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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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Why the United States Still Needs Foreign-Born Workers

July 25, 2023

Without continued net inflows of immigrants, the U.S. working-age population will shrink over the next two decades and by 2040, the United States will have over 6 million fewer working-age people than in 2022. Announcements of high-profile layoffs and concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) obscure America's continuing need for additional workers at the top and bottom of the skill distribution. International migration is the only potential source of growth in the U.S. working-age population in the coming years.The research involved analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including the Current Population Survey and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Changing the Narrative for Multilingual Learners

July 14, 2023

In 2022, California funders focused on multilingual and early education gathered for a series of learning conversations about how narrative change could positively impact the movement for multilingual education. In the sessions, narrative practitioners, advocates, funders, and evaluators offered these key insights for understanding and supporting narrative change:Narratives, which shape how people see the world and each other, are at the heart of movements for social change.Narrative change is collective work that has more impact when many voices and partners organize themselves around the same narrative.In developing narratives to support multilingual learners, it's essential to engage people with lived experience including students, educators, and families.When partners embrace a unifying narrative, it can align and accelerate work across policy advocacy, organizing, communications, the arts, and other areas.Narrative change is long-term work that requires persistence and multiple strategies to challenge and shift the deep-seated beliefs that uphold injustice.Evaluators have many ways to measure the progress and impact of narrative strategies upon organizations, networks, and in the public dialogue.Funding narrative change requires a different way of thinking than traditional grantmaking focused on discrete projects with short-term outcomes.


AI and Immigrants

June 27, 2023

Immigrants have founded or cofounded nearly two-thirds (65% or 28 of 43) of the top AI companies in the United States, and 70% of full-time graduate students in fields related to artificial intelligence are international students, according to a new National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis. Seventy-seven percent of the leading U.S.-based AI companies were founded or cofounded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Forty-two percent (18 of 43) of the top U.S.-based AI companies had a founder who came to America as an international student.

An Immigration Advocate's Need-to-know for Policy Change: A Conversation with the APA's Katherine B. McGuire

June 27, 2023

This policy brief is based on a conversation with Katherine B. McGuire, chief advocacy officer of the American Psychological Association (APA) and a special guest at the Baker Institute Migration Initiative's "Conversations on Immigration" event on April 25, 2023. McGuire suggested that, instead of losing sight of their goals, immigration reform advocates learn to navigate today's political environment and use opportunities to push for progressive legislation on immigration by engaging with policymakers on both sides of the aisle as well as their constituents. According to McGuire, immigration reform advocates should work toUnderstand the political landscape at both the federal and state levels.Find common ground with members of Congress.Soften resistance at the state level.Educate the American public on the harmful mis- and disinformation about immigrants through storytelling, a powerful tool to prime the political landscape for change — the key objective of advocacy work.

Civic Engagement

ICE’s New Young Adult Case Management Program: Why It Falls Short of Case Management Best Practices and Puts Youth at Risk

June 26, 2023

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched the Young Adult Case Management Program (YACMP) in January 2023 to target and monitor 18- and19-year-old youth who the agency deems "low flight risk" and "non-dangerous." ICE characterizes this program as an "Alternative to Detention," but the program's design makes clear that it will not decrease reliance on detention and instead increase the number of young people under government monitoring. Rather than work collaboratively with youth to match them with support services based on their individual needs, ICE unilaterally and arbitrarily enrolls youth in YACMP if they are facing immigration court proceedings and are not detained, irrespective of their specific needs.This policy brief examines: 1) who are the youth impacted by this new ICE program; 2) what this program entails and how it compares with traditional case management programs; and 3) what we know about the corporation ICE has contracted to run this program. It has recommendations for effective case management for impacted youth.

Building the Welcome Corps, an Alternative Pathway for Refugees: A Conversation with Craig Damian Smith

June 20, 2023

In early 2023, the Joe Biden administration announced a new program allowing for private refugee sponsorship called the Welcome Corps. The administration is calling it the "boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades," as it aims to mobilize at least 10,000 Americans to act as private sponsors to at least 5,000 refugees from around the world in the program's first year.This brief outlines a conversation with Craig Damian Smith, who has worked in the Canadian context of private refugee sponsorship and is the co-founder and executive director of Pairity — a data-driven platform that facilitates global refugee resettlement and community sponsorship and evaluates outcomes around refugee integration and social cohesion within receiving communities. Pairity is currently partnering with the U.S. government and other actors to establish the Welcome Corps.

