not offset the decline of other groups. Only two U.S. states, Texas and Nebraska, registered an increase of 10,000 or more undocumented immigrants between 2010 and 2016.  Nine of the ten largest states lost population including California (-367,000), Illinois (-118,000) and New York (-115,000).  The greatest percentage declines were in Alabama (-37 percent), Mississippi (-32 percent) and New Mexico (-30 percent). Undocumented immigration rose in the 1990s by 145 percent and during the 2000s by 36 percent.  The ongoing decline has been occurring across several administrations in Washington. Report author Robert Warren employs a methodology in which respondents to the American Community Survey are assigned immigration status based on key characteristics such as their period of entry, occupation, and likelihood of being immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (Rob Paral, Rob Paral and Associates)

DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016:  Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:3 (2017), 11 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security released a report on visa overstays, i.e. non-immigrants admitted to the United States on temporary visas, e.g. visitors, students, who had not departed the country by the expiration date of their authorized stay. The report found that there were 628,799 people in this category in 2016 and provided detailed breakdowns by country of origin. This paper assesses the credibility of these estimates for 133 countries by comparing them to estimates derived by the Center for Migration Studies of New York using a different methodology.  Although the author found rough correspondence in estimates for 90 of 133 countries (less than 2000 difference), the study also found wide variations for other large sending countries, particularly so-called visa waiver (VWP) countries. For example, CMS found only 500 overstays for the United Kingdom, but DHS reported 21,700; CMS found 900 for Canada, but DHS reported 119,400. The reason for these wide discrepancies is that the DHS estimates include people who did indeed exit the country in a timely fashion, but whose departure was not recorded. Instead of 628,799 overstays, the actual number is probably closer to 316,000, according to the author. The report concludes that "the best information available indicates that overstays from VWP countries remain at extremely low levels and that the total overstay population is growing very slowly."

The Education and Work Profiles of the DACA Population
Migration Policy Institute, August 2017, 16 pp.
Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Jie Zong 
The authors of this report applied their unique methodology to Census data to determine the characteristics of what they call the DACA “immediately eligible” population—those who have met all educational requirements for participation in the program. Past studies of this population have been survey-based, but have not been fully representative. The MPI estimate shows that approximately one-third of this population was still enrolled in secondary school, a third had completed high school but had not gone to college, and another third was either enrolled in college, had completed some college, or attained at least a bachelor’s degree. About three-quarters of the DACA-eligible population who had completed high school were in the labor force. Compared to the unauthorized population, DACA workers were more likely to be found in indoor, white-collar occupations, with regular hours and moderate pay. This report adds to a body of evidence showing that DACA has improved the lives of its recipients in terms of educational attainment, work conditions, pay, and prospects for upward mobility. If the program is terminated with no permanent solution and DACA recipients lose their work authorization, most DACA workers would be unable to continue in their white-collar occupations, and future mobility in the workforce would be reversed (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates). 

Fiscal 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report,
Department of Homeland Security, 2017, 42 pp.
This report contains data on the number of individuals who enter the U.S. and who fail to depart when required by the terms of their admission. Only the second annual report by DHS on visa overstays, this year's report includes nearly every class of nonimmigrant admissions, including students and temporary workers, who enter through land and sea ports of entry. Collection of exit data from land ports of entry continues to be very limited due to constraints posed by sheer volume and lack of space for the infrastructure needed to collect information from exiting visitors. The report summarizes what information CBP collects and how it is collected. It also describes the process by which the government identifies overstays, and what is done with the information. Tables give the total number of overstays as well as the overstay rate for each class of nonimmigrant as well as for each country. For individuals traveling on the visa waiver program (individuals coming to the U.S. for business or pleasure from 38 mostly European and Asian countries), visitors from Hungary had the highest overstay rate, at 2.75 percent, but the total number of Hungarian overstays, at 2,272, was far fewer than the 23,472 visitor overstays from the United Kingdom. For visitors required to obtain visas, the highest overstay rate comes from Djibouti, at 27.23 percent, while the greatest number of individuals who overstayed came from Brazil, at 39,455. The overstay rates for students, at 5.48 percent, was higher than for all other classes of admission, at 3.01 percent (again, with wide variations among countries). The report notes that, for a given period, the overstay rate goes down over time, as people continue to depart the U.S. beyond their expected departure date. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Zero Undocumented Population Growth is Here to Stay and Immigration Reform Would Preserve and Extend These Gains,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:2 (2017), 18 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
This report shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the Great Recession had little, if any, role in reducing the growth of the undocumented population in the United States. Rather, the population stopped growing because of greater scrutiny of air travel after 9/11, additional resources dedicated to southern border enforcement since the mid-nineties, improved economic and demographic conditions in Mexico, and the ability of some undocumented immigrants (those who overstayed their temporary visas) to acquire legal status. The author examines changes in the undocumented population by world region, country of origin, and state of residence for two periods: 2000 to 2008, and 2008 to 2015. He suggests that "the fact that (undocumented) population growth stopped at about the same time that the recession began was merely a historical coincidence."  He concludes that "it is time to recognize that zero population growth is here to stay and that it is very much in our self-interest to seize this opportunity to reform the US legal immigration system in order to preserve and extend these gains."

