Every day, organizations worldwide are engaged in a collective two steps forward, one step back march toward improved immigration services and policies. What hard-earned lessons are these nonprofits, and the foundations that support them, learning from their persistent efforts? This collection of evaluations, case studies, and lessons learned exposes and explores the nuances of effective collaboration, the value of coordinated messaging, the bedrock of ongoing advocacy efforts, and the vital importance of long-term and flexible funding.

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Featured

Protection Denied: Humanitarian Consequences at the U.S. Southern Border One Year Into the Biden Administration

January 14, 2022

On February 2, 2021, less than two weeks after taking office, the Biden administration issued a series of presidential actions regarding immigration, including an executive order to provide safe and orderly processing of asylum seekers at the United States border. The executive order promised to restore and strengthen the U.S. asylum system through safe, orderly, and humane reception and processing of asylum seekers at the border, noting that immigrants have made the U.S. stronger and better for generations and that policies enacted under the Trump administration contravened U.S. values and caused needless suffering.One year into the Biden administration, however, some of the most severe Trump-era policies that have decimated access to asylum — commonly known as "Title 42" and "Remain in Mexico" — remain in force. These measures effectively "externalize" asylum beyond U.S. borders, making U.S. territory unreachable to foreign nationals who do not have permission to enter – even if they are exercising their human right to seek asylum – and require Mexico and other countries to carry increasingly challenging burdens to meet humanitarian needs.This report provides an update on continued externalization of asylum and the resulting humanitarian impacts at the U.S.-Mexico border. The first year of the Biden administration has demonstrated the real dangers of border externalization — both to vulnerable migrants in need of protection and to the humanitarian organizations working to protect their rights and meet their basic needs.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Featured

On the Frontlines of the Climate Emergency: Where Immigrants Meet Climate Change

December 8, 2021

Extreme heat waves, droughts, fires, hurricanes, and floods surging in the United States and across the globe are wake-up calls to the reality of a climate-altered world. While climate change affects everyone, the damage is compounded for countries and communities that are made vulnerable by restrictive immigration policies, patriarchal beliefs and systems, structural racism, and by economic stress and exploitation.This report seeks to inspire justice-oriented funders to invest at the nexus of the climate and immigrant justice movements, with a particular eye to the unique vulnerabilities and contributions of immigrants. Philanthropic investment at this pivotal juncture would help build a healthy and collaborative ecosystem across movements and is both a moral and strategic priority. This can enable forward planning of legal pathways for people who lose their homes; protections and opportunities for workers and communities who are striving to build resilience; and the power to win and implement urgent, equitable, and effective responses to climate challenges. 

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

One-in-Ten Black People Living in the U.S. Are Immigrants

January 20, 2022

The analysis presented in this report about the foreign-born Black population of the United States combines the latest data available from multiple data sources. It is mainly based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006-2019 American Community Surveys (ACS) and the following U.S. decennial censuses provided through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) from the University of Minnesota: 1980 (5% sample), 1990 (5% sample) and 2000 (5% sample). U.S. Census population projections were used to estimate the size of the single-race Black foreign-born population from 2030 to 2060. For census years 1980 and 1990, "Black immigrants" and "foreign-born Black population" refer to persons born outside the U.S., Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories whose sole self-identified race is Black, regardless of Hispanic origin. Prior to 2000, respondents to Census Bureau surveys and its decennial census could make only one selection in the race question. In 2000 and later, respondents were able to indicate they were of more than once race. The ACS is used to present demographic characteristics for each group.

Latinos See U.S. as Better Than Place of Family’s Ancestry for Opportunity, Raising Kids, Health Care Access

January 20, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand the views of Hispanics living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia about life in the United States compared with the origin places of their Hispanic ancestors (including Puerto Rico) on a number of dimensions; and whether Hispanics born in Puerto Rico or another country would choose to come to the U.S. again. For this analysis we surveyed 3,375 U.S. Hispanic adults in March 2021. This includes 1,900 Hispanic adults on Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel (ATP) and 1,475 Hispanic adults on Ipsos' KnowledgePanel. Respondents on both panels are recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. Recruiting panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the whole population (see our Methods 101 explainer on random sampling), or in this case the whole U.S. Hispanic population. To further ensure the survey reflects a balanced cross-section of the nation's Hispanic adults, the data is weighted to match the U.S. Hispanic adult population by age, gender, education, nativity, Hispanic origin group and other categories.

