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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Immigration at the State Level: An Examination of Proposed State-Based Visa Programs in the U.S.

May 28, 2020

This paper analyzes the history of immigration federalism in the United States and examines how other countries have created regional immigration systems to address the needs of individual areas. It subsequently looks at the problems with the current immigration system and why it is insufficient to meet states' needs. It then analyzes the multiple solutions that have been proposed. Finally, it looks at the remaining questions that must be addressed before moving forward with a new, state-based immigration program.

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.

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A New Estimate of the Cost of Reversing DACA

February 15, 2018

Using data on the age and educational outcomes of nearly 3,000 college students who are DACA recipients this study forecasts their income in the ensuing decade to estimate the total economic and fiscal impact over the next decade of allowing this cohort to remain in the country and legally pursue employment.

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.

Delivering through Diversity

January 1, 2018

Companies with diverse members in leadership positions are more than 20 percent likely to outperform on profitability and have superior value creation. Delivering through Diversity from McKinsey & Company discusses the relationship between diversity and business success and describes the inclusion and diversity (I&D) initiatives that seem to accelerate business performance. This report draws on public annual reports and websites of more than 1,000 companies worldwide and financial data from the Corporate Performance Analytics database of McKinsey and S&P Global. The authors also highlight the I&D efforts of 17 companies across multiple industries. Results show that companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity and ethnic/cultural diversity in their executive teams have better than predicted return on investments, outperform on profitability and are more likely to have superior value creation. Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity in their executive teams, for example, were 33 percent more likely to lead industry profitability. Additionally, the report reveals that bottom-quartile companies are lagging in comparison to their competitors. The authors suggest that all levels of leadership commit to I&D goals, that managers connect I&D initiatives to growth strategies and company culture, and that I&D strategies should be tailored to local conditions to maximize their impact.

How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security’s Finances?

December 1, 2017

Most economists agree that immigration boosts productivity, raises the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and prevents labor shortages. In 2016, one in six workers in the United States was an immigrant. These immigrant workers finance a major share of Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) payroll taxes that fund Social Security. The restrictionist Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act proposed in 2017 would halve the number of green cards granted yearly and change the criteria for awarding them, moving from a largely family-based system to an employment-based one. The bill aims to raise wages for American workers and promote economic growth. In How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security's Finances, the Urban Institute analyzes the proposed bill and concludes that the RAISE Act would shrink the number of workers by two million workers by 2030 and 8 million by 2070. As a result, it would weaken Social Security finances by reducing OASDI payroll tax revenues. Over a 75-year period, the RAISE Act would increase Social Security's unfunded obligations from $11.6 trillion to $13.1 trillion. Additional analysis finds that restricting immigration would reduce GDP and have only marginal impact on American wages (no more than 0.16 to 0.23 percent). The authors warn that policymakers should reconsider supporting legislation such as the RAISE Act as it would exacerbate Social Security's financial problems and do little to improve the wages of the U.S.-born. 

Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Trends and Contributions

November 1, 2017

This article analyzes recent U.S. data to examine how immigrants during the last 15 years have contributed to entrepreneurship through self-employment and earnings. It aims to address the questions of how do immigrants contribute to recent U.S. self-employment trends, in what industries are immigrant entrepreneurs concentrated, and how do their earnings compare to those of U.S.-born entrepreneurs?

Immigrant Health-Care Workers in the United States

June 28, 2017

Despite making up only 13 percent of the total U.S. population, immigrants represent a vital portion of the growing health-care industry comprising 17 percent, or 2.1 million, of the 12.4 million medical professionals in the United States. This report uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide a demographic and socioeconomic overview of immigrants working in health-care occupations with particular attention to their proficiency in English, educational background, nationality, gender, and access to health insurance. The paper finds that three-quarters of immigrants in the field display a high level of English proficiency. Moreover, foreign-born medical professionals are more likely to possess a bachelor's degree compared to the U.S.-born in the same field. There are also a disproportionately high number of foreign-born medical professionals in both high- and low-skilled positions: 28 percent of physicians and surgeons and 24 percent of nurses and home health aides are foreign-born. The report suggests that there is a growing need for foreign-born professionals in the health-care workforce, which is projected to add 2.3 million jobs between 2014 and 2024. However, numerous obstacles exist for foreign-born doctors and others to obtain permanent resident status, as the U.S. immigration system does not prioritize the admission of immigrant health-care professionals. 

Foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States

June 14, 2017

Foreign-born workers in the United States represent a growing share of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in all occupational categories. This fact sheet from the American Immigration Council analyzes data from the American Community Survey to give an overview of the occupational, gender, educational and geographic distribution of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States. It offers a side-by-side comparison of two sets of STEM occupations based on two different STEM definitions. The total number of STEM workers in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1990, with one-fifth to one-quarter of the STEM workforce being foreign-born in 2015. Foreign-born STEM workers have made significant contributions to innovation and productivity, e.g. 25 percent of high-tech companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder. The foreign-born also dominate among those with advanced degrees -- immigrants make up the majority of STEM workers with doctoral degrees. With STEM occupations projected to grow 13 percent to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. will need about one million more STEM professionals than it will produce over the next decade. The authors suggest that, though increasing U.S.-born STEM workers is essential, foreign-born STEM workers, who tend to be slightly younger than the overall STEM workforce, may still be required in the U.S. to meet future labor needs.

Immigration: A Demographic Lifeline in Midwetern Metros

March 23, 2017

This report focuses how immigrants have helped offset native-born population loss and revitalized an aging workforce by examining 46 Midwestern metro areas as a refresh of a similar study published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014. Metro areas are a useful barometer by which to measure the impact of immigration because the economies of central cities and their suburbs are tightly connected and because large immigrant communities are found in both central cities and suburbs of metro areas. Also, the extent to which immigration matters to metro-area economies heightens the importance of immigration as an issue and raises the stakes for immigration reform.

Unlocking Skills: Successful Initiatives for Integrating Foreign-Trained Immigrant Professionals

February 27, 2017

With nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants and refugees in the United States unable to fully utilize their professional skills, better understanding of the elements of successful programs and policies that reduce the waste of advanced education and skills can benefit immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy more generally. This report explores a range of frontline programs and policy reforms that are providing cutting-edge career navigation, relicensing, gap filling, and job search assistance for foreign-trained professionals in a wide range of occupations. It also examines different state policy and licensing contexts that affect these highly skilled individuals, with a focus on the dense thicket of state laws and regulations that slow or prevent qualified individuals from practicing in a wide range of occupations.