Eight Key U.S. Immigration Policy Issues: State of Play and Unanswered Questions

Doris Meissner & Julia Gelatt
Date of Publication: 
May, 2019
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Although the Trump administration has focused its attention on stemming illegal entry on the southern border, it has failed to adequately address a range of other immigration-related issues. In this MPI report, the authors identify eight issues that “merit increased discussion” and present an opportunity for lawmakers to “inject policy ideas of their own into what have been prolonged, often stagnant, legislative debates.” The report provides a topline summary of each issue, key questions for consideration, and in some instances, new policy ideas. Among the eight issues are: how to measure return on investment in border funding; how to justify generalized interior enforcement rather than enforcement focused on security risks and those with criminal records? Should the three- and ten-year bars to adjustment of status be revisited in order to allow undocumented immigrants with family ties to U.S. citizens to “get in line” for green cards? How to revise the H-1B program to protect the interest of American workers while retaining a pipeline to skilled foreign workers? How to ensure an adequate labor supply for the agricultural sector long dependent on unauthorized workers? And what place should the refugee program have within the larger immigration system?

Download now or view online


Meissner, D. & Gelatt, J. (2019). Eight Key U.S. Immigration Policy Issues: State of Play and Unanswered Questions. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/eight-key-us-immigration-policy-issues