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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Latinx and Asian Immigrants Have Negative Perceptions of the Immigrant Experience in California

November 8, 2021

Evidence indicates that there are disparities in immigrants' access to health care and health status compared to U.S.-born residents, in part due to immigration policies that determine access to public benefits or shape lives. This fact sheet examines data from the Research on Immigrant Health and State Policy Study (RIGHTS) on the perceptions of Latinx and Asian immigrants in California. RIGHTS is a follow-up survey of the 2018 and 2019 California Health Interview Surveys (CHIS). Respondents reported their perceptions of immigrants' experiences at the workplace, accessing health care, encountering law or immigration enforcement, and using public benefits.

Latinx and Asian Immigrants Across California Regions have Different Experiences with Law and Immigration Enforcement

November 8, 2021

Latinx and Asian immigrants, California's two largest immigrant groups, face barriers to health care and experience worse health outcomes compared to U.S.-born Californians. This is in part due in part to restrictive immigration policies that permit local law enforcement (e.g., police, sheriffs) to collaborate with immigration enforcement authorities in the surveillance, policing, and deportation of noncitizens.Authors used data from the Research on Immigrant Health and State Policy Study (RIGHTS) to examine Latinx and Asian immigrants' experiences with local law and federal immigration enforcement policies and practices in three California regions, Bay Area (n=305), Los Angeles and Southern California (n=989), and the San Joaquin Valley (n=141). The survey is a follow-up to the 2018 and 2019 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Respondents were asked if they had ever experienced any of six different encounters with surveillance, policing, or deportation by law enforcement, including local police, sheriffs, or immigration enforcement authorities.

Three in 10 Adults in California Immigrant Families with Low Incomes Avoided Safety Net Programs in 2020

July 29, 2021

Many immigrant families have avoided safety net and pandemic relief programs in recent years over concerns that their participation would have adverse immigration consequences. These chilling effects on program participation occurred in the context of a restrictive immigration policy environment under the Trump administration, including the expansion of the "public charge" rule. Though the Biden administration has reverted to prior guidance on the public charge rule and reversed many other immigration policy changes, chilling effects may continue to deter adults in immigrant families from seeking safety net supports for which they or their children are eligible.This study draws on Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey data collected in December 2020 and interviews conducted with adults in immigrant families and people who work at organizations that connect immigrant families to health, nutrition, and other support programs in California. The interviews were conducted between March and May 2021, in the early months of the Biden administration, offering unique insights as policy priorities were shifting.

Health Coverage and Care for Undocumented Immigrants: An Update

June 23, 2021

California policymakers continue to weigh strategies for making health insurance universal and health care accessible to all—including for undocumented immigrant residents. The state expanded Medi-Cal to undocumented children and young adults using mostly state funds, and budget negotiations are underway to expand coverage to older undocumented adults. While coverage for all undocumented immigrants has been on the legislative agenda for several years, COVID-19 has underscored how gaps in health insurance coverage for immigrants, fear and avoidance of health care systems, and lack of access to vaccines can have consequences for entire communities.This report updates PPIC's past work on health care and insurance coverage for undocumented immigrants, from presenting updated uninsured rates among immigrant groups to unpacking systematic differences in health care access by documentation status. We also examine aspects of how children in mixed-status families—where at least one member is undocumented—engage with the health care system. 

Asian Immigrant Experiences with Racism, Immigration-Related Fears, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 18, 2021

Asian immigrants have faced multiple challenges in the past year. There has been a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, driven, in part, by inflammatory rhetoric related to the coronavirus pandemic, which has spurred the federal government to make a recent statement condemning and denouncing acts of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian American communities and to enact the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. At the same time, immigrants living in the U.S. have experienced a range of increased health and financial risks associated with COVID-19. These risks and barriers may have been compounded by immigration policy changes made by the Trump administration that increased fears among immigrant families and made some more reluctant to access programs and services, including health coverage and health care. Although the Biden administration has since reversed many of these policies, they may continue to have lingering effects among families.Limited data are available to understand how immigrants have been affected by the pandemic, and there are particularly little data available to understand the experiences of Asian immigrants even though they are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the U.S. and are projected to become the nation's largest immigrant group over the next 35 years. To help fill these gaps in information, this analysis provides insight into recent experiences with racism and discrimination, immigration-related fears, and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among Asian immigrant patients at four community health centers.The findings are based on a KFF survey with a convenience sample of 1,086 Asian American patients at four community health centers. Respondents were largely low-income and 80% were born outside the United States. The survey was conducted between February 15 and April 12, 2021. 