The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition
Center for American Progress (CAP), April 20, 1017, 61 pp.
This report - an update of an earlier CAP report from 2014 -- gives "the latest and most essential facts about immigrants and immigration reform in the nation today." The data cover the following broad topics: today's immigrant population, the demographics and political power of new Americans, immigrants and the economy, the state of the border and interior enforcement, state and local immigration laws, refugees, public opinion on immigration; and recent developments related to the Trump executive orders on immigration. More than 200 endnotes provide citations to each of the data points discussed in the report.

The 2,000 Mile Wall in Search of a Purpose: Since 2007 Visa Overstays have Outnumbered Undocumented Border Crossers by a Half Million,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 12 pp.
Authors: Robert Warren & Donald Kerwin
Not only are "visa overstays," i.e. people who entered on valid visas but remained beyond their period of authorized stay, a growing portion of the undocumented population (42 percent of the total undocumented population in 2014), they now constitute the majority of all new undocumented people, e.g. visa overstays represented 66 percent of those who joined the undocumented population in 2014.  These are among the findings in this report analyzing the distribution of visa overstays and entries without inspection (EWIs) in the undocumented population (EWIs are people who crossed the southern border without proper immigration documents). The authors suggest that their "findings offer an additional reason to question the necessity and value of constructing a wall: the large and growing percentage of newly undocumented persons will bypass the wall entirely and simply overstay their visas." The authors include charts showing the percentage of overstays in all 50 states. The variations are quite large, e.g. from a low of 22 percent in New Mexico to a high of 96 percent in Hawaii.  Other states with high percentages of overstays include Massachusetts (77 percent), New York (64 percent), and New Jersey (63 percent).

Immigrant Veterans in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, October 13, 2016, 9 pp.
Authors: Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova
How many first and second generation immigrants are veterans? How has the percentage of immigrant veterans changed over time?  What are the top countries of birth of immigrant veterans?  These are some of the questions addressed in this essay, which also looks at the English proficiency, gender, marital status, age, education, employment status, and poverty levels of immigrant military veterans. Relevant provisions of immigration and nationality law pertinent to military service are also discussed.

