The big picture

Biden to end Trump-era agreement between ICE and agency housing migrant children

Biden is working to make it easier for families to host unaccompanied migrant children.

Mar 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

He wants to reverse course on Trump's immigration crackdown, but nothing about it will be simple.

Nov 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy
The plunge in highly skilled work visas

The restrictions and bottlenecks may outlast the pandemic.

Sep 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy
Immigrants on the front lines in the coronavirus fight

They're America's doctors, cab drivers and farm workers.

Apr 3, 2020 - Health
Deep Dive: A widening world without a home

If all the refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people were a country, they'd be the 21st most populous nation in the world.

Dec 15, 2018 - Politics & Policy

All Immigration stories

DOJ ends extreme limits on asylum for domestic violence survivors

Photo: Win McNamee/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Wednesday threw out a Trump-era ruling that essentially blocked access to asylum for immigrants fleeing domestic violence in their home countries.

Why it matters: Violence against women is on the rise in Latin America. "[A]round the world, in Central America and elsewhere, women struggle to have governments ensure, or in some cases recognize, their right to protection," Human Rights Watch writes.

By the numbers: The building migrant backlog

Reproduced from TRAC, Syracuse University; Chart: Axios Visuals

There are now more than 1.3 million cases awaiting a decision from an immigration judge — double the caseload from 2017 — to determine whether migrants can legally stay in the U.S., according to newly released data reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: The rapidly growing backlog is another sign of a broken immigration system. Migrants have been waiting an average of nearly 950 days for a court decision — two-and-a-half years of living in limbo.

The booming, dangerous migration by sea

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Maritime smuggling of people to the U.S. is on the rise toward California and Florida, with two recent capsized boats near San Diego and Key West showing the deadly consequences.

Why it matters: Experts stress that for several years toughened security has not decreased migration, just made adult migrants seek other, more dangerous paths.

Harris says U.S. and Mexico are "embarking on a new era"

Vice President Kamala Harris takes questions from the press after her meeting with Mexico's president in Mexico City, June 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

During her first in-person meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the U.S. and Mexico are "embarking on a new era," with greater cooperation between the two countries on immigration, AP reports.

Why it matters: Harris was tapped by Biden to work on fixing the migrant surge at the southern border, a crisis that has threatened to overshadow some of the administration's early successes.

Biden administration using surveillance app for asylum seekers

Asylum seekers from Colombia walk through the U.S.-Mexico border to turn themselves over to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona. Photo: Apu Gomes via Getty Images

U.S. border officials have quietly deployed a new surveillance app to collect and store information on asylum seekers before they enter the United States, the Los Angeles Times was the first to report.

Why it matters: The kind of technology used in the app, which relies on facial recognition, geolocation and cloud computing, remains controversial and has raised alarms about unchecked surveillance and data collection, experts told the newspaper.

Scoop: White House considering fast-track family deportations

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden is considering the return of an immigration policy that allows the U.S. government to more quickly deport families who illegally cross the border from Mexico, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios' Stef Kight.

Why it matters: Resuming the practice of so-called expedited removals for families could be a divisive move among some Democrats. It would shift the administration toward a more deterrence-based approach, used to different degrees by the past four presidents and embraced especially by the Trump administration.

Biden administration to expedite immigration cases of undocumented families

Merrick Garland (left) and Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Justice and Homeland Security departments on Friday announced plans to fast-track cases of families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in immigration court.

The state of play: Families that are stopped at the border beginning Friday will be placed in a "dedicated docket" process, aimed at expediting proceedings to determine whether they can remain in the U.S. These cases are known for getting backlogged and taking years to reach a conclusion.

ACLU urges Biden administration to vaccinate detained immigrants

Signs notifying visitors that ICE and Customs and Border Protection will not conduct enforcement operations at a COVID-19 vaccination center at the Miami Dade College North Campus on March 10. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The ACLU on Thursday urged Immigration and Customs Enforcement to vaccinate detained immigrants, saying the agency has failed to create a coordinated response to rampant infections.

The big picture: Immigration attorneys told the Washington Post in early March that ICE had no clear plan to vaccinate the thousands of immigrants in its custody.

Distant migrants now targeting U.S.-Mexico border

Data: U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of people attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border from countries beyond Mexico and Central America's Northern Triangle — including residents of Haiti, Cuba, Romania and India — has spiked during recent months.

Why it matters: On top of natural disaster and economic crises in home countries, the growing backlog of asylum cases in the U.S. — which often allows migrants to live and work in the country as their case plays out in court — is being conveyed to friends and relatives. It can prompt them to catch flights to Central America.

How immigration can power the future of America's heartland

Data: Heartland Forward; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More foreign-born immigrants are moving to the center of the U.S. than in the past, according to a new report by Heartland Forward.

Why it matters: With population growth in the U.S. slower than it has been for the last 100 years, both high-skilled and low-skilled industries across America have come to rely more on immigrants to power their workforces.

More Immigration stories