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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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Featured

The Belonging Barometer The State of Belonging in America

March 7, 2023

Belonging is a fundamental human need, and one that is linked to many of the most complex challenges of our time.Without a sense of belonging, individuals and communities suffer; with it, they thrive. Yet, because belonging is notoriously difficult to measure, it is often ignored in efforts to address the deep fractures in our societies.One purpose of this report is to call attention to belonging as a factor that matters deeply for leaders and stakeholders across diverse sectors. We make the case for including belonging in the design and implementation of programs and policies across all areas of life in the United States. A second purpose is to propose a nuanced new tool for measuring belonging—the Belonging Barometer—that is robust, accessible, and readily deployable in the service of efforts to advance the common good. As with any new tool, it is our hope that the Belonging Barometer can and should be refined and improved upon over time. We offer it up to changemakers across the world and welcome feedback and collaboration.In this report, we review the concept of belonging and introduce a new measure, the Belonging Barometer. We then describe initial findings based on a nationally representative survey regarding the relationship between the Belonging Barometer and health, democracy, and intergroup dynamics in the US. Next, we report on the state of belonging across five life settings: family, friends, workplace, local community, and the nation. Lastly, we briefly discuss emerging themes and considerations for designing belonging interventions.

Unlocking the Power of Immigrant Communities

June 21, 2023

Thriving communities of first- and second-generation immigrants exist across the country, building robust networks of mutual support and honoring their shared cultures. Although some of these residents may be ineligible to vote, their American-born and/or naturalized family members do indeed have the right. Yet, voter participation gaps suggest voters from immigrant communities are turning out to vote at rates lower than their non-immigrant counterparts.

Civic Engagement

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.

Beyond the Hashtags and Slogans: The Role of AAPIs in Police Reform

May 6, 2022

This report explores the responsibility AAPI communities have to participate in meaningful police reform. Je Yon Jung, a civil rights attorney with an extensive background in police misconduct cases, authored the brief. It delves into the history of policing, its roots in slavery and how systemic discrimination impacts the criminal justice system, from what happens in courtrooms to police practices and oversized law enforcement budgets. Grounded in data, facts, and stories, Jung examines police shooting fatalities, demystifies the "defund the police" movement, and provides examples of how AAPIs are not immune to police violence.

Civic Engagement

La Gran Manzana: The Road Ahead For New York City’s Latino Community

October 26, 2021

This report from Hispanic Federation is a policy blueprint with recommendations on how the next Mayor and City Council can improve the lives of nearly 2.5 million Latinos who call New York City home. Recommendations include, increasing New York City's Nonprofit Stabilization Fund to $50 million over a five-year period to support people of color-led nonprofit organizations and ensure that nonprofits can engage in long-term planning to meet operational infrastructure needs and technical assistance, establishing free full-day pre-kindergarten for all three- and four year olds, electing a Latino/a as the next Speaker of the City Council, and more.

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.

Tearing Down the Second Wall: Ending USCIS's Backlog of Citizenship Applications and Expanding Access to Naturalization for Immigrants (Third Addendum to Second Wall Report)

July 2, 2018

In the last year, over 925,000 people applied for citizenship in the United States. For many, this was years after coming to this country in search of a better life, becoming an integral part of communities across the nation, learning English, working hard, and contributing to their families and the economy. The right to naturalize is a right as old as the nation itself and was envisioned by its founders, created by the Constitution, and codified by federal law. It has also long contributed to the diversity, richness, and strength of the nation. Unfortunately, since the Trump administration took control of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency that processes citizenship applications, the backlog of pending naturalization applications has skyrocketed to 729,400, with processing rates reaching as high as 20 months. The newest data from USCIS represents an 87.59% increase above the backlog of 388,832 applications, on December 31, 2015, during the administration of President Obama. This backlog serves as a "second wall" that prevents eligible lawful permanent residents from becoming citizens and voters. NPNA is demanding that USCIS takes aggressive steps to reduce the backlog of citizenship applications and reduce the waiting time for applicants down to six months.

Immigrants Assimilate into the Political Mainstream

January 19, 2017

This report separates immigrant political and policy opinions by citizenship status. Noncitizen immigrants cannot vote but their political opinions are mostly similar to those of natives. However, naturalized citizen-immigrants who can vote have political opinions even closer to those of natives and are near-fully assimilated into the political mainstream.

Program Update: New York City, Conclusion of the Civic and Political Participation of Immigrant Communities Portfolio

January 5, 2015

From 2010 to 2014, the Fund made 44 grants totaling $3.4 million in the New York City democratic practice portfolio. Over the last five years, the Fund has supported immigration forums, new partnerships and collaborations, academic research, new tools for dissemination of best practices, innovative citizenship outreach models, and new leadership that have helped establish a positive perspective on the many contributions New York's immigrant communities make to its economy and civic dynamism.

Capacity Building; Civic Engagement; Coalition Building & Collaboration

Opening Doors to Citizenship (Summary)

August 12, 2014

The New Americans Campaign (the Campaign) was formed in 2011 by a group of funders and national partners, including the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), to increase the number of eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who apply to become United States citizens. The Campaign, led by the ILRC, draws together a national network of legal service providers, communityand faith-based organizations, foundations and other allies in the public and private sectors. In 2012, the Campaign commissioned Harder+Company Community Research to evaluate whether and how the original eight Campaign sites had increased naturalization rates. The evaluation found that the campaign efforts at these sites had produced increased numbers of completed applications, in large part because of beneficial collaboration, use of innovative approaches, and dynamic learning and support between national and local work.

Coalition Building & Collaboration; Litigation/Legal Services; Research & Evaluation

Immigration's Impact on Republican Political Prospects, 1980 to 2012

April 15, 2014

This Backgrounder examines the partisan political implications of large-scale immigration. A comparison of voting patterns in presidential elections across counties over the last three decades shows that mass immigration has caused a steady drop in presidential Republican vote shares, particularly in the nation's largest counties. Each one percentage-point increase in the immigrant share of a large county's population reduces the Republican share of the two-party vote by nearly 0.6 percentage points on average.

Research & Evaluation

Using Experiments to Improve Progressive Hispanic Voter Registration

July 1, 2010

This was an ambitious project. By bringing together leading organizations from different areas of the progressive movement, The Atlantic Philanthropies sought to address a gaping need for progressives: how can we be more effective at progressive Hispanic voter registration? With over 12 randomized controlled experiments, across different modes of voter registration, this research project has yielded several useful results, and quite a few unexpected ones. Many of these results involved collaborations between the groups involved in this project: Campaign for Community Change, Democracia Ahora, Rock The Vote Action Fund, and Women's Voices. Women Vote Action Fund. This spirit of cooperation was critical to the success of this project, as each group contributed its own unique strengths and expertise to the broad portfolio of projects.

Civic Engagement; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Research & Evaluation