Surge in Immigration in 2014 and 2015? The Evidence Remains Illusory
Center for Migration Studies, August 31, 2016, 12 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
New Data and Analysis Confirms Stable Growth in Immigration
Center for Migration Studies, 2016, 15 pp.
Author: Robert Warren 
These articles challenge a recent report by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that concluded that the scale of new immigration in 2014 and 2015 was "enormous." Examining Census data, the author finds that essentially all of the increase in the foreign-born population can be attributed to two sub-groups. The first is temporary non-immigrant residents-primarily students and temporary workers who will eventually leave the country and cannot be considered new permanent immigrants. The second sub-group is returning former immigrants, primarily legal immigrants. This sub-group has, until now, never been estimated to the author's knowledge. (Methodology for this estimate is briefly explained in this paper.) Since these immigrants have left the U.S. and returned, they cannot be considered new immigrants. The author also shows that CIS's finding that undocumented immigration had increased by 200,000 in 2014 and 2015 over prior years was based on flawed methodology. The author concludes that there is no evidence of a surge in new immigration. In the subsequent article, "New Data and Analysis Confirms Stable Growth in Immigration," the author examines recently released American Community Survey data-with a much larger sample size than the Current Population Survey data the CIS report relied on-and confirmed the lack of evidence for concluding there has been a surge in immigration in 2014 and 2015. Rather, the author concludes, the new data "indicates that foreign-born population growth, both legal and illegal, has been stable since 2009." (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Cato Institute, September 13, 2016, 26 pp.
Author: Alex Nowrasteh
This study examines the visa categories used by foreign-born terrorists who committed 3,432 murders in the U.S. from 1975 through the end of 2015 -- a number which includes the fatalities on 9/11. The hazards varied considerably by visa category. Overall, the chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack over the 41 year period was 1 in 3.6 million per year. However, refugees (1 in 3.64 billion) and undocumented immigrants (1 in 10.9 billion) were much less likely to commit such acts, compared, for example, to tourists on a B visa (1 in 3.9 million). Overall, the annual chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist. The second part of this paper compares the costs of terrorism with the costs of proposed policy solutions such as a moratorium on refugee resettlement or on immigration as a whole. The author concludes that "the United States government should continue to devote resources to screening immigrants and foreigners for terrorism or other threats, but large policy changes like an immigration or tourism moratorium would impose far greater costs than benefits."

Potential Beneficiaries of the Obama Administration's Executive Action Programs Deeply Embedded in US Society,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 4(1): 2016, 12 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin & Robert Warren 
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an initiative known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), extending temporary protection from deportation and work authorization to certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children. At the same time, he announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) would be expanded to cover additional individuals. DAPA and expanded DACA were placed on hold pending a decision by the Supreme Court. This report paints a statistical portrait of potential beneficiaries of DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA. What emerges from the data is a clear picture of the deep roots potential beneficiaries of all three programs have in the U.S. (For example, 81 percent of potential DAPA beneficiaries have lived in the U.S. for 10 or more years, and 27 percent have lived in the U.S. for 20 or more years.) More than 3.7 million undocumented immigrants-approximately 35 percent of the total U.S. undocumented population-are potential DAPA beneficiaries. Another 1.5 million undocumented immigrants (14 percent of the total undocumented population) are potential beneficiaries of the DACA and expanded DACA programs. This portrait includes statistics on length of residence in the U.S., education, labor force participation rates, income level and even access to the internet 
(Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).

US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines in the Mexican Undocumented Population,
Journal on Migration and Human Security (Center for Migration Studies), 4:1 (2016), 15 pp
Author: Robert Warren
This paper seeks to show that, contrary to widespread belief, the undocumented population has not been trending upward, but has instead been decreasing for half a decade. The total undocumented population in the U.S. dropped to 10.9 million in 2014 - the lowest level since 2003. The undocumented population has declined by an average of almost 200,000 each year since 2008. The decline has largely been driven by a decrease in the Mexican undocumented population, which dropped 9 percent nationally from 2010 to 2014, but with sharper decreases in some states, e.g. California  (13 percent), Illinois (23 percent), and New Jersey (14 percent). The report contains longitudinal population data for the top 15 states of residence of undocumented Mexicans. In addition, the report examines the undocumented population by region of origin, as well as trends from selected countries within those regions. Sixteen countries showed declines in undocumented residents, while ten countries showed increases. The authors note that these demographic patterns seem to run counter to speculation that the undocumented population would rise as a result of the nation's economic recovery.

