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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Immigration: A Demographic Lifeline in Midwetern Metros

March 23, 2017

This report focuses how immigrants have helped offset native-born population loss and revitalized an aging workforce by examining 46 Midwestern metro areas as a refresh of a similar study published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014. Metro areas are a useful barometer by which to measure the impact of immigration because the economies of central cities and their suburbs are tightly connected and because large immigrant communities are found in both central cities and suburbs of metro areas. Also, the extent to which immigration matters to metro-area economies heightens the importance of immigration as an issue and raises the stakes for immigration reform.

Benchmarks of Immigration Civic Engagement

July 1, 2010

Immigrant civic engagement is an increasingly critical issue for the United States. Immigrant civic engagement may take various forms, but naturalization, voting registration and voter turnout are key measures or benchmarks. This report examines immigrant civic participation in terms of immigrants' current engagement, the capacity of states to provide naturalization and voting registration, and the impact that immigrants are having on the adult citizen population in the U.S.

Capacity Building; Civic Engagement

Economic Progress via Legalization: Lessons from the Last Legalization Program

November 5, 2009

The data analyzed in IPC's latest Special Report, Economic Progress via Legalization, indicates that unauthorized immigrants who gained legal status in the 1980s through the legalization provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) experienced clear improvement in their socioeconomic situation. Between 1990 and 2006, the educational attainment of IRCA immigrants increased substantially, their poverty rates fell dramatically, and their home ownership rates improved tremendously. Moreover, their real wages rose, many of them moved into managerial positions, and the vast majority did not depend upon public assistance. The findings presented in this report support the notion that legalization of unauthorized immigrants can play a role in promoting economic growth and lessening socioeconomic disparities. Reforming our immigration system is not an obstacle to getting our economy back on track.

The New American Electorate: The Growing Political Power of Immigrants and Their Children

October 1, 2008

At a time when federal, state, and local elections are often decided by small voting margins -- with candidates frequently locked in ferocious competition for the ballots of those "voting blocs" that might turn the electoral tide in their favor -- one large and growing bloc of voters has been consistently overlooked and politically underestimated: New Americans. This group of voters and potential voters includes not only immigrants who have become U.S. citizens (Naturalized Americans), but also the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965 (the Post-1965 Children of Immigrants). These immigrants and their children have a powerful and highly personal connection to the modern immigrant experience that most other Americans do not. It's one thing to hear family stories about a grandfather or great-grandfather coming to the United States during the much-romanticized "Ellis Island" era of immigration from Europe that ended decades ago. It's quite another to belong to a family that is experiencing first-hand the political and economic realities of immigration today. The ranks of registered voters who are New Americans, or Latino or Asian, have been growing rapidly this decade and are likely to play an increasingly pivotal role in elections at all levels in the years to come, particularly in battleground states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. As recent public opinion polls reveal, anti-immigrant political rhetoric is likely to motivate many New Americans to cast ballots in November, but is unlikely to win many votes for candidates perceived as anti-immigrant.

Out of Sync: New Temporary Worker Proposals Unlikely to Meet U.S. Labor Needs

June 7, 2007

A key component of the immigration reform bill now being debated in Congress is a new temporary worker program that, ostensibly, would replace the current stream of undocumented migration with a regulated flow of less-skilled immigrant workers. However, growing long-term labor shortages in key industries dependent on less-skilled labor require the recruitment and training of permanent entry-level workers, both native-born and foreign-born, to fill a wide range of occupations. Yet the larger immigration reform bill provides for only a small increase in the overall level of permanent immigration, and the vast majority of this increase is not geared to the growing demand for less-skilled labor. In addition, the temporary worker provisions of the legislation, as they now stand, do not provide a path to permanent residence for any new temporary workers, and set a cap on the admission of temporary workers that falls well below current labor demand. As a result, neither industry nor workers have incentives to invest in each other to maximize the economic benefits of a temporary worker program. An alternative program that allows workers to apply for permanent status would better address industry's need for a larger and more settled less-skilled workforce and would more likely discourage undocumented immigration in the future.

Undocumented Immigration by Congressional Districts

October 1, 2006

In this IPC Policy Brief, author Rob Paral uses new census data to update his earlier IPC report (Playing Politics on Immigration: Congress Favors Image over Substance in Passing H.R. 4437) on the number of undocumented immigrants in U.S. congressional districts.

The Growth and Reach of Immigration: New Census Bureau Data Underscore Importance of Immigrants

August 1, 2006

New data from the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), released by the Census Bureau on August 15, 2006, underscore the extent to which immigration continues to fuel the expansion of the U.S. labor force.

Playing Politics on Immigration: Congress Favors Image over Substance in Passing H.R. 4437

February 1, 2006

Congressional representatives who supported H.R. 4437 -- the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 -- are most likely to represent districts with relatively few undocumented immigrants.

Economic Growth & Immigration: Bridging the Demographic Divide

November 2, 2005

This report examines the relationship between immigration and sustained U.S. economic growth. As the U.S. labor force ages and becomes better educated, the economy is continuing to create a substantial number of jobs for individuals with low levels of formal education and that favor younger workers. These trends are creating a critical demographic gap between U.S. labor supply and demand that immigration can help fill.

A Lifeline to Renewal: The Demographic Impact of Immigration at State and Local Levels

August 1, 2005

Immigrant numbers should be taken in the context of native population growth or decline to better understand the impact of immigration.

No Way In: U.S. Immigration Policy Leaves Few Legal Options for Mexican Workers

July 1, 2005

Current immigration policies are completely out of sync with the U.S. economy as demand for workers who fill less-skilled jobs, especially in the case of Mexican workers. While U.S. immigration policies present a wide array of avenues for immigrants to enter the United States, very few of these avenues are tailored to workers in less-skilled occupations. It should come as no surprise, then, that immigrants come to or remain in the United States without proper documentation in response to the strong economic demand for less-skilled labor.

Ties that Bind: Immigration Reform Should be Tailored to Families, Not Just Individuals

May 2, 2005

Given the extent to which undocumented immigrants already living in the United States are part of U.S.-based families, comprehensive immigration reform must include more than just a new temporary worker program.