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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

Beyond A Border Solution: How to Build a Humanitarian Protection System That Won’t Break

May 3, 2023

For generations, the United States has been a place of safe haven for people seeking freedom and safety. In 1980, Congress passed the Refugee Act, codifying basic refugee protections into law and enshrining a global commitment to asylum which emerged from the tragedy of the Holocaust. In the decades since then, hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylees have been granted status, strengthening communities around the nation, contributing economically, and enriching the national fabric.But in the 21st century, a global displacement crisis is affecting nearly every country in the world. Multiple nations across the Western Hemisphere have become destabilized due to a wide variety of factors, including rising authoritarianism, political assassinations, natural disasters, powerful transnational criminal organizations, climate change, and the global socioeconomic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The end result is humanitarian migration at levels far above what the 20th-century system can handle.Presidential administrations of both parties have failed to meet this challenge. Instead of an orderly, humane, and consistent approach to humanitarian protection and border management, we have been left with a dysfunctional system that serves the needs of no one: not the government, border communities, or asylum seekers themselves.Crucially, there is still hope. Restoring our humanitarian protection systems and breaking the cycle of crises and crackdowns is not only possible, but within reach. However, to do so, we need a major shift in thinking and policymaking. Politicians must abandon a fantasy of short-term solutionism and acknowledge that only sustained investment over a period of time can realistically address these 21st century challenges. Therefore, short-term action must focus on establishing a viable path towards a better system. In the long term, with significant investment, we can create a flexible, orderly, and safe asylum process.

Featured

Becoming an Ally: Partnering with Immigrant Families to Promote Student Success

April 25, 2023

This report challenges stakeholders in the American educational system to build effective and equitable family engagement practices for immigrant families. It provides recommendations for school leaders, educators, funders, and policymakers to support a high-quality education for every immigrant child.

Featured

The Belonging Barometer The State of Belonging in America

March 7, 2023

Belonging is a fundamental human need, and one that is linked to many of the most complex challenges of our time.Without a sense of belonging, individuals and communities suffer; with it, they thrive. Yet, because belonging is notoriously difficult to measure, it is often ignored in efforts to address the deep fractures in our societies.One purpose of this report is to call attention to belonging as a factor that matters deeply for leaders and stakeholders across diverse sectors. We make the case for including belonging in the design and implementation of programs and policies across all areas of life in the United States. A second purpose is to propose a nuanced new tool for measuring belonging—the Belonging Barometer—that is robust, accessible, and readily deployable in the service of efforts to advance the common good. As with any new tool, it is our hope that the Belonging Barometer can and should be refined and improved upon over time. We offer it up to changemakers across the world and welcome feedback and collaboration.In this report, we review the concept of belonging and introduce a new measure, the Belonging Barometer. We then describe initial findings based on a nationally representative survey regarding the relationship between the Belonging Barometer and health, democracy, and intergroup dynamics in the US. Next, we report on the state of belonging across five life settings: family, friends, workplace, local community, and the nation. Lastly, we briefly discuss emerging themes and considerations for designing belonging interventions.

Featured

10 Years of Delivering for Immigrants: Evaluation of the Delivering on the Dream Project

January 17, 2023

Launched in 2012 in response to the opportunity presented under the Obama administration for hundreds of thousands of young people to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), GCIR's Delivering on the Dream (DOTD) network has proven to be a powerful example of philanthropic collaboration in pursuit of immigrant justice. Through a unique partnership model that leverages national matching funds, state and local funders engage in coordinated grantmaking to strengthen the immigrant rights and service infrastructure in diverse locales. Since its inception, the DOTD network has included 27 collaboratives in 21 states, with more than 160 local, state, and national funders supporting over 700 grantees working in multiple areas, including immigration legal services, education and outreach, and crisis response.Though DOTD in its current form will be sunsetting in 2023, many of the regional collaboratives will continue to convene, providing opportunities for local grantmakers to collaborate and respond to the needs of immigrants in their communities. This brand-new report synthesizes lessons learned from the DOTD network over the past ten years and provides recommendations for future philanthropic collaboration.

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.

Deepening the Divide: Abortion Bans Further Harm Immigrant Communities

August 15, 2023

Immigrants, especially undocumented individuals and those in mixed-status families, are particularly vulnerable to the harmful impacts of abortion bans due to their unique barriers to care and increased risk of criminalization based on immigration status. Immigrants' barriers to abortion care include arbitrary Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoints, a five-year waiting period for legal permanent residents to enroll in public health insurance programs, and agreements between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Individuals in immigrant detention face additional threats to their reproductive health and overall well-being, including denial of abortion care and medically unnecessary gynecological procedures like forced hysterectomies. This factsheet highlights how the overturn of Roe v. Wade exacerbated pre-existing barriers to abortion care for immigrants. We propose a set of concrete recommendations for Congress and the Administration to support immigrant access to abortion.