Migration Policy Institute, January, 2016, 35 pp.
Authors: Marc R. Rosenblum & Faye Hipsman
This paper recommends a series of steps that the Department of Homeland Security can take to improve data-gathering on illegal migration in order to "build credibility and win the trust and confidence of Congress and the American people." A comprehensive approach must provide reliable information on four groups of migrants: those entering between ports of entry, e.g. crossing in remote or unguarded areas; those entering through ports of entry, e.g. using fraudulent documents or hiding in vehicles or truck cargo; those entering legally but overstaying their visas; and the total number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. The report provides a general overview of the available methods for estimating each of these flows, critiques some of these methods, and suggests new approaches, including recidivism analysis and "observational analysis," that might improve accuracy and build confidence in the Department's work. According to the authors, simply reporting on apprehensions at the border will not cut it. With regard to visa overstays, publication of the DHS's January 2016 visa overstay report "demonstrated (DHS's) ability to identify overstayers among temporary visitors for business and pleasure; the next step will involve extending this analysis to over other types of nonimmigrant visas." Of particular importance will be the need to "confront a gaping hole at the Southwest border" and begin collecting data on southbound travelers leaving the U.S., who are not adequately monitored.

Pew Research Center, November 19, 2015, 32 pp.
Author: Ana Gonzalez-Barrera

This study calls attention to a reversal in the pattern of migration from Mexico to the U.S. More than 16 million Mexican immigrants came to the U.S. between 1965 and 2015 -"one of the largest mass migrations in modern history." The Mexican population peaked at 12.8 million in 2007 but fell to 11.7 million in 2014. The study finds that a majority of the 1 million Mexicans who left the U.S. between 2009 and 2014 left of their own free will. According to Mexican data, six in ten (61 percent) cited family reunification as their primary motive for returning, whereas only 14 percent cited deportation. Other reasons for the decline in the Mexican population are the Great Recession in the U.S., which may have thrown some Mexicans out of work and reduced the attractiveness of the U.S. to would-be migrants, as well as increased enforcement along the southern border. Despite this contraction in Mexican migration, a substantial number of Mexicans (35 percent) are still interested in moving to the U.S.

An Analysis of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States by Country and Region of Birth,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2015, 26 pp.
Authors:  Marc R. Rosenblum & Ariel G. Ruiz Soto

Using a methodology developed by researchers at Temple University and Pennsylvania State University, this MPI report provides a detailed overview of the unauthorized population in the U.S. Although people from Mexico and Central America constitute 37 percent of all immigrants in the U.S. (both authorized and unauthorized), they represent 71 percent of the unauthorized population.  Yet the composition of the unauthorized population has not remained static over time. The researchers show how the distribution of the unauthorized population by country of origin has changed since 1990. For example, there has been a sharp increase in the number of unauthorized from Guatemala and Honduras in recent years, while the Mexican percentage has declined. Other groups, such as Indians, South Koreans, and Ghanaians, have also registered large percentage increases. The report also provides data on the regional distribution of the following unauthorized groups:  Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, South Americans, Asians, Africans, people from the Caribbean, and people from Europe, Canada, and Oceania. The report also examines participation rates in the DACA program by country-of-origin, noting, for example, that young people from Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras have application rates in excess of 80 percent, while some Asian groups, such as Koreans, Indians, Filipinos, have rates below 30 percent.

Bipartisan Policy Center, February, 2015, 72 pp.
Principal Author: Bryan Roberts

Despite the massive and growing investments made by the federal government in border enforcement (now consuming 48 to 52 percent of the federal law enforcement budget), the government has yet to develop a coherent and consistent method for measuring the effectiveness of this investment. The absence of a set of agreed-upon metrics “contributes to the disagreements over the state of immigration enforcement.”  The author distinguishes between measuring inputs, e.g. amount of funding, number of deployed agents, or miles of fencing – numbers that are frequently reported -- and measuring outcomes. He contends, however, that the methodology for the latter form of measurement, in part developed by private researchers, is readily available. The metrics should cover the three forms of illegal entry: illegal entry at regular border crossings, illegal entry between border crossings, and visa overstays. Moreover, the government should maintain data on the size of “outflows,” including undocumented immigrants removed, adjusted to legal status, leaving of their own accord, and deaths. “Taken together, estimates of the inflow and outflow channels could provide a ‘complete stock-and-flow accounting’ of the unauthorized immigrant population.” This “holistic model…would help policymakers and the public better understand the success or failure of immigration enforcement policies and implementation.”

