Every nation has the sovereign right to control its borders; enact immigration laws and policies that protect and advance the interests of its citizens; and determine who may enter the country, how long they may stay, and the types of activities they can undertake.
The illegal movement of people across international borders threatens national security and public safety, suppresses wages and strains public resources, and leaves immigrants themselves vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. It also undermines the rule of law by reducing citizens’ faith in the ability of government to enforce the law. But well-managed, legal immigration can support national economic competitiveness and promote financial success and assimilation for newcomers.
The United States hosts more immigrants than any other country, with more than one million people arriving every year as permanent legal residents, asylum-seekers and refugees, and in other immigration categories. In addition, hundreds of thousands of foreign-born individuals become naturalized U.S. citizens every year. The total across these categories, coupled with the United States’ openness to people of all races, ethnicities, and religions, makes the United States the world’s most generous country for immigration.
Bilateral and Multilateral Diplomacy
PRM is the U.S. government’s lead for international migration policy, coordinating across the Department of State’s regional and functional bureaus and other U.S. government agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development to advance U.S. priorities in a wide variety of bilateral and multilateral settings. These include the UN, Organization of American States, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, G-7 and G-20, and variou regional consultative mechanisms on migration. Through our diplomacy, we defend the sovereign right of the United States to regulate the entry and stay of foreign nationals; resist attempts to introduce “global governance” of international migration; press countries to facilitate the repatriation of their nationals when we seek to return them; promote well-managed, legal forms of immigration that protect vulnerable people; and seek to address the root causes in origin countries of illegal immigration.
PRM administers foreign assistance funding for practical projects that build the capacity of other countries to manage their immigration systems and to prepare for emergencies that displace people. Implemented primarily by the International Organization for Migration, these programs aim to deter illegal immigration and promote well-managed, legal forms of immigration; protect the human rights of immigrants, including identifying and protecting potential refugees; reduce human trafficking and smuggling and assist victims; promote fair recruitment practices for immigrant workers; and prepare countries to assist their citizens and vulnerable immigrants caught in crises or disasters.
We also fund a number of regional consultative processes around the world. Led by member states, these processes facilitate inter-governmental cooperation on border management, data sharing, refugee protection, and countering human trafficking and smuggling.