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Julia Gelatt
Experts & Staff
Julia2019_WEB

Julia Gelatt

Senior Policy Analyst

(202) 266-1913

@J_Gelatt

Julia Gelatt is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, working with the U.S. Immigration Policy Program. Her work focuses on the legal immigration system, demographic trends, and the implications of local, state, and federal U.S. immigration policy.

Media Requests
Michelle Mittelstadt
+1 202-266-1910
[email protected]

Dr. Gelatt previously worked as a Research Associate at the Urban Institute, where her mixed-methods research focused on state policies toward immigrants; barriers to and facilitators of immigrant families’ access to public benefits and public prekindergarten programs; and identifying youth victims of human trafficking. She was a Research Assistant at MPI before graduate school.

Dr. Gelatt earned her PhD in sociology, with a specialization in demography, from Princeton University, where her work focused on the relationship between immigration status and children’s health and well-being. She earned a bachelor of the arts in sociology/anthropology from Carleton College.

Bio Page Tabs

Cover image for COVID-19’s Effects on U.S. Immigration and Immigrant Communities
Reports
June 2022
By  Julia Gelatt and Muzaffar Chishti
Cover image for Immigrants’ U.S. Labor Market Disadvantage in the COVID-19 Economy: The Role of Geography and Industries of Employment
Policy Briefs
September 2021
By  Randy Capps, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
Cover image for Immigrant and Other U.S. Workers a Year into the Pandemic: A Focus on Top Immigrant States
Policy Briefs
June 2021
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Christopher Levesque
Cover image for Rethinking the U.S. Legal Immigration System: A Policy Road Map
Policy Briefs
May 2021
By  Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt and Doris Meissner
Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins
Fact Sheets
December 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Jennifer Van Hook
Cover for COVID fact sheet on unemployment of immigrant women in U.S.
Fact Sheets
November 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
coverthumb_future work us
Reports
October 2020
By  Julia Gelatt, Jeanne Batalova and Randy Capps
COVID-19 and Unemployment: Assessing the Early Fallout for Immigrants and Other U.S. Workers
Fact Sheets
June 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt

Pages

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks before a briefing on border security.

Operations by Texas, Florida, and Arizona to bus or fly asylum seekers and other migrants to Washington, DC, Martha's Vineyard, and other cities have succeeded in drawing attention to the unprecedented pace of U.S.-Mexico border arrivals. Described by some as political pawns, many migrants say the trips have upsides. Consequences aside, the transport of migrants by Republican governors raises the question whether a new era has begun: state-on-state fights over immigration.

Image of aspiring pastor and DACA recipient speaking at DACA event in Minneapolis

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program reached its 10th anniversary in June 2022. This article reviews the evidence on DACA’s impacts for Dreamers and the broader society, looks at the increased reliance on similar limited legal statuses to help segments of the unauthorized immigrant population, and examines the legal challenges the program has and is continuing to face.

U.S. immigration officials walk by a courthouse in Seattle.

New Biden administration guidelines encourage immigration prosecutors to support dismissing many low-priority deportation cases and focus on criminals, threats to national security, and other priorities. This move could have a major impact on clearing backlogs in the overstretched U.S. immigration court system, resulting in quicker determinations in removal and asylum cases, where wait times can presently stretch for years.

A pile of documents on a desk.

President Joe Biden has made efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, but could see his administration's agenda slowed by massive backlogs across the immigration system. Case application wait times and immigration court queues have swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, slowing legal arrivals to the United States and undermining the entire immigration system.

An Afghan man speaks to an interpeter working with the U.S. Marine Corps.

The U.S. government is racing to speed up the evacuation and immigration of Afghan translators and others who provided assistance during the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The eleventh-hour moves are a response to long delays and backlogs that have plagued the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program since it was unveiled more than a decade ago. This article provides an overview of the SIV program and the rush to evacuate Afghan allies.

Airport protest

During its first year, the Trump administration methodically put in place a series of bureaucratic barriers that could significantly reduce opportunities for foreigners to come to the United States legally. Among the actions taken during 2017: Imposition of a much-challenged travel ban suspending the entry of nationals from certain Muslim-majority countries, cuts to refugee admissions, and increased scrutiny for visa applicants.

MPI's Aaron Matteo Terrazas, Dawn Konet, and Julia Gelatt report on the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill, Iraqi refugee resettlement, temporary changes to U.S. passport requirements, and more.

senate chamber
MPI's Dawn Konet and Julia Gelatt report on the beginning of new Senate debates on immigration and the events leading up to this debate; a breakdown in negotiations over a U.S.-Canada program for land-border crossers; TPS extensions; and more.

MPI's Dawn Konet and Julia Gelatt report on the Strive Act and a White House plan for immigration reform, the delay in implementing Real ID requirements, the Child Citizen Protection Act, and more.