The Facts on Immigration Today,
Center for American Progress, October, 2014, 25 pp.
The Facts on Immigration Today, updated in October 2014, covers a wide range of data points on immigration, including basic demographic information; data on immigrant political participation; estimates of the economic impact of immigration; details on proposed federal immigration legislation and executive actions; results of public opinion polling on immigration; and data on unaccompanied children. The report finds that although the immigration population in the U.S. grew by 31.2 percent between 2000 and 2012 to 13 percent of the total population, doubling its size from the 1960s, this share is still less than the 1890 peak of 14.8 percent. At the same time, the diversity of immigrants today is unprecedented. Latinos and Asian Americans, in particular, are becoming a significant part of the U.S. population, producing a record number of new voters who will shape the outcome of future presidential elections. The study notes that legalization and naturalization of undocumented immigrants would increase their wages by 15.1 percent within five years making it easier for them to access better jobs, education and training, and to create small businesses.  The report cites research from Giovanni Peri et al that shows most American workers may benefit from immigration because immigrants tend to complement the skillset of American workers therefore making the latter more productive. (Robert Smith for the ILC Public Education Institute)

U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends,
Congressional Research Service, December 17, 2014, 26 pp.
Author: William A. Kandel

This publication provides historical data on immigration trends "that touch on the main elements of comprehensive immigration reform."  Much of the data comes from the Departments of Homeland Security and State, along with historical data from the Census Bureau. Some of the data series span decades, other capture just a few years. The report covers a wide range of issues, including the composition of the immigration flow by ethnicity and entry category, the number of people with approved visa petitions who are "on line," nonimmigrant admissions, deportation statistics over time,  the number of employers enrolled in E-Verify, and civil fines and criminal penalties levied on employers hiring unauthorized workers. The report also gives contact information for CRS staff members and their areas of immigration expertise.

Democratizing Data about Unauthorized Residents in the United States: Estimates and Public-Use Data, 2010 to 2013,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 2:4 (2014), 18 pp.
Author: Robert Warren 
This paper discusses a new methodology for estimating the size and characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States. This methodology makes it possible to produce demographic profiles for states and geographic units as small as 100,000 persons, an important advantage over the  "residual estimation techniques" used in recent years. The main purpose of this paper is to describe the construction of the database. However, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the methodology, the paper includes several tables showing the kinds of information that can be compiled, e.g. state breakdowns of the unauthorized population by country of origin and trends in the growth or contraction of the unauthorized population by world region of origin. The author suggests that immigrant-service organizations will use the database to gather the following information:  the number of unauthorized residents in the service area, their countries of origin, their native language, their ability to speak English, how many children they have, and whether they live below the poverty line.  This project to "democratize" the data available on the undocumented population grew out of a meeting convened by the Center for Migration Studies in 2013 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations,
Global Cities Initiative: A Joint Project of Brookings and J.P. Morgan Chase, August, 2014, 
51 pp.
Author: Neil G. Ruiz

The number of foreign students at U.S. universities has increased almost five-fold over the past decade and has simultaneously pumped billions of dollars into local economies. Those who stay on to work temporarily also make substantial economic contributions by bringing unique workplace skills and connecting local companies to foreign markets. These are the major findings of The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations. Utilizing 2001 to 2012 data on F-1 visa approvals from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), this report, for the first time, measured the economic impact of foreign students on local economies rather than on the U.S. as a whole. It finds rapid growth in the number of F-1 students overall - 110,000 in 2001 to 520,000 in 2012 - two-thirds of whom study in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and business subjects, compared to 48 percent of U.S.-born students.  Between 2008 and 2012, most foreign students were concentrated in 118 metropolitan areas where they contributed $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in other spending to the local economies.  On completion of their education in the U.S., almost half were able to work in the same geographical area where they obtained their degrees, thus providing valuable linkages to their home economies and important skills to employers. The authors suggest that realizing the full benefit of the presence of foreign students involves leveraging their connections with home countries to facilitate economic exchange and retaining foreign student skills by developing programs to connect graduates to local employers. The report includes charts showing the top overseas source cities of foreign STEM students, top metropolitan areas by "intensity" of foreign student presence, and top metropolitan areas by ability to retain students after graduation. (Denzil Mohammed)

