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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Cultivating Contact: A Guide to Building Bridges and Meaningful Connections Between Groups

September 27, 2022

The United States is in the process of reckoning with many forms of social division, but it is also facing a moment of immense possibility. With deepening divides occurring and being fomented across racial, religious, socioeconomic, partisan, and geographic lines, trust in others has declined and members of distinct groups are more isolated from each other than ever. Many forces seek to exploit these vulnerabilities and stoke fear and anxiety about group differences. Yet our nation's history shows us that, even in the midst of these challenges, Americans from all walks of life have found ways to come together across lines of difference to solve critical community problems.How we choose to respond to group differences is ultimately up to us. We can take steps either to build walls or build bridges in the face of these differences. When we feel insecure, unsafe, or threatened, our initial instinct is to build walls, in an effort to protect ourselves and our groups. This instinctual response can help us to feel more secure and protected in the short term; but one long-term consequence is that we may grow more distrustful and fearful of people who are not like "us" and whom we don't personally know. Worse still, challenging social and economic conditions can exacerbate these tendencies, such that we start to develop competitive narratives that pit "us" against "them" and further deepen existing divisions between groups.Instead, when we build bridges, we take steps to engage with people across lines of difference. Engaging with one another in meaningful and authentic ways often requires us to step outside of our comfort zone, as we begin to share our life stories and experiences openly while attending deeply and respectfully to those shared by others. From interacting with others with this spirit of openness and attentiveness, we invite others into our worlds, just as they invite us into theirs. By doing so, we not only develop greater mutual understanding, but we are also likely to become more invested in each other's lives and to care more about each other's groups—and this emotional investment and caring is what compels us to work toward improving our communities and social institutions to ensure that everyone feels like they belong.In this guide, we describe how to set the stage for people from different backgrounds to engage with each other in ways that foster trust and belonging, while also drawing on their similarities and differences to solve community problems. We review a number of strategies that encourage people from different groups to work together as equals, so that they can share ideas and perspectives, and co-create new initiatives in collaboration and across group divides. We also provide materials that can help organizations begin to envision how they might assess the effectiveness of their contact programs.

Practice Advisory: USCIS’s New Refugee-Asylee Informal Marriage Guidance

June 24, 2022

On February 14, 2022, USCIS issued new guidance on recognizing informal marriages of refugees and asylees. Under the new guidance, USCIS will recognize an informal marriage when a refugee or asylee could not lawfully marry due to their flight from persecution and circumstances beyond their control or because of restrictive laws or practices in their country of origin or country of first asylum. USCIS's guidance only applies in adjudications of refugee applications (I-590's), asylum applications (I-589's), and refugee/asylee family reunification petitions (I-730's). In this practice advisory, we explain the new guidance and how legal practitioners can assist impacted refugee and asylee families.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

10 Best Practices for Engaging with Refugee Leaders: A Guide for Centering Displaced People in Policy Advocacy

May 9, 2022

For too long, people who have experienced displacement have been absent from the policy tables and discussions that affect their lives. Increasingly, however, advocates, policymakers, members of the media, and others are more proactively collaborating with refugee leaders to inform and drive their work forward. This is a positive development, and ultimately it makes for more authentic and impactful work. But these engagements must be rooted in equal and meaningful partnership. Ten best practices below, identified by refugee leaders from our network, can help ensure that this collaboration is meaningful and not extractive.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

New York State Community Toolkit (January/February 2022)

February 16, 2022

The New York Immigration Coalition developed this toolkit to provide a resource for community members and our partners and allies who work with them. It is updated regularly based on changing laws and policies.

Texas Cite & Release Advocacy Toolkit

December 9, 2021

Black people and other communities of color, including immigrants, have faced decades of overpolicing, criminalization, and incarceration in Texas, often for alleged conduct that does not mandate an arrest or even carry jail time in the state. One way to effectively reduce arrests is to pass a local cite and release policy. This advocacy toolkit gives local organizers and advocates in Texas the tools they need to lead a successful cite and release campaign. We have included many helpful resources, samples, and insights for every step in a cite & release campaign – from initial education, research, and data collection through policy implementation.

Ten Ideas to Encourage Immigrant Engagement

January 1, 2015

A tip sheet that provides ideas drawn from cities and counties throughout California on ways to more successfully engage immigrant residents.

Using Volunteers in Naturalization Workshops

September 6, 2014

Volunteers are a critical component of efficient naturalization service delivery, especially in group processing workshops, which the New Americans Campaign (NAC) promotes. This toolkit provides recommendations for organizations on how to recruit, train, retain, and effectively use volunteers at group processing workshops.

Civic Engagement; Community-Based Outreach & Activity; Litigation/Legal Services

Characteristics of a Successful Site Leader

September 6, 2014

The New Americans Campaign is proud to announce a new toolkit on Characteristics of Successful Site Leaders. The NAC's unique structure uses site leaders to lead the campaign in each community. This toolkit illuminates the characteristics of a successful site leader, so that collaborations can appropriately choose which organization, and which person within that organization, should serve as the local site leader.

Litigation/Legal Services; Staff & Leadership Development

Prescreening and Red Flag Review: A toolkit in the Group Processing Workshop Series

September 6, 2014

The New Americans Campaign provides a significant percentage of naturalization services through group processing workshops -- events serving 10-600+ lawful permanent residents (LPRs) within a single day. This group approach is critical to the Campaign's goal of significantly increasing the number of LPRs who complete their naturalization applications. It also serves as a foundation for other immigration service delivery, including future opportunities arising out of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This toolkit provides recommendations for organizations on how to screen LPRs before a workshop for their eligibility to naturalize, as well as how to review the suitability of their case for assistance in a workshop setting.

Civic Engagement; Litigation/Legal Services

Active Citizens, Stronger Communities: Helping Lawful Permanent Residents Become Citizens

September 9, 2013

This resource explains the process and barriers to citizenship and discusses how local officials can support the naturalization process in a way that creates better community engagement. California is home to about 2.5 million "lawful permanent residents" who are eligible to become citizens.

Working on Integration at a Local Level: Toolkit

November 1, 2011

This toolkit is designed as an aid to organisations working with migrant communities to support their integration, primarily at local and regional levels. It provides guidance on the principles which should underpin projects and aim to achieve integration as "a dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of EU countries"

Collaborative Strategies for Day Labor Centers

September 16, 2011

This guide is designed to assist local officials, immigrant serving organizations, day labor center planners and leadership, and others to understand how collaborative relationships and partnerships can help communities to effectively establish, support and sustain day labor centers.

Coalition Building & Collaboration; Community-Based Outreach & Activity; Migrant Workers