Back to Collections

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.

More ways to engage:
- Add your organization's content to this collection.
- Easily share this collection on your website or app.

"Immigration"" by Paul_the_Seeker is licensed under CC 2.0

Search this collection

Clear all

12 results found

reorder grid_view

Green Light to Growth: Estimating the Economic Benefits of Clearing Green Card Backlogs

November 8, 2023

Millions of people sit in green card backlogs, waiting to receive lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States. Some of these individuals are waiting for their petition to be adjudicated and, they hope, approved. Even if approved, many still wait decades before they receive their green card due to annual green card limits set in law. Hundreds of thousands of people will likely die before they can receive the green card for which they have already been approved.These backlogs have clear human costs. Many people face the risk of having to leave the country if they lose their jobs before they achieve LPR status. The backlog also has serious consequences for Americans, as essential jobs, such as nurses and national security staff, go unfilled while foreign workers remain in the backlog to receive their green cards.Importantly, the backlogs also have considerable economic costs. Restrictions on the jobs people can take while in the backlog prevent individuals from working in roles best suited to them, constricting productivity. Keeping people outside of the country when they have been approved for a green card prevents them from joining the U.S. labor force, contributing their knowledge and skills, and supporting an economy that is struggling with declining labor force participation due to its aging population. This report quantifies the economic benefit that would be achieved if the current employment and family-based green card backlogs were cleared.

What the Border Looked Like in FY2022

May 4, 2023

The release of fiscal year 2022 border data was again marked by headlines touting a record-breaking year for encounters. In the following issue brief, we delve into the border data further, analyzing the migration patterns and trends that occurred in FY2022, how Title 8 was used at the border in FY2022, how trends at the northern border and at sea changed this fiscal year, and what process changes were implemented at the border.

Litigation/Legal Services; Research & Evaluation

Immigration Backlogs and Congressional Funding

October 6, 2022

Immigration backlogs are affecting a wide range of immigrants — asylum seekers, DACA recipients, spouses of U.S. citizens, and high-skilled immigrants in the tech industry, to name a few. Backlogs have become a systemic issue within the immigration enterprise, which we define as the five departments that address immigration through appropriations: the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Department of State (DOS). As each department attempts to tackle its segment of crisis, Congress could help address it by providing additional funding to clear backlogs and alleviate pressure on the system.

Capital & Infrastructure; Litigation/Legal Services

Reforming Employment-Based Immigration: Charting A Path Forward

July 27, 2022

Comprehensive immigration reform has been "on the table" in Congress for two decades, with the last substantial reform to the legal immigration system passed in 1990 under then-President George H.W. Bush. Yet majorities of both parties view the current system as broken and support legalization for long-term undocumented residents, including Dreamers, and securing the southern border.However, polling by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Morning Consult in April and May 2021 offered a potential path forward for legislation by focusing on updating legal immigration, and economic-based immigration in particular. The polls found that Democrats, independents, and Republicans were more likely to compromise on "providing visas for immigrants supporting U.S. economy by filling positions where companies cannot find U.S. workers," than either border security or legalization. This policy was also generally ranked in the middle in salience, meaning that it is neither the most nor least important to either party, providing an opening for policymakers to finally create movement on reform.With this in mind, over several months in 2021 and 2022, BPC convened separate groups of diverse stakeholders, representing employers, labor union perspectives, and immigrant rights advocates, to discuss possible reforms to the United States' lesser-skilled and high-skilled legal immigration systems. The groups considered what the legal immigration system might look like if designed from the ground up, instead of thinking about tweaks to the existing system. What follows is an overview of the conclusions we have drawn from these meetings that might provide a framework for future legal immigration reform discussions in Congress.

Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Economic Potential and Obstacles to Success

June 13, 2022

As a long-standing immigration destination, the United States has depended on the entrepreneurial contributions of immigrants as an economic driver. While much of the current immigrant entrepreneurship discussion centers on high-tech start-ups and Fortune 500 companies 1, immigrants create businesses of all sizes that help fuel American economic growth. The U.S. Census' 2007 and 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) found that immigrants had formed about 25% of new businesses in the United States, with rates surpassing 40% in some states. Immigrants are also 10% more likely to own their own business than U.S. natives. Simply put, the United States' economic success story would not exist without immigrant entrepreneurs with a range of backgrounds and skill levels who were willing to launch their business ideas here. This report shows a consistent set of drivers and barriers that impact immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States, and outlines recommendations for policymakers at all levels of government to better support these entrepreneurs and enable a more robust U.S. economy.