Immigration: America's Demographic Edge
The Bipartisan Policy Center, January, 2014, 25 pp. 
In this staff-produced paper, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Immigration Task Force discusses the economic and geopolitical advantages of immigration as a counterweight to fertility decline and population stagnation.  In 2011, 81 of 197 countries or regions for which the World Bank had data were below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. The situation was especially acute in developing countries. With the "graying" of population, the elderly make up an increasingly larger share of total population. This age imbalance places severe strain on a country's economy and social service sector, as there are fewer workers in their productive years paying into the system and more retirees drawing benefits. The paper suggests that countries with relatively large immigrant populations, such as the U.S., will more easily adapt to the worldwide demographic challenge. Immigrants tend to be younger than the native-born, and significantly increase the size of the labor force. In addition, immigrants typically have much higher birth rates than nationals, and therefore continually contribute to a country's overall population growth. This paper presents several different country case examples within the European Union and Asia to illustrate global demographic trends and the role of immigration in different contexts-noting that countries with positive demographic trends will likely wield more influence within international affairs. The authors conclude that "the U.S. immigration system (is) an important power asset....immigration policy has the potential to help the United States maintain its global political, economic, and military primacy." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)

Undocumented No More: A Nationwide Analysis of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA,
Center for American Progress, September, 2013, 47 pp.
Authors:  Tom K. Wong, Angela S. Garcia, Marisa Abrajano, David FitzGerald, Karthick Ramakrishnan, & Sally Le 

On the one-year anniversary of the DACA program, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Riverside, undertook a comprehensive examination of the successes and shortcomings of the program.  Announced by President Obama on June 15th, 2012, the DACA program enables qualified undocumented youth to apply for relief from deportation for two years, after which renewal is required every two years. Although this program does not offer applicants an opportunity for legal permanent residency or even a pathway to citizenship, the authors note that it does provide tangible benefits for the country's undocumented youth as the nation awaits legislative action on immigration reform.  The data presented in this study illustrates that there was a significant response to the DACA program throughout the country with 573,000 people in the application pipeline and more than 430,000 individuals having received DACA in just over a year. However, the data also shows that successful DACA implementation is not uniform across the states, and not all national origin groups are benefitting from this program equally. Moreover, denial rates are higher for some national origin groups, as well as for males in general.  The researchers also found that there is a statistical correlation between the number of immigrant-serving organizations in a particular state and the application rate in that state.  However, the existence of restrictive immigration legislation in a particular state does not seem to suppress the DACA application rate. By providing information about which groups have successfully accessed the DACA program, and which groups have experienced barriers, and by providing state-by-state comparisons, the study provides pertinent data for practitioners and policy makers alike. (Jade Flora-Holmquist)

Multiplying Diversity: Family Unification and the Regional Origins of Late-Age Immigrants, 1981-2009
Paper prepared for the 2013 Annual Meetings of the Population Association of America, March 25, 2013, 40 pp.
Authors: Stacie Carr & Marta Tienda
This paper seeks to explain how the "seemingly benign" provisions of the 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act led to an unintended "surge of immigration from Asia" and "aggravated population aging by adding parents of U.S. citizens to the uncapped family relatives category." The authors argue that Congress made a "gross miscalculation" of the impacts of the 1965 amendments, believing that the family reunification categories would tend to favor immigrants of European background. The bulk of the paper calculates "family migration multipliers" (number of relatives sponsored for immigration for each originating immigrant) for a succession of immigration cohorts broken down by region of origin. The paper also examines the age distribution of immigrants by these various categories and suggests that current family reunification policies are leading to undesirable results. For example, the huge backlogs in the 5th preference (adult siblings of U.S. citizens) have led to decade-long delays in granting visas and have pushed up the arrival age of immigrants in this category. The authors conclude that "population aging and soaring Medicare costs" are major policy concerns and that the nation can ill afford policies that disregard "the social and economic costs of late-age migration."

Going to the Back of the Line:  A Primer on Lines, Visa Categories, and Wait Times
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2013, 12 pp.
Author: Claire Bergeron 
The concept of an immigration "line" has been a contentious point in the immigration reform debate. This brief examines the family- and employment-based immigration channels to dispel the myth of a single immigration line. The author outlines the current visa categories for family and employment and their annual caps and describes the two-step application and approval processes for legal permanent residence (LPR). Of the 4.4 million pending LPR cases (people whose petitions have already been approved but who have yet to receive visas), 97 percent were applicants for family-based visas. A handful of countries account for the majority of applications and these countries, the findings show, have extremely long wait times that may exceed 20 years in the cases of Mexico and the Philippines. Because U.S. law allows around 226,000 green cards annually for immigrants filing through one of several family-based preference categories, the report conservatively concludes that it would take 19 years at the current rate of approval to clear the existing backlogs in the family-based preference categories. No one knows how many undocumented immigrants may already be waiting on one of these lines. However, U.S. law may bar them from permanent residence by virtue of their unlawful presence in the country. Thus, the concept of a line that undocumented immigrants can join for an easy journey toward citizenship is shown to be far from simple. Indeed, as the author concludes, any legalization program that requires applicants to "go to the back of the line" will be meaningless unless additional visas are made available. And under current law, if you don't have a close family connection in the U.S., there may be no line at all. (Denzil Mohammed)

Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2012, 10 pp.

This Fact Sheet raises the national estimate of unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for deferred action to 1.76 million from MPI's earlier estimate of 1.39 million. The increase reflects updated USCIS program guidelines permitting young people lacking a high school diploma or GED certificate to re-enroll in school by the date of their application. The estimated number of such young people is 350,000. The Fact Sheet also breaks out the potentially eligible population by level of educational attainment: currently enrolled in K-12, high school graduate, enrolled in college, college degree, and no high school degree/not enrolled. The authors also observe that 58 percent of prospective beneficiaries aged 15 and older are already in the workforce and that their wages and working conditions are likely to improve if their applications are approved.

Who and Where the DREAMers are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration's Deferred Action Initiative,
Immigration Policy Center, July 31, 2012, 13 pp.
This report breaks down the eligible population for Deferred Action by state, congressional district, country/region of origin, and age. Of 1.4 million potential beneficiaries in the United States as a whole, 936,930 are in the 15 to 30 age bracket and thus immediately eligible by age.  Comparable figures for other states include: New York (70,170; 55,490), New Jersey (39,650; 28,460), and Pennsylvania (12,570; 8,580). Nationally, 68 percent of potential beneficiaries (both immediate and future) are Mexican, while 13 percent are from other countries in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The ethnic composition of the eligible population, however, varies from state to state, and region to region. While Asians, for example, constitute only 8 percent of the eligible population nationally, they represent 15 percent of the eligible population in New York and New Jersey and 19 percent in Pennsylvania.

Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States and Europe: The Use of Legalization/Regularization as a Policy Tool,
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2012, 9 pp.
Drawing on previous MPI research, this paper provides a brief history of legalization programs  in the U.S. and Europe. More than 5 million unauthorized immigrants have been regularized in the European Union since 1996 -- the vast majority in the southern tier countries of Italy, Spain, and Greece. Although leaders in northern European countries now frown on regularization as a policy tool, policies of "toleration" have remained popular in these countries. In the U.S., more than 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants have been legalized since 1986, mainly through the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, the Cuban Adjustment Program, Cancellation of Removal, and the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act. Between 1929 and 1986, more than 1.5 million undocumented people, or people on temporary visas, acquired permanent residence in the U.S., some through the registry program.  This program allows people who have resided unlawfully in the U.S. for long periods and who meet other qualifications to adjust to permanent residence. Congress has advanced the registry year four times since 1929: in 1940, 1958, 1965, and 1986. The current year is 1972. In addition, since 1952 Congress has acted 16 times to grant permanent residence to persons in temporary legal status.  According to the authors, ever since Congress placed numerical restrictions on immigration in 1921, "Congress has regularly found it necessary to legalize discrete groups that have strong equitable and humanitarian claims to remain in the United States. Many argue that the current unauthorized population includes many residents who have similar claims and that Congress may find it necessary to pursue the legalization option once again."