Immigrants in California

March 24, 2021

A fact sheet that provides a brief overview of the state of immigrants in and immigration to California as of March, 2021, examining factors such as immigration status, education, language skills, and the overall rate of immigration to the state. 

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 the California Immigrant Policy Center (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.

Food Over Fear: Overcoming Barriers to Connect Latinx Immigrant Families to Federal Nutrition and Food Programs

December 1, 2020

This report sheds light on why many immigrant families are forgoing vital assistance from federal nutrition and food programs and lifts up recommendations aimed at ensuring that all families and individuals, regardless of immigration status, are nourished and healthy.While the findings of this report are informed by a series of focus groups conducted from November 2019 to January 2020 (prior to the onset of COVID-19), the need to connect immigrant families to nutrition programs is arguably of even greater importance given how COVID-19 is fueling unprecedented food insecurity and ravaging communities of color and immigrant communities at disproportionately high rates due to unique barriers faced by families that include noncitizens.

Delivering on the Dream: Protecting Immigrant Rights and Fostering a Culture of Inclusion

July 1, 2020

California has been at the forefront of this surge with the public, private, and philanthropic community taking a firm stance against anti-immigrant policies and divisive rhetoric. The James Irvine Foundation is one of several California foundations that has stepped up its support to protect immigrant rights, joining forces with other partners across the state to bolster collective and mutually reinforcing efforts. As part of its grantmaking to a range of nonprofit partners, The Foundation seeks to ensure that everyone of California's low-income workers – many of whom are immigrants – have the power to advance economically.To better understand the effect of rapid response grantmaking and the current landscape for immigrant integration in California, The Irvine Foundation partnered with Engage R+D on this practice brief to explore the various ways California foundations are contributing to a pro-immigrant movement. It is based on a developmental evaluation of The Irvine Foundation's Protecting Immigrant Rights (PIR) efforts and interviews with 12 foundations and immigrant rights organizations. It seeks to provide actionable insights for funders and immigrant-serving organizations as they pivot from crisis-response to more proactive and longer-term strategy for immigrant integration.

Immigrants, the Economy and Civic Engagement

May 1, 2017

Immigrants are a critical part of the economy in California, which is home to over 10 million foreign-born residents who contribute $715 billion — about one third — of its gross domestic product each year. These individuals comprise 35 percent of the state's civilian workforce. Their entrepreneurialism and innovative efforts are a driving force from Silicon Valley to the Central Valley and beyond. Immigrants work in enterprises that span Fortune 500 companies and small Main Street businesses revitalizing downtown corridors throughout the state.

Bridging the Cultural Gap

February 10, 2015

As part of a proactive effort to address the cross-cultural barriers that arise in culturally and ethnically diverse communities, in 2009 Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) developed a grant program called Bridging the Cultural Gap. With a focus on using cultural tactics to move hearts and minds in support of immigrant integration, the program was focused expressly on supporting projects that allowed for Silicon Valley residents to come together to discuss shared values and concerns related to immigration. Between 2009 and 2014, SVCF invested $2.4 million in 12 projects that used cultural tactics such as dialogue, film, photography and storytelling to deepen relationships and cross-cultural understanding throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Over the course of five years, these grantees, with support from SVCF, focused their activities on identifying and cementing shared values between immigrants and receiving communities, as well as building relationships within and across various communities in the region.

Capacity Building; Communications & Media; Community-Based Outreach & Activity

Lessons From the Local Level: DACA's Implementation and Impact on Education and Training Success

January 5, 2015

This report examines the ways in which local educational institutions, legal service providers, and immigrant youth advocates have responded to the first phase of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Based on extensive interviews with stakeholders in seven states -- California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Texas -- the report identifies initiatives undertaken by educational institutions and other community stakeholders to support DACA youth's education and training success, and examine the impact of deferred action on grantees' academic and career pursuits. It provides examples of promising practices, additional challenges, and key takeaways at the high school, postsecondary, and adult education levels, as well as an exploration of the nature and scope of DACA legal outreach initiatives.

Children; Community-Based Outreach & Activity; Research & Evaluation