Migration flows into the country are setting historic records, presenting significant challenges for the capacity of the U.S. immigration system. Greater numbers of migrants seek asylum or other humanitarian protections and hail from an increasingly diverse set of origin countries, which exacerbates these challenges. These challenges defy reductive and one-size-fits-all policy solutions and call for unbiased and evidence-based research and analysis.
Few issues are as polarizing as U.S. immigration and border policies. As contentious as the debate is, nonpartisan and evidence-based studies to inform the related pressing policy decisions are in short supply. For more than two decades, the RAND Corporation has sought to fill these analytic gaps in policy discussions in the United States and across the world.
Photo by Mani Albrecht/U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Conducting research and analysis for DHS on immigration and border policies was one of HSOAC's founding missions. But research on migration and immigration policies has been part of the RAND portfolio since the mid-1980s. Studies over the years have brought solid empirical evidence and objective analysis to the debate. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution, RAND's work on immigration and border policy is often referred to and cited by people on all sides of the immigration debate.
We deploy the interdisciplinary research and analysis capabilities within HSRD to help the Department of Homeland Security and policymakers across the homeland security enterprise make sound decisions about immigration and border. Our competencies and capabilities include:
Improving methods for measuring, understanding, and forecasting immigration flows
Analyzing and identifying environmental, political, and security drivers of immigration
Understanding the experience of immigrants in the United States
Identifying the implications of the legal and moral constraints on immigration and border security policies
Evaluating alternative approaches to managing unlawful immigration flows and illicit flows of narcotics and goods
Assessing policies and procedures for immigration-law enforcement
Understanding the challenges posed by transnational criminal actors and human smugglers
Identifying ways to promote the health, resilience, capabilities, and morale of the DHS workforce
Assessing the impacts of emerging technologies on border security and enforcement outcomes
By U.S. law, states must provide education to all children, regardless of immigration status. But policymakers lack information needed to support the education of undocumented and asylum-seeking children, whose numbers have been growing.
Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center researchers sought to establish a causal connection between surveillance technology and outcomes relevant to border security. The study demonstrated the promises and limitations of quasi-experimental statistical methods for evaluating the effects or effectiveness of different border-enforcement measures.
Smuggling unlawful migrants from Central America to the United States generated between $200 million and $2.3 billion for human smugglers in 2017. The wide range reflects uncertainty about the number of migrants, their use of smugglers, and the fees they pay. Transnational criminal organizations are only one type of actor involved.
About 11 million people live in the United States without lawful immigration status. Proposed solutions typically focus on deportation versus amnesty, but a minor change to the current immigration law could offer a compromise.
Updated analysis provides lessons that could be useful in continuing the reform of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and could inform the upcoming transition to an Australian Department of Home Affairs (HA). How solid are the foundations of the DIBP, and can they serve as a basis for the new HA?
As the effects of climate change increase in scope and severity, more people will relocate to preserve or enhance their lives and livelihoods. A review of how six countries are managing climate mobility provides options for policymakers considering the needs of climate migrants and their host communities.
Political polarization affects democracy and discourse about public policy. But a series of workshops with diverse stakeholders discussing sensitive policy issues found that Americans from different demographic, economic, political, professional, and social backgrounds can reach consensus.
International migration has more than tripled worldwide since 1960. This rapid social and demographic change in many countries around the world has triggered a new reckoning around what immigration means for societies, giving rise to a plethora of narratives or stories about how the movement of people across international boundaries reinforces-or undermines-national values, security, and prosperity.
RAND researchers analyzed U.S. Department of Homeland Security documentation, processes, and procedures, and then identified ways to improve them and to create an organizational culture that supports the lasting implementation of more-inclusive terminology.
The expanding role of U.S. states in immigration policy raises questions about the consequences of state-level action. A cost-benefit framework identifies the economic and fiscal impacts of state-level immigration policies and how different stakeholders would be affected.
Sudden influxes of migrants across the southwest U.S. border are not new, but they are also increasing. Immigration relocation policies are likely one of the best ways to address migrant surges if done in an organized, humane, and thoughtful way.