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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The Long Tail of Afghan Relocation and Resettlement: Achievements, Obstacles, and Opportunities

April 12, 2022

The Evacuate Our Allies (EOA) Coalition was formed in the wake of President Biden's announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in April 2021. Its mission is two-fold: to ensure the rapid relocation and rescue of vulnerable Afghans who are at risk of persecution from the Taliban, and to ensure a prompt and dignified resettlement in the United States. Its focus includes, but is not limited to, supporting those eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.In addition to its legislative efforts, the EOA Coalition also serves as the primary engagement vehicle for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to work with civil society through Operation Allies Welcome. Through its five main liaison working groups, the coalition has hosted over 20 engagements with dozens of experts and officials representing over 12 federal agencies since September 2021 and has presented hundreds of policy and process recommendations to more humanely, efficiently, and generously support newly arrived Afghans and those that remain abroad in need of protection. This report is a compilation of feedback collected from Afghan American community leaders, veterans groups, on-the-ground experts, and liaison working groups: The report focuses on areas of advancement and achievement in our partnership with the UCG and federal agencies, identifies challenges that prevent successful relocation and resettlement, and presents recommendations for policy changes that should be prioritized as Operation Allies Welcome enters its next phase.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Climate Migration: The State of Play on National, International, and Local Response Frameworks

March 25, 2022

According to government data, 2021 was a year of climate disasters: The U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar disasters, putting the year in second behind 2020, which had a record 22 separate billion-dollar events. The number and cost of weather and climate disasters are increasing across the world, with a dire climate report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday, February 28, warning that climate change, and climate disasters, will "redistribute populations on a planetary scale."Despite the increased attention being paid to the phenomenon of climate migration, substantive recommendations and solutions to this growing occurrence are few and far between at the local, national, and international levels. The lack of a dedicated international mechanism for climate migrants as well as local and national solutions has forced many to seek protections under existing international legal mechanisms, such as refugee and asylum laws, which were not designed for this new type of migration. Many of the international initiatives addressing migration more generally are non-binding, meaning that they provide a framework for signatory countries to follow, but do not compel those signatory countries to take specific actions, leaving an international patchwork of responses to a growing global phenomenon.

Ukrainians in the United States Who May Qualify for Temporary Protected Status: An Overview

March 3, 2022

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine and advanced toward the capital of Kyiv. The invasion has led for calls for humanitarian protections for Ukrainians—both in the United States and abroad—including a new Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation.TPS is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of a country that is experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported there.  TPS has been a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people who are in the United States when problems in their home country make their departure or deportation untenable. This fact sheet provides a demographic overview of the population of Ukrainians in the United States who may qualify for TPS, and what benefits TPS would confer upon those individuals.

Ukrainian Displacement: What You Need to Know

March 2, 2022

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine one week ago, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled the country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that 660,000 Ukrainians had crossed into neighboring countries as of March 1, 2021, with the majority arriving in Poland as well as Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and other European states. These numbers are in addition to at least 160,000 Ukrainians who have been internally displaced in the last week. Whether the number of refugees and internally displaced Ukrainians continues to climb depends on the nature of the conflict; if fighting continues and if Russia solidifies its occupation over large parts of the country, we can expect the number of both these groups to rise. This issue brief examines European and potential U.S. responses to the growing crisis.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

What the European Union and United States Need to Do to Address the Migration Crisis in Ukraine

March 1, 2022

As the United States and other countries formulate military and diplomatic responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they should also be focusing on how to protect the growing number of people who are being forcibly displaced because of the conflict. Since the invasion began, more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine into nearby EU member states, including Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. That number will undoubtedly continue to rise.The number of people in Ukraine who are vulnerable to displacement ranges widely—from 1 million to 5 million—and could be the largest forcible displacement in Europe in the 21st century. This article provides recommendations for how the European Union and the United States can respond to this migration crisis.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Supporting Underserved Communities Amid COVID-19: Insights from Louisville's COVID-19 Community Impact Survey

February 10, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people across the United States, including racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants. Many have faced challenges in retaining employment and meeting the basic needs of their families. In order to better support Louisville's underserved communities and expand equitable access to services for all residents, New American Economy (NAE) partnered with the City of Louisville to survey residents about their experiences during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, conducted between February and May of 2021, asked Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and immigrant communities in Louisville about their essential needs, the impact of COVID-19 on their wellbeing, and what assistance they have received to support their families through the crisis.

Protection Denied: Humanitarian Consequences at the U.S. Southern Border One Year Into the Biden Administration

January 14, 2022

On February 2, 2021, less than two weeks after taking office, the Biden administration issued a series of presidential actions regarding immigration, including an executive order to provide safe and orderly processing of asylum seekers at the United States border. The executive order promised to restore and strengthen the U.S. asylum system through safe, orderly, and humane reception and processing of asylum seekers at the border, noting that immigrants have made the U.S. stronger and better for generations and that policies enacted under the Trump administration contravened U.S. values and caused needless suffering.One year into the Biden administration, however, some of the most severe Trump-era policies that have decimated access to asylum — commonly known as "Title 42" and "Remain in Mexico" — remain in force. These measures effectively "externalize" asylum beyond U.S. borders, making U.S. territory unreachable to foreign nationals who do not have permission to enter – even if they are exercising their human right to seek asylum – and require Mexico and other countries to carry increasingly challenging burdens to meet humanitarian needs.This report provides an update on continued externalization of asylum and the resulting humanitarian impacts at the U.S.-Mexico border. The first year of the Biden administration has demonstrated the real dangers of border externalization — both to vulnerable migrants in need of protection and to the humanitarian organizations working to protect their rights and meet their basic needs.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Utilizing American Rescue Plan Funds to Serve Refugee and Immigrant Communities

January 12, 2022

Signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) appropriated approximately $1.9 trillion to provide relief to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These allocations included aid for small businesses, direct stimulus funds to households, rental and income assistance, access to medical care and mental health services, and infrastructure aid. In addition, out of the roughly $1.9 trillion, $350 billion was reserved for states, localities, and tribal governments. State and local governments have broad discretion in how they can utilize state and local fiscal recovery funds (SLFRF) to alleviate the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.One of the primary goals of ARPA is to encourage investment in communities hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely, underserved and underprivileged communities of color, such as immigrants and refugees. State and local governments have an unprecedented and unique opportunity to address the inequalities laid bare during the pandemic by investing in programs and services that address longstanding needs in these underserved communities.This guide is intended to assist immigrant and refugee advocates and service providers in identifying potential funding opportunities through ARPA. Several states and localities have either not yet allocated any SLFRF resources at all or have only partially allocated such funds. Some states and localities are still collecting feedback from communities on how such funds should be dispensed. Therefore, there remain opportunities for advocates to mobilize and request ARPA funds to be directed towards refugee and immigrant support programing.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Resilience & Community: Supporting Immigrant Communities Through FFF’s COVID-19 Response Funding

December 13, 2021

In 2020, as communities around the world faced one of the most unprecedented global health and economic challenges of our lifetime, Four Freedoms Fund (FFF) launched a COVID-19 Response Fund and strategy to support immigrant justice organizations throughout and beyond the pandemic.This report details the impact of more than $2.5 million in rapid response funding that was dispersed through 56 grants to groups in 23 states.

Asylum Grant Rates Climb Under Biden

November 10, 2021

Under the new Biden administration asylum seekers are seeing greater success rates in securing asylum. While asylum denial rates had grown ever higher during the Trump years to a peak of 71 percent in FY 2020, they fell to 63 percent in FY 2021. Expressed another way, success rates grew from 29 percent to 37 percent under President Biden.

Stand Together: Cash Assistance Funds for Undocumented Immigrants in a Time of Crisis

October 1, 2021

Open Society Foundations and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees commissioned this report as part of a larger effort to make resources, knowledge, and infrastructure developed during the pandemic known to grantmakers responding to future economic disruptions. Stand Together describes Covid-19 direct relief funds for undocumented immigrants and records promising practices for crisis grantmaking in immigrant communities.

Biden Administration’s Dangerous Haitian Expulsion Strategy Escalates the U.S. History of Illegal and Discriminatory Mistreatment of Haitians Seeking Safety in the United States

September 21, 2021

This fact sheet from Human Rights First and Haitian Bridge Alliance (the Bridge) examines the response of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Biden Administration toward the predominantly Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers who crossed into the United States near Del Rio, Texas in August/September 2021. It also compares the current situation to the approach the United States has historically adopted toward Haitian immigrants and asylum seekers.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers