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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The Impact of COVID-19 on Noncitizens and Across the U.S. Immigration System

September 30, 2020

The COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) pandemic, and the related federal response, disrupted virtually every aspect of the U.S. immigration system. Visa processing overseas by the Department of State, as well as the processing of some immigration benefits within the country by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), have come to a near standstill. Entry into the United States along the Mexican and Canadian borders—including by asylum seekers and unaccompanied children—has been severely restricted. Immigration enforcement actions in the interior of the country have been curtailed, although they have not stopped entirely. Tens of thousands of people remain in immigration detention despite the high risk of COVID-19 transmission in crowded jails, prisons, and detention centers that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses to hold noncitizens. The pandemic led to the suspension of many immigration court hearings and limited the functioning of the few courts which remain open or were reopened. Meanwhile, Congress left millions of immigrants and their families out of legislative relief, leaving many people struggling to stay afloat in a time of economic uncertainty.This report seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of the impact of COVID-19 across the immigration system in the United States. Given that the landscape of immigration policy is changing rapidly in the face of the pandemic, this report will be updated as needed.

Advocacy

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers (2017)

September 27, 2017

A continually growing population of illegal aliens, along with the federal government's ineffective efforts to secure our borders, present significant national security and public safety threats to the United States. They also have a severely negative impact on the nation's taxpayers at the local, state, and national levels. Illegal immigration costs Americans billions of dollars each year. Illegal aliens are net consumers of taxpayer-funded services and the limited taxes paid by some segments of the illegal alien population are, in no way, significant enough to offset the growing financial burdens imposed on U.S. taxpayers by massive numbers of uninvited guests. This study examines the fiscal impact of illegal aliens as reflected in both federal and state budgets.

Advocacy

The Elephant in the Classroom: Mass Immigration's Impact on Public Education

September 8, 2016

This report attempts to estimate the costs of the public education of undocumented immigrants to state and federal education systems, based on data from 2015 and 2016.

Advocacy

Transforming Lives, Transforming Movement Building: Lessons from the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy - Organizing - Leadership (SOL) Initiative

December 18, 2014

Today's millions of domestic workers in the U.S. play a critical role in our society, whether caring for our children, providing home health care for our elderly, or keeping our homes clean for our families. With the demographic growth of the elderly and disabled, domestic workers will only become more essential to our society. Yet, despite the importance and intimacy of their work to those who hire them, domestic workers have been largely invisible to society, undervalued in the labor market, and excluded from basic workplace standards and protections. We begin the report by describing the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy -- Organizing -- Leadership (SOL) Initiative program -- its design and the participants -- and the key questions posed for this assessment. We then define the core concepts and framework that underlie the curriculum. The second half of the report is devoted to lifting up a new set of metrics for capturing indicators of transformational leadership. Based on the findings, we discuss valuable lessons for the program and conclude with implications for movement building. This analysis is based on a review of the literature on domestic worker organizing and on intersectionality; on quantitative and qualitative data we collected through surveys, small group discussions, interviews, and observations; and on documents related to SOL provided by National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Using a mixed-method approach, we coded all the data and culled the results for common themes. Perhaps more important to note, the analysis in this report is the result of an iterative, co-creative process between USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), NDWA, Social Justice Leadership (SJL), and generative somatics (gs) -- the sort of process we have called for when recommending a new model of assessment. We thus offer this report as a collective effort in a learning process about a dynamic and evolving model of transformative leadership development, transformative organizing, and transformative movement building.

Advocacy; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Domestic Workers; Staff & Leadership Development; Women

The Role of Philanthropy in the U.S. Immigrant Rights Movement

December 1, 2014

As the Ford Foundation marks 25 years of involvement on U.S. immigration issues, it is a good time to take stock of what has occurred and to examine more closely philanthropy's role in supporting the growth of a national immigrant rights movement. There are many reasons for the field's rapid growth, including extraordinary leadership by those who have headed the movement. But the support of numerous foundations and other donors has played a vital part in fueling the field's expansion. Contributions have come from all parts of the philanthropic community. Smaller foundations, for example, have played a significant role in strengthening the capacity of regional and local immigrant-serving organizations that are backbone of the movement.To help tell the story of philanthropy's contribution to the development of an immigrant rights field in United States, the Ford Foundation commissioned journalist Louis Freedberg, with assistance from Ted Wang, to write this report. It describes how Ford initially entered the field, the challenges the Foundation and its grantees faced in the early years, how funders have worked together to support an emerging but vibrant movement, and the lessons learned to help inform future efforts to support the field. The authors' observations are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Ford Foundation. They point out that the power of philanthropic grantmaking in this area has come from a combination of factors: committed long-term funders who have supported this field for many years; a willingness to fund a wide range of organizations that provide complementary activities; flexibility to adjust grantmaking to changing conditions; and an openness among funders to collaborate with each other and as well as with grantees to achieve a shared vision.

