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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USCRI Backgrounder: Case Management for Unaccompanied Children

October 1, 2021

This USCRI Backgrounder outlines the roles, responsibilities, and challenges of case management within the shelter network for unaccompanied children (UCs) coordinated by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Reunification with a family is the primary goal. The primary tasks of case managers are (1) to establish contact with the child's parent(s) and to identify a potential sponsor; (2) to confirm that the potential sponsor offers a safe and stable home for the child, and that the home will remain safe and stable; and (3) to submit documentation, primarily the Family Reunification Packet, that corroborates that the placement is suitable, and is used by ORR to evaluate and approve the placement.

Legalization Through “Registry”

September 28, 2021

Current immigration law contains a provision called "registry" that allows certain non-citizens who are long-term residents of the United States, but who are either undocumented or present in the country under some sort of temporary immigration status, to "register" for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. In order to qualify, individuals must have entered the country on or before a specified date (known as the "registry date") and must demonstrate good moral character and continuous residence since their entry. After its creation in 1929, Congress advanced the registry date four times, most recently in 1986, when the date was set at January 1, 1972—meaning that only non-citizens who entered the United States by that date are eligible to apply for LPR status through registry. This date is now so far in the past that few individuals are eligible. However, Congress has the power to advance the registry date again at any time, which would potentially allow millions of non-citizens to become LPRs and, ultimately, U.S. citizens.

Ending Mandatory Detention

March 26, 2021

Each year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains over 100,000 immigrants, including people who have lived in the U.S. for decades, parents of U.S. citizens and individuals who come to the country seeking safety. ICE subjects people in detention to dangerous conditions and substandard medical care. Detention facilities are often located in rural, hard to reach areas, inaccessible to families and legal counsel. The unprecedented scale of immigration detention has been driven in large part by private prison companies that capture the lion's share of the over one billion dollars spent every year to lock up immigrants.This policy brief describes the harms and racial injustices that have resulted from U.S. laws requiring the detention of certain categories of individuals based on past involvement in the criminal legal systems, as well as recommendations for steps Congress can take to address these injustices.

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.

Notes from the Storm: Black Immigrant Domestic Workers in the Time of COVID-19

June 16, 2020

The current public health and economic crises in America are racialized, gendered, classed, and citizenship statused. Black immigrant domestic workers are at the epicenter of three converging storms—the pandemic, the resulting economic depression, & structural racism. Intersectional identities such as Black, immigrant, woman, and low-wage worker make these essential workers some of the most invisible and vulnerable workers in our country.

Incarcerated Immigrants in 2016: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin

June 4, 2018

This brief uses American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze incarcerated immigrants according to their citizenship and legal status for 2016. The data show that all immigrants—legal and illegal—are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans relative to their shares of the population.

Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant and Native Use Rates and Benefit Levels for Means-Tested Welfare and Entitlement Programs

May 10, 2018

Overall, immigrants are less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans. This appears contrary to the study conducted by the CIS (Publication 3), but Cato claims its work is more accurate because it examines individuals with immigration status, while CIS measures welfare use by households headed by immigrants (which often contain multiple native-born Americans).

Criminal Immigrants in Texas: Illegal Immigrant Conviction and Arrest Rates for Homicide, Sexual Assault, Larceny, and Other Crimes

February 26, 2018

This brief uses Texas Department of Public Safety data to measure the conviction and arrest rates of illegal immigrants by crime. In Texas in 2015, the criminal conviction and arrest rates for immigrants were well below those of native-born Americans. Moreover, the conviction and arrest rates for illegal immigrants were lower than those for native-born Americans. This result holds for most crimes.

Immigration Court Appearances Rates

February 9, 2018

As Congress and the Trump Administration debate immigration policy reforms, one critical—and often misrepresented—piece of information is the extent to which individuals in immigration removal proceedings comply with their court appearance obligations. Based on available data, it is clear that immigrants appear for their immigration court hearings at high rates, particularly when they have legal representation or case management support, and accurate information related to the court process.

Crossing borders in the next 15 years: How should and will border management develop?

February 1, 2018

Border management is a complex and challenging field, whose aims are as varied as they are vital. In a world where passenger numbers are increasing, large numbers of goods are crossing borders and serious security issues have arisen, border management is tasked with contributing to a high level of security and facilitating legitimate crossborder flows (of both people and goods). In recent years, the large-scale collection of information and the implementation of technology for border management tasks have been key developments aimed at supportingthese goals. At the same time, these developments have elicited challenges from fundamental rights defenders who have outlined the potential ways such information could be misused or lead to detrimental consequences on fundamental rights. Moreover, the impact of forced displacement and the knock-on effects large-scale flows had on the EU (especially on the integrity of the Schengen area) have underlined how such a crisis can reverberate from a border management issue across other policy areas and into the political arena.As such, border management has been and will continue to be a touchstone in a debate on how to equally ensure both security needs and fundamental rights. This policy brief outlines the main issues that have arisen in this debate, and provides a number of potential policy options for future border management strategies. While this brief isbased on information collected in the European context, the findings can be applied at a global scale. 

How Sub-Saharan Africans Contribute to the U.S. Economy

January 12, 2018

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of African immigrants in America more than doubled— rising from roughly 723,000 people to more than 1.7 million.Power of the Purse: How Sub-Saharan Africans Contribute to the U.S. Economy suggests that African immigrants punch well above their weight in many respects. These immigrants naturalize at high rates, they attain higher levels of education than the overall U.S. population as a whole, and are more likely to have earned their degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, field. They also make meaningful contributions to several vital sectors of the economy – including healthcare – where employers have persistent challenges finding enough workers.

Welcome to Work? Legal Migration Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers

January 1, 2018

As states meet to negotiate a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in 2018, they have pledged to consider opportunities to foster safer and better-managed international migration—including by facilitating labor mobility across the skills spectrum. This brief examines the legal migration pathways currently available to low-skilled workers, identifying promising practices as well as policy gaps.