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.

Redefining Border Security

May 20, 2021

While the framework at the border for dealing with crossings has not substantively changed in decades, the recent changes in the makeup of migrant flows at the border require a new framework for addressing "border security." Given the large number of arrivals of children and families seeking asylum, which is legal under U.S. law, it is necessary to address the arrivals separately from the needs of securing the border from threats such as smuggling, contraband, or migrants seeking to evade capture. Specifically, the United States needs to set up separate systems for receiving and processing asylum seekers and vulnerable populations at the border and apprehending and processing other immigrants trying to make illegal entries.The following outlines recommendations for a new framework that recognizes a fundamental shift in migrant demographics at the border and the different components needed for dealing with each activity. Together, they provide a comprehensive approach to securing the border against crime, drugs, and terrorism, while addressing unauthorized migration and meeting legal obligations to receive and decide asylum claims.

Immigration Systems in Transition: Lessons for U.S. Immigration Reform from Australia and Canada

September 29, 2020

The history of both the Australian and Canadian immigration systems covers three distinct periods in which the countries maintained race-based models between the 1920s and 1960s-70s, implemented points-based systems after ending their race-based programs, and revised the points-based systems over time to improve their ability to select migrants and eliminate backlogs.Australia and Canada's successful implementation and revision of their immigration systems depended on governmental decisions, political and bureaucratic institutions, and data gathering operations to provide objective bases for revisions to the systems. The Australian and Canadian cases show that the United States may need to make investments in the agencies that oversee the immigration system and gather data about its outcomes. The adoption of SkillSelect and Express Entry also show that the United States may need to make dramatic revisions of the system to address backlogs and other residual components of the past system during the transition process. The effective selection of migrants and management of migration necessitates institutions that allow governments to make sometimes dramatic changes to their migration programs with public support based on actionable data. U.S. policymakers must understand these factors – and answer the questions in this report – to create an immigration system that represents the best elements of the U.S. political system and the country's immigration heritage.

Research & Evaluation

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.

Police, Jails, and Immigrants: How Do Immigrants and the Immigration Enforcement System Interact with Local Law Enforcement?

February 23, 2018

The Bipartisan Policy Center's review of law enforcement agencies in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, and Los Angeles shows that the actual operation of local law enforcement agencies and their work with immigration enforcement agencies is more complex and nuanced than is often reported in the public debate.

America’s Demographic Challenge: Understanding the Role of Immigration

August 22, 2017

With numerous charts and graphs, this paper outlines the projected growth of various age segments of the U.S. population, showing that the native-born, working-age population will grow much more slowly than the foreign-born working-age population. The relative growth of the 65-and-over population will present economic challenges. In particular, the Social Security trust fund is projected to be depleted by 2034, assuming that current levels of immigration remain relatively constant. Policy changes will ultimately be needed to save the fund from depletion, including expanding the labor force by increasing immigration. In an aging population, there is a decline in workforce participation, which depresses economic growth. The arrival of working-age immigrants can counter, to some extent, the slowdown in economic activity as older workers retire. The relative demographic structure of immigrants vs. natives-with immigrants being more likely to be of working-age and to participate in the workforce-also impacts the federal budget. Modeling of a 2013 immigration reform bill found that the bill's legalization program and increase in legal immigration would reduce the federal deficit by $180 billion over 10 years. In general, though, current levels of immigration cannot entirely offset the economic and fiscal drag of our aging population. Liberalizing immigration will help, but other policy changes will be needed to reduce the federal deficit and stave off Social Security insolvency.

Culprit or Scapegoat? Immigration’s Effect on Employment and Wages

June 27, 2016

Over the past several decades, native-born Americans have become increasingly detached from the labor force, with declining rates of employment and labor force participation. Seeking explanations, many attempt to blame these trends on immigration itself, under the notion that immigrants both displace native-born workers and drive down their wages. Although superficially appealing, these arguments are ultimately overly simplistic and misguided, as they ignore several other factors driving these trends. Our research suggests that declining native-born labor force participation is largely due to the various options native-born individuals tend to have at their disposal to pursue non-labor force activities—namely retirement, disability, and school enrollment, rather than any direct competition from immigrants. Additionally, native- and foreign-born individuals tend to work in different industries. A majority of the predominantly foreign-born industries are composed of lesser-skill, lower-wage occupations, some of which have seen strong employment growth in recent years, and have even suffered from labor shortages.