Ready to Learn, Eager to Earn: A youth-led market and wellbeing assessment in Rohingya camps

July 28, 2023

Without access to quality, relevant education, or dignified work, Rohingya refugee youth face bleak and limited futures. Within the camp setting, they are unable to meet their immediate basic needs and are at high risk of violations of their rights, wellbeing, and security.The Rohingya community is about to mark six years since its exodus from Myanmar. The state of Rohingya youth remains a blur: what are the barriers related to livelihood opportunities and social engagement? What are the skill-development needs for Rohingya youth residing in the refugee camps of Cox's Bazar?

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Why the United States Still Needs Foreign-Born Workers

July 25, 2023

Without continued net inflows of immigrants, the U.S. working-age population will shrink over the next two decades and by 2040, the United States will have over 6 million fewer working-age people than in 2022. Announcements of high-profile layoffs and concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) obscure America's continuing need for additional workers at the top and bottom of the skill distribution. International migration is the only potential source of growth in the U.S. working-age population in the coming years.The research involved analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including the Current Population Survey and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Facing an Impossible Choice: Experiences of Asylum Seekers in Matamoros and Reynosa Two Months into the Biden Asylum Ban

July 24, 2023

The National Immigration Project and Together & Free document their observations from trips to Matamoros and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico in June and July 2023, where they conducted interviews with asylum seekers, service providers, and advocates. The report calls on the Biden administration to end and rescind the Asylum Ban and to urgently make changes to the CBP One appointment system.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

"You Suffer a Lot": Immigrants with Disabilities Face Barriers in Immigration Court

July 19, 2023

Immigrants with disabilities face many barriers as they navigate deportation proceedings in U.S. immigration courts, where they must gather and submit evidence, testify, and present their case, often without a lawyer. These proceedings are adversarial, confusing, and terrifying for many immigrants, particularly people facing deportation to persecution or torture. As detailed in this report, the barriers that disabled immigrants face are exacerbated by a lack of resources and information about immigrants' rights under disability law in immigration court proceedings, absence of an established protocol for exercising those rights, denials of reasonable accommodations and safeguards to meaningfully participate in their proceedings, the use of detention to jail people during their immigration court cases, and disability discrimination in immigration court, including bias, stigma, and hostility from immigration judges. These barriers and harms violate federal disability law, Constitutional due process protections, and immigration law.

Litigation/Legal Services

Changing the Narrative for Multilingual Learners

July 14, 2023

In 2022, California funders focused on multilingual and early education gathered for a series of learning conversations about how narrative change could positively impact the movement for multilingual education. In the sessions, narrative practitioners, advocates, funders, and evaluators offered these key insights for understanding and supporting narrative change:Narratives, which shape how people see the world and each other, are at the heart of movements for social change.Narrative change is collective work that has more impact when many voices and partners organize themselves around the same narrative.In developing narratives to support multilingual learners, it's essential to engage people with lived experience including students, educators, and families.When partners embrace a unifying narrative, it can align and accelerate work across policy advocacy, organizing, communications, the arts, and other areas.Narrative change is long-term work that requires persistence and multiple strategies to challenge and shift the deep-seated beliefs that uphold injustice.Evaluators have many ways to measure the progress and impact of narrative strategies upon organizations, networks, and in the public dialogue.Funding narrative change requires a different way of thinking than traditional grantmaking focused on discrete projects with short-term outcomes.

Children

Refugee Protection Travesty: Biden Asylum Ban Endangers and Punishes At-Risk Asylum Seekers

July 12, 2023

On May 12, 2023, the Biden administration began implementing its new bar to asylum through a final rule (the asylum ban).  While Biden administration officials have inaccurately touted it as "working," the grim reality is that the asylum ban is a refugee protection, humanitarian, and legal travesty. As detailed in this report, in the two months since its implementation, the Biden asylum ban has stranded vulnerable people in places where they are targets of kidnapping and violent assaults, rigged the credible fear process against people seeking asylum, and deported many without meaningful access to counsel and despite potential eligibility for asylum under U.S. law. The harm inflicted by the asylum ban is compounded by U.S. and Mexican government policies that block, deny, meter or further impede access to asylum and leave people in atrocious conditions as they wait to seek asylum under the ban.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers