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

Tracking the Biden Agenda on Legal Immigration in the First 100 Days

April 29, 2021

President Biden assumed office after making considerable commitments to implement changes to legal immigration in the United States, both to reverse harmful changes by former President Trump, but also in reforming and updating the system more broadly. Trump executed prolonged attacks on many categories of immigrants in thinly veiled attempts to limit the number of noncitizens entering the United States temporarily and permanently. These changes created a series of often duplicative barriers impacting the same populations and limiting the ability of many noncitizens to obtain or maintain immigration status in the United States. While the Biden administration has made significant progress in meeting many of its commitments in restoring and reforming legal immigration in the United States, significant barriers to access remain that will need to be addressed for the system to function in a meaningful manner.This special report analyzes some of the most significant changes to immigration policy made by the Trump administration, as well as the subsequent commitments and accomplishments made by the Biden administration on these issues during its first 100 days. The report also provides recommendations for action throughout the remainder of the Biden presidency to foster a fair and efficient system of legal immigration.

Featured

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.

Human Rights Travesty: Biden Administration Embrace of Trump Asylum Expulsion Policy Endangers Lives, Wreaks Havoc

August 24, 2021

More than seven months since President Biden took office, the U.S. government continues to turn awayand block people seeking protection at U.S. ports of entry along the southern border and to expel manyasylum seekers to growing danger in Mexico. For this report, Human Rights First researchers conducted in person and remote interviews with migrantsand asylum seekers, government officials in the United States and Mexico, attorneys, academicresearchers, humanitarian staff, and other legal monitors. Researchers spoke with 65 migrants andasylum seekers in person in the Mexican cities of Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, Piedras Negras, and CiudadAcuña in August 2021 and more than 50 additional interviews with migrants and asylum seekers inMexico were carried out by telephone between July and August 2021. Interviews were conductedprimarily in Spanish with a limited number in English. The report draws on data from an electronic surveyof asylum seekers in Mexico conducted by Al Otro Lado between June and August 2021, as well asinformation from U.S. and Mexican government data, media sources, and other human rights reports.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

A Brief History of U.S. Immigration Policy from the Colonial Period to the Present Day

August 3, 2021

More than 86 million people have legally immigrated to the United States between 1783 and 2019. The legal regime under which they immigrated has changed radically over that time; the politics surrounding those changes have remained contentious, and past immigration policies inform the current political debate. Conflicting visions and piecemeal legislation have left the United States with an archaic and barely coherent immigration system with outdated policy objectives that is primarily controlled by the executive branch of government. We review the history of U.S. immigration policy, including the legal controversies that empowered Congress with its immigration plenary power and the historical policy decisions that still guide the U.S. immigration system, in order to contextualize the current political debate over immigration at the beginning of the Biden administration.

Families in Limbo: What the Biden Administration Can Do Now to Address Unreasonable Delays in Refugee and Asylee Family Reunification

March 9, 2021

This report outlines how the "Follow-to-Join" process has been hampered by actions taken by the Trump Administration and how the Biden Administration can improve the process. It  compiles information that IRAP has learned in litigation, as well as through individualrepresentation of clients in the refugee admissions process, engaging in policy advocacy, and pursuingFreedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Room to Grow: Setting Immigration Levels in a Changing America

February 3, 2021

This paper provides a recommendation for setting evidence-backed immigration levels that combat the worst effects of demographic decline and protect the nation's social and economic health. A modern immigration system is necessary to respond to modern challenges, and increasing immigration levels will help us both provide for our elderly population and give us confidence in the country we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

Roadmap to Recovery: A Path Forward after the Remain in Mexico Program

January 13, 2021

For years, the U.S. government allowed individuals applying for asylum to physically remain in the United States while their cases were adjudicated. However, in January 2019, the Trump administration introduced the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program, which fundamentally changed this process by forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration court proceedings. This change has created incalculable suffering to asylum seekers along the border. Upholding the United States' commitment to a humane and compassionate asylum system demands not only the immediate cancelation of the program, but a detailed plan to repair the damage it has caused.The following recommendations outline actions the new administration should take before asylum seekers can enter the United States, how asylum seekers should enter the United States, and what procedures should occur after asylum seekers enter the United States to remedy the harm they suffered under the Trump administration's policies. The report also includes recommendations for longer-term actions to eliminate discriminatory asylum regulations and policies in the future.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States: Immigrants' Access to Driver's Licenses, Higher Education, Workers' Rights, and Community Policing

October 1, 2013

As Congress debated federal immigration reform this year, states led the way by adopting policies designed to integrate immigrants more fully in their communities. In the wake of the 2012 elections, with Latino and Asian voters participating in record numbers,1 the 2013 state legislative sessions witnessed a significant increase in pro-immigrant activity. Issues that had been dormant or had moved in a restrictive direction for years, such as expanding access to driver's licenses, gained considerable traction, along with measures improving access to education and workers' rights for immigrants.This report summarizes the activity on immigrant issues that took place during the states' 2013 legislative sessions, as well as efforts to improve access to services for immigrant youth.

Advocacy; Children; Civic Engagement

Profiles in Advocacy: How FIRM Has Moved Legislators on Immigration Reform

July 1, 2013

This report presents a series of case studies in moving legislators on immigration reform, including lessons learned on:Moving a legislator in a district with changing demographics;Converting a Senator from supporter to champion;Organizing a statewide framework to move conservatives;Moving and engaging first term legislators;Cultivating potential champions in the House;Cultivating Republican leadership.

Advocacy; Civic Engagement

Making Immigrant Rights Real

June 17, 2013

This is an overview of Ireland's changed migration landscape, followed by a description of The One Foundation's (OF) thinking on measures to effect change in response to a growing immigrant population, and the investments made to achieve its goal -- to make immigrant rights real in Ireland. A case study of an investment in the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) follows to provide a deeper understanding of some advocacy approaches taken, their impact, and lessons learned.

Advocacy; Research & Evaluation

Police Executive Research Forum: Freeing Local Police from Immigration Enforcement

September 23, 2011

Dealing with immigration issues is one of the most critical and frustrating challenges police and sheriffs' departments currently face. To solve this problem and take some pressure off their members, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has conducted research and met with police leaders to frame immigration policy recommendations not only to guide local authorities, but to inform Congress and the Obama administration as well.

Advocacy; Research & Evaluation

Immigration: The Reform Movement Rebuilds

October 1, 2008

Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform have tried unsuccessfully since 2006 to get an immigration bill passed, first by the 109th and then by the 110th Congress. Now these advocates are using the sometimes painful lessons learned from their legislative battles to build alliances on a local and a national level and to bring together disparate voices. Seeking to overcome the hurdles involved in merging hundreds of organizations, several leading groups, including those who are cited in this article, have been working to develop a re-energized and re-focused structure that consists of "four pillars," which center around:a more effective policy approachmore effective work in the mediaa stronger grassroots effort better linked to the nationwide effortsuccessful efforts to promote citizenship and encourage civic participation

Advocacy; Civic Engagement; Coalition Building & Collaboration