MPI's Dawn Konet and Julia Gelatt report on postponement of Real ID Act requirements, Senator Barack Obama's citizenship bill, a passport exemption for U.S. and Canadian children, and more.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on immigration and integration funding in the 2008 budget, plans to raise immigration and naturalization application fees, reports of substandard conditions in immigrant detention facilities, and more.

Julia Gelatt reports on legislation plans of the new Congress, a proposal to revise and expand the Visa Waiver Program, the postponement of tracking visitor exits, the Swift & Co. raids, new cost estimates for a border fence, and more.

MPI’s Julia Gelatt reports on the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, the role of immigration reform in the November elections, plans to raise fees for immigration benefits, the first phase of Boeing’s border control strategy, and more.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on the DHS appropriations legislation, the Secure Fence Act, and the potential effects of the new terrorist interrogation and detention law on noncitizens in the United States.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on House passage of strict immigration enforcement bills, USCIS progress on meeting backlog reduction goals, Boeing's border-security contract, and the smaller-than-anticipated immigration marches held in early September.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on Congressional action on immigration reform, the costs of the Senate-passed reform bill, new Census data on the U.S. foreign-born population, proposals for greater scrutiny of immigration judges' performance, changes in immigration policy for Cubans, and more.

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Little is known about Americans who have retired to Latin America. MPI's David Dixon, Julie Murray, and Julia Gelatt examine the U.S. retiree population in Mexico and Panama by looking at census and visa data as well as by interviewing American retirees in various communities.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on Congressional field hearings on immigration reform, the latest proposal for immigration reform, new regulations guiding implementation of Medicaid's new proof-of-citizenship requirements, Senate passage of a DHS appropriations bill for 2007, and the extension of the Voting Rights Act.

MPI's Julia Gelatt and Malia Politzer report on the delay of Congressional negotiations on immigration, the DHS appropriations bill, new regulations for following up on mismatched Social Security numbers, and other policy news.

The Caribbean born accounted for almost 10 percent of the total U.S. foreign-born population in 2000. MPI's Julia Gelatt and David Dixon look at the social and economic profiles of the foreign born from this region.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on the Senate's passage of historic immigration legislation; President Bush's plan for deploying the National Guard at the border; and the waiver of the material support bar for refugees from Burma, plus other immigration news.

The majority of South American born counted in the 2000 census were from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. MPI's David Dixon and Julia Gelatt look at the social and economic profiles of the foreign born from this region.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on the provisions of the Senate compromise immigration bill; new strategies for internal immigration enforcement; and Georgia's strict new controls regarding unauthorized immigrants, plus other immigration news.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on the Judiciary Committee's proposals for immigration reform, which set the stage for Senate debate on the topic, plus other immigration news.

MPI’s Julia Gelatt reports on funding for immigration in Bush’s 2007 budget proposal, the State of the Union Address, upcoming immigration debate in the Senate, expedited removal along the northern border, and more.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on immigration leadership appointments, changes to the citizenship test, criticism of immigration judges, new border initiatives, and more.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on House passage of immigration enforcement legislation, immigration measures in budget legislation, upcoming regulations for worksite enforcement, new government reports, and more.

MPI’s Julia Gelatt reports on Bush's latest immigration reform speeches in Arizona and Texas, new proposals for immigration reform, calls for the merger of immigration agencies, and more.

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on President Bush's renewed call for immigration reform, appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for 2006, leadership changes within DHS, and more.
MPI's Julie Murray and Julia Gelatt report on immigration enforcement following Hurricane Katrina, increased immigration prosecutions along the border, recent rulings on benefits for immigrants, the expansion of expedited removal, and more.

Schengen eliminated border controls between European countries, and established a common external border. MPI's Julia Gelatt explains the changes brought by Schengen and the effects Schengen has had on European border control, visa, and asylum policies.

MPI's Julia Gelatt and Megan Davy reports on CAFTA's immigration effects, local immigration enforcement tactics, immigrants' access to healthcare, H-1B visa caps, new technology for border security, and more.
MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on Senators Cornyn and Kyl's comprehensive immigration reform bill, Secretary Chertoff's announcement on changes to the DHS, voting rights for Mexican citizens abroad, and more.
Julia Gelatt and Jennifer Yau report on resumption of free flights for undocumented border crossers, Senators Kyl and Cornyn's immigration enforcement proposals, and the use of immigration laws in national security investigations.
2020CensusOutreach USCensusBureau
Commentaries
July 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jennifer Van Hook and Julia Gelatt
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Commentaries
March 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
medical insurance
Commentaries
October 2019
By  Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
ResettledRefugeesLA2016UN PhotoMarkGarten
Commentaries
September 2019
By  Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt and Amy Holovnia
DREAMERS Justin ValasFlickr
Commentaries
March 2019
By  Julia Gelatt
UnauthorizedMethodologyCommentary Photo
Commentaries
September 2018
By  Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix and Jennifer Van Hook
Deferred Action Summit
Commentaries
June 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
WhiteHouse
Commentaries
January 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Sarah Pierce
UndocumentedYouthApplyForDACA
Commentaries
November 2017
By  Julia Gelatt and Randy Capps
World of Migration episode 6 tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
November 12, 2021