Recommendations for Serving Unaccompanied and Separated Children at Regional Processing Centers

June 16, 2023

As the United States' leading organization protecting the rights of unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) has advocated for expanded access to lawful migration pathways for children and families so that fewer children face a dangerous journey seeking safety or needlessly become separated from their family along the way. The U.S. government's announcement that new Regional Processing Centers (RPCs) will be created to serve migrants seeking protection is a welcome step forward. Informed by our on-the-ground experience, KIND recommends the following to ensure that Regional Processing Centers, also known as Oficinas de Movilidad Segura, best address the needs of children on the move.


Employment Among Immigrants and Implications for Health and Health Care

June 12, 2023

Immigrants are an integral part of our nation, including our nation's workforce. Immigrants support the U.S. economy and its workforce by filling unmet labor market needs, especially in industries such as construction and agriculture that are at increased risk of adverse health outcomes and injuries, including climate-related health hazards. Through entrepreneurship and establishment of businesses, immigrants also create jobs that generate employment for other U.S. residents, including U.S.-born citizens. However, their employment patterns contribute to them having higher uninsured rates and facing increased health risks relative to their U.S.-born peers. While their employment patterns, in part, reflect lower educational attainment levels and skills among immigrant workers versus U.S.-born workers, research and data suggest that some immigrant workers may be overqualified for their jobs—that is having education or skills beyond what is necessary for their job. Addressing this occupational mismatch could help reduce disparities in health and health care faced by immigrant families and positively benefit the U.S. economy.This brief examines socioeconomic characteristics and employment patterns among immigrant workers and examines how they compare to U.S.-born workers, including differences among college-educated workers. It discusses the implications of these patterns for their health and well-being as well as the nation's economy.

Coordinating Humanitarian Entry in the United States and Mexico: A Bilateral Approach to U.S. Legal Migration

June 1, 2023

Mexico and the United States have stated a joint interest in reducing illegal immigration through Mexico to the U.S.-Mexican border. Both countries are signatories of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, which pledges a coordinated multilateral approach to addressing migration, and Mexico has worked with the United States on its enforcement efforts, accepting returns from the United States. One untapped area of potential coordination is in each nation's authorization for migrants to temporarily enter their countries for humanitarian reasons.Unfortunately, the lack of coordination has meant that many migrants travel through Mexico and congregate in northern Mexico near the U.S.-Mexican border to try to obtain humanitarian entry into the United States. A better approach would be for Mexico to issue cards for visitors for humanitarian reasons at the Guatemalan‐Mexican border, allowing migrants to travel to Mexico City, where they could apply for U.S. parole and fly directly to the United States legally.

More Humane Immigration Policies Will Reduce Migrant Trauma: A Conversation with Dr. Alfonso Mercado

May 25, 2023

Hostile immigration enforcement policies and anti-immigrant actions against refugees and asylum seekers are causing trauma to migrant families and exposing them to dangerous living conditions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. In recent years, stress from the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the negative effects of these policies on the health of migrants.This policy brief outlines a conversation held with Dr. Alfonso Mercado, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. He has conducted extensive clinical work in migrant tent encampments at the U.S.-Mexico border, and on Feb. 28, 2023, he met with migration policy experts and community leaders to discuss the detrimental mental health effects of the ongoing migrant crisis there. The conversation focused on the impact of key policies, such as the use of Title 42 on migrants' mental health and well-being.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

New Migration Management Policies in the Aftermath of Title 42

May 17, 2023

As of mid-2022, an estimated 20 million people were displaced in the Americas. The needs of this massive population are only growing and their migration, safety, and impact on communities in the region is becoming a priority for policymakers, especially in the United States. On April 27, 2023, the U.S. Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated policies on migration management across the Western Hemisphere. These policies will be implemented in coordination with regional partners, including the governments of Mexico, Canada, Spain, Colombia, and Guatemala. They are meant to facilitate safe migration across the region, prevent unauthorized crossings and congestion at the U.S. southern border, and create more pathways for people to legally enter the United States and other countries. However, they also put more restrictions on and disqualify many people from accessing asylum; impose harsh consequences for irregular migration; could make access to legal representation more difficult; and may be challenging to implement due to increased staffing needs and existing case backlogs.This policy brief provides an analysis of these new policies, their pros and cons, and the implications and legal precedent they will set for asylum, complementary pathways, and migration management for the United States and other countries.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

What the Border Looked Like in FY2022

May 4, 2023

The release of fiscal year 2022 border data was again marked by headlines touting a record-breaking year for encounters. In the following issue brief, we delve into the border data further, analyzing the migration patterns and trends that occurred in FY2022, how Title 8 was used at the border in FY2022, how trends at the northern border and at sea changed this fiscal year, and what process changes were implemented at the border.

Litigation/Legal Services; Research & Evaluation