Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents: Analysis of DAPA’s Potential Effects on Families and Children

February 2016 Migration Policy Institute

In November 2014, the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which would protect from deportation and provide eligibility for work authorization to as many as 3.6 million unauthorized immigrants, according to MPI estimates. Unauthorized immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) would qualify for deferred action for three years if they meet certain other requirements.

The Supreme Court in April 2016 is expected to hear arguments in the administration’s appeal of a lower court order blocking implementation of DAPA and a related expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The justices’ decision in the case, which began when Texas and 25 other states challenged the president’s authority to create the DAPA program and expand DACA, is expected in June 2016. If the high court permits DAPA to go forward, the program has the potential to improve the incomes and living standards for many unauthorized immigrant families through protection from deportation and eligibility for work authorization.

Read the report…


Issue Brief: Legal Immigration Policies For Low-Skilled Foreign Workers

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006Migration Policy Institute, April 2013

The current US legal immigration system includes few visas for low-skilled workers, and employers have relied heavily on an unauthorized workforce in many low-skilled occupations. The issue of “future flow” of legal workers at the low-skilled level — its size, wage and labor protections, and conditions for temporary or permanent residency has been a major point of debate as bipartisan Senate and House groups craft separate immigration reform proposals. In particular, it has been the focus of lengthy talks between labor unions and the US Chamber of Commerce, resulting initially in a shared statement of principles and later an accord for a new visa category (named the W visa). This issue brief explains the questions that policymakers must grapple with when designing programs for admission of low-skill workers, for temporary as well as permanent entry. It focuses on visas for nonagricultural work; agricultural employment is the subject of a separate issue brief.

Report Launch: Immigration and U.S. Competitiveness: A View from the Midwest

technicians making repairs - industry job trainingNext Thursday, February 28, 2013

The economic future of the Midwest rests in part on US immigration policy. The twin realities of a struggling industrial base and population decline demand a rethinking of how the country and region attracts and retains human capital. Join cochairs and members of The Chicago Council’s independent task force on US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform, as they release their report, 12 months in the making. This report release event will introduce attendees to immigration initiatives being undertaken throughout the Midwest to promote the region’s economic competitiveness.

Read more…

NEW RESOURCE: In the Lurch between Government and Chaos: Unconsolidated Democracy in Mexico

mexican flagThe Wilson Center’s Latin American Program and Mexico Institute in coordination with the Migration Policy Institute are pleased to announce the release of a new report as part of the work of the Regional Migration Study Group:

In the Lurch between Government and Chaos: Unconsolidated Democracy in Mexico, authored by Luis Rubio.

Democratic transitions in Mexico and parts of Central America over the past two decades have tested the limits of the countries’ governing institutions.  During Mexico’s continuing transition away from one-party rule — which began even before the 2000 elections — the country has failed to overhaul the governing structures of the old regime, leaving behind weak institutions ill-equipped to handle modern challenges. Weak institutions offer a natural breeding ground for organized crime and corruption, which have become more entrenched. Organized crime has taken over key activities, noninstitutional actors such as drug cartels have become major players in society, migrants have moved in unprecedented numbers, and corruption at various levels of government and law enforcement has flourished.
Continue reading “NEW RESOURCE: In the Lurch between Government and Chaos: Unconsolidated Democracy in Mexico”

Op-ed: Moving beyond illegal immigration enforcement policies

Doris Meissner, Op-ed, Washington Post, 1/7/2013

IllegaImmigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestl immigration and enforcement have been the dominant concerns driving immigration policy for more than 25 years. Deep public skepticism over the federal government’s will and ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws has come with them. As a result, “enforcement first,” a proposition that argued for effective enforcement as a precondition to broader reforms, became widely embraced. In a report released Monday, the Migration Policy Institute documents how dramatically facts have changed from those long-held perceptions. Particularly since Sept. 11, 2001, but dating to the 1986Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) — which attempted to end illegal immigration through employer sanctions, increased border enforcement and legalization — the nation has made unprecedented, steep investments in the capacity of federal agencies to aggressively enforce immigration laws.

Read more…

To read the Migration Policy Insitute report:

The report can be downloaded at

A briefer version is available at

Regional Migration Study Group Releases New Report

Migrants who choose to proceed even in the face of these risks increasingly are forced to seek the
assistance of intermediaries known as polleros, or “coyotes.” Those who are unable to afford a coyote are more likely to be abused or kidnapped, and held for ransom along the way. While there is little consensus on the numbers, Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights estimates that about 20,000 migrants are kidnapped each year by criminal organizations. In Transnational
Crime in Mexico and Central America: Its Evolution and Role in International
, Steven Dudley, the co-director of InSight Crime, traces the rise of Mexican criminal organizations and Central American gangs over recent decades and examines how these criminal groups impact migrants moving northward. The report reviews the origins and growth of the main illicit networks operating in Mexico and Central America, then outlines the little that is known about how criminal groups profit from, and in some cases facilitate, the flow of migrants northward.  This report is the latest research from the Regional Migration Study Group, a partnership between MPI and the Latin American Program/Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

To read the full report click here

Challenges Ahead on Implementing Executive Action to Prevent Deportation of Unauthorized Youth

Migration Policy Institute,Policy Beat, 6/20/12

President Obama’s decision to protect from deportation and provide work authorization to certain unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as minors — which represents the boldest immigration policy move of his administration — has generated considerable attention for its political implications. But while much of the focus has been on politics and legislative wrangling, less attention has been paid to the capacity and implementation challenges that ultimately will determine the scope and success of the administration initiative.

Read more…