Advocacy; Field Building

Evaluation of a Pilot Project to Advance Pro-Immigrant Advocacy for Center for New Community, National Immigration Law Center, Progressive States Action

March 31, 2014

Since the four pillars were articulated in 2007, the immigrant rights movement has expanded in a number of significant ways. It has built stronger partnerships, both with other progressive groups, and with moderate and conservative allies. It has taken on a more state-level focus, as the continued failure to achieve comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level has led to a proliferation of state-level laws and initiatives. And new voices and leaders have emerged within the movement, most notably the "DREAMers," young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who would benefit from the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship and other benefits for those in their specific situation.The net result of these changes has been a movement that is more adaptable, more localized, and more diverse -- but not necessarily more effective, when judged by the national-level metric of achieving comprehensive immigration reform. And it is debatable to what extent advances at the state level have been the result of state-level, ground-up organizing vs. coordinated action from national organizations.The pilot project that is the subject of this evaluation gets at these very issues. It addresses the possibility of pro-immigrant advocacy at the state level, and tests a model of national-local collaboration to advance this goal.

Advocacy; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Research & Evaluation

Evaluation of EPIM III: Emerging Insights From the Evaluation So Far

January 1, 2014

This report sets out some emerging insights from the ongoing evaluation of the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) 2012-2015 programme. The activities of EPIM and this evaluation lie at the very heart of EPIM's efforts to strengthen the capacity of NGOs active in migration and integration issues, to engage with and influence decision-making at EU and Member state levels, and to do so by drawing on a rigorous evidence base, and through a pragmatic approach. Founded in 2005 as an activity of the Network of European Foundations (NEF) in a unique effort to fund European migration and integration organisations, EPIM's activities include strategic grant-making as well as networking, capacity-building, supporting advocacy and policy work. The Programme has now disbursed over €3m to more than 24 grantee organisations. Drawing on experience and learning from previous phases, EPIM's current three core areas of focus are asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, and equality, integration and social inclusion of vulnerable migrants. Recognising the importance of the role played by civil society, one of EPIM's key goals is to strengthen the advocacy capacities of NGOs at the European level. This goal reflects the fact that over the past decade the EU has become an important actor in the field of immigration and asylum, as well as that the majority of countries face some challenges in this area.

Advocacy; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Communications & Media; Litigation/Legal Services

Daring Voices

October 22, 2013

This evaluation analyses the outcomes and impact of The One Foundation's investments in NGOs working in the Irish policy context to advance the following advocacy goals: i) make children's rights real; ii) make immigrant rights real; iii) build political will on mental health in Ireland. In a ten-year timeframe, 2004-13, The One Foundation (OF) invested €75 million, of which approximately €15 million (20%) supported direct advocacy work. The report draws on meetings with OF Team and Advisory Board members, interviews with grantees and 'bellwethers' (key informants with insights into the policy change process), and desk research (OF and grantee records). The evaluation uses a case study approach and a common framework of analysis to assess effectiveness in the three policy areas with a focus on how the work contributed to incremental wins towards achievement of ultimate advocacy goals.

Advocacy; Children; Research & Evaluation

Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States: Immigrants' Access to Driver's Licenses, Higher Education, Workers' Rights, and Community Policing

October 1, 2013

As Congress debated federal immigration reform this year, states led the way by adopting policies designed to integrate immigrants more fully in their communities. In the wake of the 2012 elections, with Latino and Asian voters participating in record numbers,1 the 2013 state legislative sessions witnessed a significant increase in pro-immigrant activity. Issues that had been dormant or had moved in a restrictive direction for years, such as expanding access to driver's licenses, gained considerable traction, along with measures improving access to education and workers' rights for immigrants.This report summarizes the activity on immigrant issues that took place during the states' 2013 legislative sessions, as well as efforts to improve access to services for immigrant youth.

Advocacy; Children; Civic Engagement

Profiles in Advocacy: How FIRM Has Moved Legislators on Immigration Reform

July 1, 2013

This report presents a series of case studies in moving legislators on immigration reform, including lessons learned on:Moving a legislator in a district with changing demographics;Converting a Senator from supporter to champion;Organizing a statewide framework to move conservatives;Moving and engaging first term legislators;Cultivating potential champions in the House;Cultivating Republican leadership.

Advocacy; Civic Engagement

Making Immigrant Rights Real

June 17, 2013

This is an overview of Ireland's changed migration landscape, followed by a description of The One Foundation's (OF) thinking on measures to effect change in response to a growing immigrant population, and the investments made to achieve its goal -- to make immigrant rights real in Ireland. A case study of an investment in the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) follows to provide a deeper understanding of some advocacy approaches taken, their impact, and lessons learned.

Advocacy; Research & Evaluation

Defending Activists at Risk: Protecting Human Rights Defenders from Threats and Violence

April 11, 2013

This paper seeks to identify protection and security strategies that can be utilized to support human rights defenders. With the intention of making this paper useful to both human rights practitioners and grantmakers, we discuss important legislation, highlight case studies and conclude with a series of best practices drawn from our experience and the recommendations of experts in the field. We hope this work stimulates needed dialogue, enhancing the safety of human rights defenders and making them more effective in their tireless efforts on behalf of others.

Advocacy; Field Building