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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What’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border in 7 charts

November 9, 2021

The U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in the 2021 fiscal year, more than quadruple the number of the prior fiscal year and the highest annual total on record.This report provides a closer look at the shifting dynamics at the southwest border, based on recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP statistics. Most of these statistics refer to federal fiscal years, which run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, as opposed to calendar years. It's also important to note that encounters refer to events, not people, and that some migrants are encountered more than once.

Connecting the Dots: Emerging Migration Trends and Policy Questions in North and Central America

March 7, 2018

North America and the Central American countries of the Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—represent one of the world's most dynamic migration corridors, with millions traveling from, through, or to these countries in recent decades. The United States has the world's largest immigrant population; Canada has one of the highest immigration rates per capita; and Mexico and Central America have significant shares of their nationals abroad, primarily in the United States. However, policies and public perceptions around immigration, especially in the United States, are not keeping up with emerging shifts in the region's migration.

Limiting the National Right to Exclude

February 21, 2018

This essay argues that the robust right to exclude that nation states currently enjoy will be harder to justify in an era of climate change. Similar to landowners, nation states have virtual monopolies over portions of the earth. However, the right of landowners to control who enters their land is considerably more constrained than the right of nation states to control who enters their territory. Climate change will alter the areas of the earth suitable for human habitation and the broad right of nation states to exclude will be more difficult to justify in this new environment.

Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Trends and Contributions

November 1, 2017

This article analyzes recent U.S. data to examine how immigrants during the last 15 years have contributed to entrepreneurship through self-employment and earnings. It aims to address the questions of how do immigrants contribute to recent U.S. self-employment trends, in what industries are immigrant entrepreneurs concentrated, and how do their earnings compare to those of U.S.-born entrepreneurs?

Immigrant Health-Care Workers in the United States

June 28, 2017

Despite making up only 13 percent of the total U.S. population, immigrants represent a vital portion of the growing health-care industry comprising 17 percent, or 2.1 million, of the 12.4 million medical professionals in the United States. This report uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide a demographic and socioeconomic overview of immigrants working in health-care occupations with particular attention to their proficiency in English, educational background, nationality, gender, and access to health insurance. The paper finds that three-quarters of immigrants in the field display a high level of English proficiency. Moreover, foreign-born medical professionals are more likely to possess a bachelor's degree compared to the U.S.-born in the same field. There are also a disproportionately high number of foreign-born medical professionals in both high- and low-skilled positions: 28 percent of physicians and surgeons and 24 percent of nurses and home health aides are foreign-born. The report suggests that there is a growing need for foreign-born professionals in the health-care workforce, which is projected to add 2.3 million jobs between 2014 and 2024. However, numerous obstacles exist for foreign-born doctors and others to obtain permanent resident status, as the U.S. immigration system does not prioritize the admission of immigrant health-care professionals. 

Foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States

June 14, 2017

Foreign-born workers in the United States represent a growing share of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in all occupational categories. This fact sheet from the American Immigration Council analyzes data from the American Community Survey to give an overview of the occupational, gender, educational and geographic distribution of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States. It offers a side-by-side comparison of two sets of STEM occupations based on two different STEM definitions. The total number of STEM workers in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1990, with one-fifth to one-quarter of the STEM workforce being foreign-born in 2015. Foreign-born STEM workers have made significant contributions to innovation and productivity, e.g. 25 percent of high-tech companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder. The foreign-born also dominate among those with advanced degrees -- immigrants make up the majority of STEM workers with doctoral degrees. With STEM occupations projected to grow 13 percent to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. will need about one million more STEM professionals than it will produce over the next decade. The authors suggest that, though increasing U.S.-born STEM workers is essential, foreign-born STEM workers, who tend to be slightly younger than the overall STEM workforce, may still be required in the U.S. to meet future labor needs.

Immigration and the War on Crime: Law and Order Politics and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

January 1, 2017

This study focuses on events leading up to the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 that recast undocumented immigration as a crime and fused immigration enforcement with crime control. The author suggests that the act may have had less to do with immigration and more to do with "crime politics and the policies of mass incarceration" that dominated the national discourse in the 25 years preceding passage of the act. Ronald Reagan's Drug War tripled the prison population and pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans into already overcrowded prisons. Overcrowded prisons and detention centers prompted legislators to introduce measures to deport "alien felons" in order to free up beds. Such measures were championed by leaders in both parties, who seemed to vie with each other to appear "tough on crime."  The rhetoric of immigrant overcrowding in jails spread to other arenas, as undocumented immigrants were accused of "crowding" schools, hospitals, and labor markets. The "rhetoric of overcrowding garnered support for punitive federal and state-level anti-immigration laws, while masking the crime politics from which such measures emerged."  The author believes that her findings "warrant rethinking IIRIRA's criminal provisions - from criminal enforcement priorities to fast-track deportations to mandatory detention and immigrant incarceration and federal appropriations - that have legitimized branding entire groups of people as criminal so as to exclude them"

What We Need to Know About Immigrant Access To Justice

October 24, 2016

We have learned much in recent years about the inadequacy of access to justice for immigrants. We now understand quite well the ever-increasing need for good lawyering on behalf of immigrants in removal proceedings. Thanks to the hard work of many commentators, we stand ready with eloquent arguments that immigrants, especially those most vulnerable, should be represented during removal proceedings. In the absence of universal representation, commentators have studied the patchwork solutions that have emerged to meet some immigrants' needs. Nonetheless, important questions remain about what is and what is not working. This article summarizes some recent contributions to this body of knowledge and charts a path forward.

The Immigration Advocates Network: An Online Collaboration led by Pro Bono Net Provides Immigration - Related Resources

January 8, 2010

This is the story of how coalitions of organizations with a shared goal can collaborate online to provide learning and information resources that alone, they might never be able to offer. Pro Bono Net's Immigration Advocates Network, profiled here, is still a work in progress but one with quantifiable results in the present and great promise for the future.

Advocacy; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Litigation/Legal Services

How Ten Stories About Immigrant Leaders Can Move a Community

October 6, 2008

This article discusses the Partnership between GCIR, the Endowment for Health, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. These three agencies worked together to compile profiles of immigrant and refugee leaders. These profiles were mailed to 3,500 board members, donors, and perspective donors. The results of the distribution of this information are examined.

Communications & Media; Refugees & Asylum Seekers; Staff & Leadership Development

Immigration: The Reform Movement Rebuilds

October 1, 2008

Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform have tried unsuccessfully since 2006 to get an immigration bill passed, first by the 109th and then by the 110th Congress. Now these advocates are using the sometimes painful lessons learned from their legislative battles to build alliances on a local and a national level and to bring together disparate voices. Seeking to overcome the hurdles involved in merging hundreds of organizations, several leading groups, including those who are cited in this article, have been working to develop a re-energized and re-focused structure that consists of "four pillars," which center around:a more effective policy approachmore effective work in the mediaa stronger grassroots effort better linked to the nationwide effortsuccessful efforts to promote citizenship and encourage civic participation

Advocacy; Civic Engagement; Coalition Building & Collaboration

Kurdish Lyrical Protest: The Terrain of Acoustic Migration

January 1, 2006

The exiled Kurdish singer and composer Muhamed Abbas Bahram is introduced in our performative ethnographic documentary film, titled Silent Song