Immigration and the States Project

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Over the last four decades, immigration to the U.S. has grown rapidly in both relative and absolute terms, as millions of foreigners heralding from all parts of the world have made this country their home. While the federal government has been largely responsible for the admission of immigrants and the enforcement of immigration laws, states and localities have played a critical role in the integration of immigrants into communities. As the magnitude and nature of immigration—and the challenges associated with it—have transformed the political and policy landscape, the roles of the federal government and of the states have evolved, sparking both new cooperation and new points of friction. Pew’s work examines the intersection of federal, state, and local immigration laws and policies and the potential impact on all levels of government.

Our Work

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  • Unaccompanied Minors – the State and Local Story

    Unaccompanied alien children (UAC, or unaccompanied minors) crossing the U.S.-Mexico border reached a peak in 2014 with more than 68,000 children apprehended in that year alone. While the numbers dropped by about half in 2015, this year they are on pace to surpass the figures from last year. Looking at the first five months of fiscal year 2016, apprehensions have increased an average of 89%... Read More

  • Do You Know the Facts About Driver’s Licenses for Unauthorized Immigrants?

    Some states have decided to allow unauthorized immigrants—those who do not have explicit permission from the U.S. government to reside in the country—to obtain driver’s licenses (also known by other names, such as driving privilege cards). Take our quiz and test your knowledge about this dynamic immigration policy issue. Answers are current as of March 2016. Read More

  • Immigrant Employment by State and Industry

    The employment patterns of immigrants differ from those of U.S.-born workers across industries and states. This interactive captures the variation by measuring the employment distribution ratio, which compares the likelihood that an immigrant worker is employed in each of 13 industries with that of an U.S.-born worker in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Arizona, for... Read More

Media Contact

Sarah Leiseca

Officer, Communications