Immigration Court Backlog Now Growing Faster Than Ever, Burying Judges in an Avalanche of Cases

January 18, 2022

The U.S. Immigration Court system is currently staring up a mountain of pending cases that at the end of December 2021 reached 1,596,193 — the largest in history. If every person with a pending immigration case were gathered together it would be larger than the population of Philadelphia, the sixth largest city in the United States. Previous administrations — all the way back through at least the George W. Bush administration — have failed when they tried to tackle the seemingly intractable problem of the Immigration Court "backlog."Yet a disturbing new trend has emerged during the Biden administration that demands attention: since the start of the Biden administration, the growth of the backlog has been accelerating at a breakneck pace.

A Shameful Record: Biden Administration’s Use of Trump Policies Endangers People Seeking Asylum

January 13, 2022

Now nearly one year into President Biden's term, his administration continues to implement and expand illegal and deadly Trump administration policies that prevent people from seeking asylum at U.S. ports of entry and along the border and turn them away to grave, widespread dangers. The administration's use of these policies – known as Title 42 and Remain in Mexico – has perpetuated their inherent cruelty, disorder, and the racist tropes in which they are rooted. The result is a shameful record of human suffering. Since the Biden administration took office, Human Rights First has tracked over 8,705 reports of kidnappings and other violent attacks against migrants and asylum seekers blocked in and/or expelled to Mexico by the United States government.Despite lifting other pandemic-related international travel restrictions, the Biden administration continues to embrace Stephen Miller's policy of misusing Title 42 of the U.S. Code to block asylum seekers from requesting protection at U.S. ports of entry and to expel people seeking refuge without access to the U.S. asylum system. The administration is defending the expulsion policy in federal court, with the next hearing in a lawsuit challenging expulsions of families at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals set for January 19, 2022. The Biden administration bears full responsibility for its rampant use and continued defense of the illegal Title 42 policy, which it is has wielded now for longer and to expel more people than President Trump.For this report, Human Rights First researchers conducted in person and remote interviews with migrants and asylum seekers, attorneys, shelter and other humanitarian staff, Mexican government officials, and legal monitors. Researchers monitored the implementation of RMX in Ciudad Juárez in person in December 2021 and interviewed 18 of the individuals returned under RMX. Additional interviews of migrants and asylum seekers blocked in or expelled to Mexico due to Title 42 were conducted by telephone between December 2021 and January 2022 and in person in Tijuana in November 2021. The report draws on data from an electronic survey of asylum seekers in Mexico conducted by Al Otro Lado between September 2021 and December 2021, data and information provided by Mexican migration officials, legal complaints, media sources, and other human rights reports.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

New Americans in Los Angeles County: The Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants in the County

December 16, 2021

New research from New American Economy underscores the crucial role immigrants in Los Angeles County play as essential workers, economic contributors, and business owners. This report was prepared in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). It also features profiles of two Los Angeles residents: Lizbeth Garcia and Emanel Noreza. The report was produced as part of NAE's and Welcoming America's Gateways for Growth Challenge, which includes tailored research on the local immigrant population and/or technical assistance in the creation of a multi-sector strategic immigrant integration plan.

New Americans in the City of Los Angeles The Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants in the City

December 16, 2021

New research from New American Economy underscores the crucial role immigrants in Los Angeles play as essential workers, economic contributors, and business owners. This report was prepared in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). It also features profiles of two Los Angeles residents: Lizbeth Garcia and Emanel Noreza. The report was produced as part of NAE's and Welcoming America's Gateways for Growth Challenge, which includes tailored research on the local immigrant population and/or technical assistance in the creation of a multi-sector strategic immigrant integration plan.

Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Communities During COVID-19: Insights from Tulsa’s COVID-19 Community Impact Survey

December 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected vulnerable communities across the United States, including racial and ethnic minorities and immigrant groups. Many face severe challenges in meeting the essential needs of their families and handling mental health issues, both of which have been exacerbated by the prolonged stress and isolation during the pandemic.To better support these vulnerable communities and to ensure that Tulsa's emergency services provide equitable access to all of its residents, New American Economy (NAE) worked with the City of Tulsa and local community organizations to survey Tulsans about their experiences during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Community Impact Survey conducted targeted outreach between February and May of 2021 to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and immigrant communities in Tulsa about the essential needs of their families; the impact of COVID-19 on their wellbeing; and the help they received from local organizations.

New evidence of widespread wage theft in the H-1B visa program

December 9, 2021

Thousands of skilled migrants with H-1B visas working as subcontractors at well-known corporations like Disney, FedEx, Google, and others appear to have been underpaid by at least $95 million. Victims include not only the H-1B workers but also the U.S. workers who are either displaced or whose wages and working conditions degrade when employers are allowed to underpay skilled migrant workers with impunity. The workers in question were employed by HCL Technologies, an India-based IT staffing firm that earned $11 billion in revenue last year. HCL profits by placing workers on temporary H-1B work visas at many top companies. The H-1B statute requires that employers pay their H-1B workers no less than the actual wage paid to their similarly employed U.S. workers. But EPI analysis of an internal HCL document, released as part of a whistleblower lawsuit against the firm, shows that large-scale illegal underpayment of H-1B workers is a core part of the firm's competitive strategy.The Department of Labor should launch a sweeping investigation into whether companies are systematically underpaying H-1B workers in violation of the law. If violations are found, penalties should be imposed that are significant enough to deter all H-1B employers from such behavior. DOL should also close the outsourcing loophole that supports the outsourcing business model by requiring both direct employers like HCL and the secondary employers that use H-1B staffing firms to attest that they will comply with H-1B wage rules. DOL and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should take additional measures to ensure the H-1B program achieves its purpose of filling genuine labor market gaps. Such measures include raising minimum wages to realistic market levels, allocating H-1B visas to workers with the highest skills and wages, and adopting a compliance system that ensures program accountability and integrity. Finally, the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Division, in conjunction with DOL and DHS, should vigorously prosecute visa fraud under the False Claims Act, consistent with a recent federal court decision applying the False Claims Act to H-1B visa fraud.

Policy and Advocacy Report: Volume 5, Issue No.3

December 6, 2021

Volume 5, Issue 3 of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants' series of Policy and Advocacy Reports. This report focuses on how family separation harmed children and families and also provides updates on other U.S. and international migration issues.

Closing the Skills Gap: The Data Behind Talent Shortages, High-Skilled Immigration, and Economic Impact

December 3, 2021

This report examines the severity of the current skills gap that exists in the United States, the impact it is having on our economy, and how increasing high-skilled immigration can help fill talent shortages in communities across the country. This report fundamentally aims to define and contextualize the state and intersection of skilled immigration and the American technology economy, especially as it pertains to skill shortages. These talent deficits, colloquially known as the "skills gap," were quantified in this analysis as the number of unfilled or vacant jobs and qualified as the expressed difficulty of firms to fill positions requiring prior experience, skill, or training. In adherence to these definitions, it is estimated that, in the next decade, the nation could face a shortage of about 765,000 needed workers with the skills that come from an Associate's degree or some college; that figure is raised to 8.62 million for needed workers with a Bachelor's degree or higher. Combined, about 5.6 percent of the estimated 2029 labor force will require a post-secondary degree. These vacancies are characterized by misalignment between the skills supplied by the workforce and those demanded by employers, especially STEM firms. A recent study found that the U.S. faces about a$1.2 trillion loss in economic output by year 2029 if shortages of workers with a post-secondary degree persist.