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

English Learners in New Jersey: Exposing Inequities and Expanding Opportunities in the Wake of the Pandemic

November 16, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shift to virtual learning brought into sharp relief the inequities that English Learners (ELs) experience in New Jersey's public education system. Despite tremendous work on the part of educators, parents, and other caregivers to provide continuity of learning during this time, their efforts were hindered by school districts that fell short of meeting their obligations under New Jersey's Bilingual Education Code - the state regulations governing EL education - before and during the pandemic, and by a lack of sufficient guidance, support, and enforcement from the State, including shortcomings in the Code itself.The aim of this report is to identify EL-specific needs and rights within New Jersey's education system; understand whether schools are meeting these needs and respecting these rights; and, where they are not, make appropriate policy recommendations.

Children

The ROI of ESOL: The Economic and Social Return on Investment for ESOL Programs in Greater Boston

February 6, 2020

Recognizing the importance of immigrants to Greater Boston and the value of English classes and other supports to building an inclusive and welcoming community, the Boston Foundation and the Latino Legacy Fund commissioned a study that explores the "return on investment" (ROI) for teaching English to adults who are speakers of other languages. Known as ESOL programs, these services are an important component of adult education and a key piece of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The result of that study is this report, comprising an analysis of the region's ESOL landscape that provides background and context for the in-depth case studies and ROI estimates that follow.

A Profile of Current DACA Recipients by Education, Industry, and Occupation

July 23, 2018

This fact sheet examines predicted DACA expirations, as well as offers estimates for the educational and workforce characteristics of the nearly 690,000 current DACA holders. Among the national and state-level estimates offered: school enrollment and educational attainment, labor force participation, and top industries and occupations of employment.

Number of Foreign College Students Staying and Working in U.S. After Graduation Surges

May 10, 2018

This study presents findings based on ICE's data from the federal government's Optional Practical Training program. Between 2004 and 2016, nearly 1.5 million foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities obtained authorization to remain and work in the U.S. through this program. The data shows a 400% increase in foreign students graduating and working in STEM fields from 2008 to 2016.

Children

Better Educated, but Not Better Off: A Look at the Education Level and Socioeconomic Success of Recent Immigrants, 2007 to 2017

April 17, 2018

This analysis confirms other recent research showing a dramatic increase in the education level of newly arrived immigrants over the last decade. However, our findings show that this increase has not resulted in a significant improvement in labor force attachment, income, poverty, or welfare use for new arrivals. This is true in both absolute terms and relative to the native-born, whose education has not increased as dramatically. In short, new immigrants are starting out as far behind in 2017 as they did in 2007 despite a dramatic increase in their education. Though more research is needed, we explore several possible explanations for this finding.

Children

New Brain Gain: Rising Human Capital among Recent Immigrants to the United States

May 31, 2017

Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that almost half (48 percent) of immigrants coming to the United States between 2011 and 2015 were college graduates (compared to 31 percent of U.S.-born adults in 2015). In contrast, the highly skilled represented just 27 percent of arrivals during the five-year period ending in 1990. This rise in immigrants' educational attainment is correlated with increasing flows from Asia, although it should be noted that about one-quarter of recent immigrants from Latin America are college graduates. Higher levels of bilingualism and English language proficiency accompany this increase in human capital.

Untapped Talent: The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States

December 5, 2016

While the United States has long been a top destination for the world's best and brightest, it has fallen short when it comes to fully tapping the skills and training of these newcomers. As a result, nearly 2 million immigrants with college degrees in the United States—one out of every four—are relegated to low-skilled jobs or are unable to find work. This skill underutilization—often referred to as brain waste—comes at a significant cost to families and the U.S. economy: College-educated immigrants employed in low-skilled work miss out on more than $39 billion in wages. And as a result, federal, state, and local governments lose out on more than $10 billion in unrealized tax receipts, according to this study, which offers the first-ever estimates of the economic costs of brain waste.

The Elephant in the Classroom: Mass Immigration's Impact on Public Education

September 8, 2016

This report attempts to estimate the costs of the public education of undocumented immigrants to state and federal education systems, based on data from 2015 and 2016.

Advocacy

Will They Stay or Will They Go? International STEM Students Are Up for Grabs

July 11, 2016

The proportion of international PhD-level students on temporary visas to study STEM subjects in the United States has doubled over the past thirty years. Further, these students are much more likely than domestic students to major in and graduate with STEM-related doctoral degrees and to pursue careers in high-tech firms. The United States stands to lose its significant investment in these highly qualified students—and their potential contributions to U.S. entrepreneurship and innovation—if they return to their home countries after completing their degrees or post-doctoral work. We explore why foreign doctoral students choose to study in the United States and what compels them to either remain in the country or return home after earning their PhDs. We also compare their future plans with those of domestic PhD students.

Opportunity Lost: The Economic Benefit of Retaining Foreign-Born Students in Local Economies

April 3, 2016

A first-of-its kind analysis of aggregate transition rates from college to work among three groups of foreign-born college students indicates that only one group—lawful permanent residents (LPR)— are fully transitioning to work in local economies. Undocumented college students are 20 to 30 percentage points less likely than their LPR peers to find local work after graduation. Aggregate transition rates for F-1 visa holders were close to zero. Policies that increase work opportunities for F-1 visa holders and undocumented students to the same levels as their LPR peers would increase employment levels and tax revenues in nearly every state in the country.

Foreign-born College Students: How Much Could They Contribute to the US Economy?

February 25, 2016

The United States College and University system is schooling an increasing number of students from all over the world. For a very large portion of those, namely those on F1 visas and those with no documentation, the transition to the US labor market can be very difficult, if not impossible. This results in re-migration or under-employment of these highly skilled workers. We quantify the size of these populations and the employment and wage losses to US states and local economies from the constraints imposed by immigration status on those students. We suggest that some recent policies that have increased legal access to jobs for these two categories, such as the extension of optional practical training (OPT) in 2008 and the temporary status granted by DACA to undocumented college educated in 2012 may have increased their college to local jobs transition rates. There is scope for larger gains when adopting policies that would substantially increase the labor perspectives in the US of F1 and undocumented college students. We suggest some local policies that could prove to be innovative ways to strengthen local economies and link immigration policies to local economic incentives.

What Works: English-Language Learning in America

December 3, 2015

Abundant research demonstrates the benefits of learning English—for educational attainment, employment, earnings, homeownership, civic participation, and naturalization. Much more could be done to help immigrants to the United States acquire the skills they need, survival English as well as the higher levels of proficiency that allow a new American to excel.