Transatlantic Trends:  Immigration 2011,
The German Marshall Fund of the U.S., 2011, 30 pp.
This 2011 public opinion survey - the fourth annual survey published by the GMF -- covers the United States and five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). Despite the global economic crisis and the migratory impact of the "Arab Spring," attitudes towards immigration remained remarkably stable. Immigration remains a "second order concern" in all countries, with majorities indicating the "economy" or "unemployment" as their foremost concerns. As in previous years, respondents in all countries overestimated the number of immigrants in their respective countries, e.g. on average U.S. respondents estimated a foreign-born percentage of 37.8 percent, as compared with the real percentage of 12.5 percent.  A majority of U.S. respondents, but only 34 percent of Europeans, also thought that a majority of immigrants were in the country illegally. On both sides of the Atlantic, strong majorities were favorable to the admission of highly educated immigrants, but opposed to immigrants with low levels of education, yet when faced with a choice between a highly educated immigrant without a job offer, and a lower educated immigrant with a job offer, the latter was the preference.  Finally, 53 percent of Americans were supportive of birthright citizenship, and 65 percent supported the provisions of the DREAM Act. 

A Description of the Immigrant Population: An Update,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), June, 2011
After seven years, the CBO has updated its last report on the immigrant population. Relying on data from the Department of Homeland Security and the 2009 American Community Survey, CBO has put together a revealing portrait of the immigrant population in the U.S., with special attention to historical trends, state-by-state and ethnic comparisons, and occupational trends. The CBO-designed  figures are of particular interest.  Figure 7 shows that the percentage of foreign-born people in New Jersey increased from 15% in 1999 to more than 21% in 2009, the largest percentage increase in the nation. At the same time, Figure 13 shows that the unauthorized population in New York and New Jersey, as a percentage of the state population, showed no increase during this period, in contrast to states like Arizona, Georgia, Texas, which had substantial increases.

Transatlantic Trends:  Immigration 2010,
The German Marshall Fund of the United States and other partner organizations, 2011, 39 pp.
For the third year in a row, GMF has conducted a survey of public opinion on immigration-related issue in six countries of the European Union, Canada and the United States. The 2010 survey added new questions on the impact of the recession on attitudes regarding immigration, as well as on the extent of second generation integration. As in the past, populations in all countries tend to overestimate the size of the immigrant population, as well as the percentage of immigrants who are unauthorized. Majorities in all European countries, with the exception of Spain, said that immigrants were not integrating well. North Americans were more positive, with 59% of Americans and 65% of Canadians saying that immigrants are integrating well.

The U.S. Foreign-Born Population:  Trends and Selected Characteristics,
Congressional Research Service, January 18, 2011, 34 pp.
Prepared for members and committees of Congress, this report was designed to provide "context for consideration of immigration policy options." Relying primarily on data from the 2008 American Community Survey, the report analyzes the geographic, demographic, social and economic characteristics of the foreign-born population in the United States. The report covers educational attainment, English language proficiency and workforce participation rates, with breakdowns by nationality, gender, and year of arrival.


The Impact of the Great Recession on Metropolitan Immigration Trends,
Brookings, December, 2010, 10 pp.
This report examines changes in the foreign-born population both nationally and in the 100 largest metropolitan areas since the onset of the Great Recession in December, 2007. Growth has continued in some areas, such as Houston and Raleigh, that have "weathered the recession" well. Declines have occurred in some traditional immigrant gateways, such as New York and Los Angeles.  In the country as a whole, the poverty rate for immigrants rose from 14.6% in 2007 to 16.7% in 2009, reflecting the lay-offs of low skill workers in the construction and service and hospitality industries.

The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2010, 11 pp

This study projects the future size of the undocumented population in the United States under various repeal scenarios. It concludes that the least restrictive "mother and father" version of repeal - the one introduced in the current session of Congress - would lead to a 44% increase in the unauthorized population to 16 million in 2050. The authors also mention the possibility of a  "perpetuation of hereditary disadvantage" for later generations and include estimates as to how repeal would impact the legal status of the 3rd and subsequent generations.