In this conversation, MPI Senior Fellow and former President Michael Fix speaks with Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt about the fiscal impacts of immigration, the importance of immigrant integration, how a greater focus on credential recognition could allow immigrants to more fully utilize the academic and professional skills they bring with them, and much more.

USCensusBureau2018testprovidencenrfu06
Video, Audio
August 26, 2020

This conversation, featuring a former U.S. Census Bureau director and other top experts, examines how the many challenges facing the 2020 Census could affect the count and representation of immigrant communities, the difficulties inherent in data matching to determine legal status, and the legal and constitutional issues surrounding the administration’s actions.

Greencard US government
Video, Audio
March 5, 2020

On this webinar, MPI experts discussed the public-charge rule and released estimates of the populations that could be deemed ineligible for a green card based on existing benefits use.

Cecilia Munoz and Carlos Gutierrez
Video, Audio
August 12, 2019

This discussion marked the launch of MPI's Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy Initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration should play in America’s future, as well as to build a bipartisan center so needed reforms can be enacted.

2019.5.17EVENTPHOTO
Video, Audio
May 17, 2019

With the U.S. administration calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, this conversation focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change.

Pages

Explainer_LegalImmigrationSystem Legal Immigration Pie_small
Explainers
April 2019

Through which visa categories can immigrants move temporarily or permanently to the United States? What are the main channels by which people come, and who can sponsor them for a green card? Are there limits on visa categories? And who is waiting in the green-card backlog? This explainer answers basic questions about temporary and permanent immigration via family, employment, humanitarian, and other channels.

Recent Activity

Articles

Operations by Texas, Florida, and Arizona to bus or fly asylum seekers and other migrants to Washington, DC, Martha's Vineyard, and other cities have succeeded in drawing attention to the unprecedented pace of U.S.-Mexico border arrivals. Described by some as political pawns, many migrants say the trips have upsides. Consequences aside, the transport of migrants by Republican governors raises the question whether a new era has begun: state-on-state fights over immigration.

Articles

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program reached its 10th anniversary in June 2022. This article reviews the evidence on DACA’s impacts for Dreamers and the broader society, looks at the increased reliance on similar limited legal statuses to help segments of the unauthorized immigrant population, and examines the legal challenges the program has and is continuing to face.

Reports
June 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic recession have affected the lives of all U.S. residents, but immigrants have been among the hardest hit, with evidence of disproportionately high rates of death as well as a particularly high spike in unemployment. This report takes a look back at how the COVID-19 crisis has affected U.S. immigration policies and levels and the country’s immigrant communities.

Articles

New Biden administration guidelines encourage immigration prosecutors to support dismissing many low-priority deportation cases and focus on criminals, threats to national security, and other priorities. This move could have a major impact on clearing backlogs in the overstretched U.S. immigration court system, resulting in quicker determinations in removal and asylum cases, where wait times can presently stretch for years.

Commentaries
March 2022

Dating to the 1950s, Congress on multiple occasions has provided a direct path to permanent residence for Hungarians, Vietnamese, Cubans, and others fleeing upheaval in their countries. Given this precedent, this commentary suggests Congress should act to provide a more secure future for the more than 72,000 Afghans who were airlifted to the United States under an uncertain immigration status known as parole.

Articles

President Joe Biden has made efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, but could see his administration's agenda slowed by massive backlogs across the immigration system. Case application wait times and immigration court queues have swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, slowing legal arrivals to the United States and undermining the entire immigration system.

Expert Q&A, Audio
November 12, 2021

In this conversation, MPI Senior Fellow and former President Michael Fix speaks with Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt about the fiscal impacts of immigration, the importance of immigrant integration, how a greater focus on credential recognition could allow immigrants to more fully utilize the academic and professional skills they bring with them, and much more.

Policy Briefs
September 2021

Immigrants, who lost jobs at a much higher rate than U.S.-born workers early in the COVID-19 pandemic, have since seen their unemployment rate drop below that of the U.S. born. Still, they are not well poised to take advantage of the economic recovery. This issue brief examines the extent of job losses and employment shifts for U.S. workers from mid-2019 to mid-2021, with trends broken down by nativity, gender, industry, and geographic region.

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