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Research & Publications

Just the Facts

Immigration Fact Checks provide up-to-date information on the most current issues involving immigration today.

An Overview of U.S. Refugee Law and Policy

The United States passed its first official refugee legislation to address the plight of displaced Europeans following World War II.  Most refugees are displaced from their country of origin to a neighboring country, and then resettled to a third country through international organizations. The United States resettles more refugees than any other country, refugees who go on to contribute to our communities and our economy.  

What is a refugee?

A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. This definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968. Following the Vietnam War and the country’s experience resettling Indochinese refugees, Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which incorporated the Convention’s definition into U.S. law and provides the legal basis for today’s U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).Read more...

Published On: Wed, Nov 18, 2015 | Download File

Special Reports

Our most in-depth publication, Special Reports provide detailed analyses of special topics in U.S. immigration policy.

Enforcement Overdrive: A Comprehensive Assessment of ICE’s Criminal Alien Program

The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a massive enforcement program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has become the primary channel through which interior immigration enforcement takes place. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of individuals removed from the interior of the United States are removed through CAP. Each year, Congress allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to fund this program. Until now, however, little has been known about how CAP works, whom CAP deports, and whether CAP has been effective in meeting its goals.


Published On: Mon, Nov 02, 2015 | Download File

Perspectives on Immigration

Perspectives offers fresh ideas and alternative viewpoints on immigration policy from writers inside and outside the immigration debate.

Learning from Our Past: The Refugee Experience in the United States

Today there is much public discussion, both in the United States and abroad, about the worldwide refugee crisis. In recent years, the United States has welcomed 70,000 refugees per year. The President has indicated he intends to admit 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2016, including 10,000 from Syria, an increase which has been criticized by some lawmakers and politicians. In considering the appropriate U.S. response to the refugee crisis, it is important to remember the central role of refugees in the American experience. This Perspective provides background on the refugee experience in the United States, including welcoming and exclusionary responses, the impacts of these disparate reactions, and lessons to consider in determining our response to the current refugee crisis.


Published On: Wed, Nov 25, 2015 | Download File