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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A Blueprint for the Nation: Building Immigrant Power from California to New York

February 24, 2021

The last four years have challenged immigrant communities to build their resiliency and advance despite sustained and consistent attacks on communities' dignity and humanity. One important lesson we have learned as advocates, organizers and litigators is that even with a change in the White House, immigrant communities cannot count on the federal government to ensure all of the conditions necessary for a just future.The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and theĀ California Immigrant Policy CenterĀ (CIPC), long-time legislative, advocacy and organizing leaders in our respective states, came together to celebrate what our states have done but to also chart a different way forward—one that centers the humanity and dignity of immigrants. This Blueprint serves as a call to action to ask states, allies and funders to work with us and our partners to invest in organizing, building power and leadership to ensure policy wins in every state across the country, not just California and New York.

Tearing Down the Second Wall: Ending USCIS's Backlog of Citizenship Applications and Expanding Access to Naturalization for Immigrants (Third Addendum to Second Wall Report)

July 2, 2018

In the last year, over 925,000 people applied for citizenship in the United States. For many, this was years after coming to this country in search of a better life, becoming an integral part of communities across the nation, learning English, working hard, and contributing to their families and the economy. The right to naturalize is a right as old as the nation itself and was envisioned by its founders, created by the Constitution, and codified by federal law. It has also long contributed to the diversity, richness, and strength of the nation. Unfortunately, since the Trump administration took control of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency that processes citizenship applications, the backlog of pending naturalization applications has skyrocketed to 729,400, with processing rates reaching as high as 20 months. The newest data from USCIS represents an 87.59% increase above the backlog of 388,832 applications, on December 31, 2015, during the administration of President Obama. This backlog serves as a "second wall" that prevents eligible lawful permanent residents from becoming citizens and voters. NPNA is demanding that USCIS takes aggressive steps to reduce the backlog of citizenship applications and reduce the waiting time for applicants down to six months.

Immigrants Assimilate into the Political Mainstream

January 19, 2017

This report separates immigrant political and policy opinions by citizenship status. Noncitizen immigrants cannot vote but their political opinions are mostly similar to those of natives. However, naturalized citizen-immigrants who can vote have political opinions even closer to those of natives and are near-fully assimilated into the political mainstream.

Program Update: New York City, Conclusion of the Civic and Political Participation of Immigrant Communities Portfolio

January 5, 2015

From 2010 to 2014, the Fund made 44 grants totaling $3.4 million in the New York City democratic practice portfolio. Over the last five years, the Fund has supported immigration forums, new partnerships and collaborations, academic research, new tools for dissemination of best practices, innovative citizenship outreach models, and new leadership that have helped establish a positive perspective on the many contributions New York's immigrant communities make to its economy and civic dynamism.

Capacity Building; Civic Engagement; Coalition Building & Collaboration

Opening Doors to Citizenship (Summary)

August 12, 2014

The New Americans Campaign (the Campaign) was formed in 2011 by a group of funders and national partners, including the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), to increase the number of eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who apply to become United States citizens. The Campaign, led by the ILRC, draws together a national network of legal service providers, communityand faith-based organizations, foundations and other allies in the public and private sectors. In 2012, the Campaign commissioned Harder+Company Community Research to evaluate whether and how the original eight Campaign sites had increased naturalization rates. The evaluation found that the campaign efforts at these sites had produced increased numbers of completed applications, in large part because of beneficial collaboration, use of innovative approaches, and dynamic learning and support between national and local work.

Coalition Building & Collaboration; Litigation/Legal Services; Research & Evaluation

Immigration's Impact on Republican Political Prospects, 1980 to 2012

April 15, 2014

This Backgrounder examines the partisan political implications of large-scale immigration. A comparison of voting patterns in presidential elections across counties over the last three decades shows that mass immigration has caused a steady drop in presidential Republican vote shares, particularly in the nation's largest counties. Each one percentage-point increase in the immigrant share of a large county's population reduces the Republican share of the two-party vote by nearly 0.6 percentage points on average.

Research & Evaluation

Using Experiments to Improve Progressive Hispanic Voter Registration

July 1, 2010

This was an ambitious project. By bringing together leading organizations from different areas of the progressive movement, The Atlantic Philanthropies sought to address a gaping need for progressives: how can we be more effective at progressive Hispanic voter registration? With over 12 randomized controlled experiments, across different modes of voter registration, this research project has yielded several useful results, and quite a few unexpected ones. Many of these results involved collaborations between the groups involved in this project: Campaign for Community Change, Democracia Ahora, Rock The Vote Action Fund, and Women's Voices. Women Vote Action Fund. This spirit of cooperation was critical to the success of this project, as each group contributed its own unique strengths and expertise to the broad portfolio of projects.

Civic Engagement; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Research & Evaluation

Investing in Change: Why Supporting Advocacy Makes Sense for Foundations

May 16, 2008

Given the growing interest in funding advocacy, this brief report, which focuses in large part but not exclusively on U.S. grantmaking, provides:An overview of why funders should consider investing in advocacyExamples of successful, foundation-funded advocacy effortsKey questions for individual philanthropists and foundation staff to consider before committing to funding advocacy.

Advocacy; Capacity Building; Civic Engagement; Communications & Media; Litigation/Legal Services; Research & Evaluation

Four Freedoms Fund: A Pioneering Foundation Partnership Advocates for Immigrants

January 3, 2008

Reviews the development and achievements of a collaborative to leverage funding, share ideas and lessons learned, and forge strategies for engaging immigrants and refugees in civic life by supporting grassroots advocacy groups across twenty-eight states.

Advocacy; Refugees & Asylum Seekers