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Building Meaningful Refugee Participation into Protection Policymaking

June 14, 2023

Around the world, many refugees find themselves in situations of protracted displacement. As states and international actors search for more effective ways to address protection and displacement challenges, one promising—but often underutilized—approach is to meaningfully involve refugees in crafting and implementing policy responses.Engaging affected communities in protection policymaking can take a variety of forms, including one-off consultations, individual refugee advisors or advisory boards, and refugees being appointed as senior leaders or hired as staff within organizations. Such approaches hold the potential to foster policies that better reflect the needs and priorities of refugee communities and, in doing so, improve protection outcomes. But care must be taken to go beyond tokenistic and inconsistent engagement, and more evidence is needed to understand which approaches are most impactful and under what circumstances.

Migration Narratives in Northern Central America: How Competing Stories Shape Policy and Public Opinion in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador

June 7, 2023

The stories told within a society about migration and migrants paint a rich picture of how its members view the opportunities and challenges associated with the movement of people, and through what lenses. These migration narratives both inform policymaking and shape the public's reaction to government policy, affecting the policies' chances of achieving their goals.While El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are primarily known for emigration to the United States and Mexico, these northern Central American countries have seen notable changes in migration trends in recent years. The number of migrants from South America and the Caribbean who transit through these countries on their way north has increased, as has the number of Central Americans returning to their countries of origin.

Unlocking Opportunities: Supporting English Learners’ Equitable Access to Career and Technical Education

April 19, 2023

Once considered a less-rigorous high school pathway, career and technical education (CTE) has experienced a renaissance since the 1990s, as more high-skilled and white-collar professions have been included in these elective course options. Research indicates that participation in CTE—especially taking more than one course in a single occupational area—is correlated with benefits in graduation rates and earnings as an adult.As CTE's scope and audience have grown, educators and advocates have brought attention to the need to ensure equitable access for historically marginalized student groups. For high school English Learners (ELs), who often face challenges to college and career readiness, CTE can play an important role in helping them stay engaged in school, graduate, and get on a path to a career providing a family-sustaining wage.

Changing the Playbook: Immigrants and the COVID-19 Response in Two U.S. Communities

July 27, 2022

U.S. cities and towns have responded to COVID-19 in ways that are as diverse as the communities they aim to support. This report looks at how two very different locations—Worthington, MN, and the greater Houston area—incorporated immigrants into their relief efforts, through partnerships, strategic outreach, targeted assistance, and more. The report also highlights useful lessons for responses to future emergencies.

COVID-19’s Effects on U.S. Immigration and Immigrant Communities, Two Years On

June 9, 2022

More than two years into the COVID-19 era, the United States has seen more than 1 million people die of the virus, and a sharp recession and uneven recovery that have caused hardship for many families. And while the pandemic has touched the lives of all U.S. residents, immigrants have been among the hardest hit. Understanding how the pandemic has reshaped U.S. immigration policies and levels, and how the pandemic and associated economic downturn and recovery have affected immigrant families, can guide better policymaking as the United States grapples with COVID-19's ongoing impacts and faces future public-health crises, natural disasters, and other emergencies.This report takes a look back. It first details immigration policy changes the U.S. government made after the emergence of COVID-19 and the effect these policy changes and visa processing challenges have had on immigration levels to the United States. Next, it describes the essential roles that immigrant workers have played during the pandemic in health care and other fields, and early evidence on the disproportionate impact of the novel coronavirus on immigrants' health. Finally, the report describes the high unemployment rates foreign-born workers experienced during the pandemic, the limited access many noncitizens have had to the safety nets that many citizens have relied upon after losing jobs, and innovative approaches states, localities, and nonprofit organizations have used to support immigrant families.

English Learner Testing during the Pandemic: An Early Readout and Look Ahead

May 17, 2022

In addition to upending daily life in the classroom, the pandemic has affected how states administer annual assessments to their students—disrupting a key means of collecting data on new or growing learning gaps that demand attention. This report explores how states have approached testing English Learners during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what 2020-21 assessment data can and cannot tell us.

From Fear to Solidarity: The Difficulty in Shifting Public Narratives about Refugees

May 3, 2022

Refugees and asylum seekers are alternatively depicted as heroes or security threats, victims or exceptional workers, exemplary neighbors or opportunists. And though public narratives are sometimes described as a binary, in reality, people can hold multiple, competing beliefs and opinions about forced migration and its impacts on society. They may, for example, experience pride in their country's humanitarian response and compassion for refugees alongside anxiety over changing cultural norms or fear of competition for scarce jobs, each of which can become more or less salient under different circumstances.These public attitudes can create or constrain the space needed for sensible and creative policy responses, as well as community cohesion. As a result, governments, international organizations, and advocates have invested in myriad programs and campaigns to bolster solidarity and defuse negative reactions to forced migrants. Yet, as this study discusses, changing people's minds is far from straightforward.This report—the first in the Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World initiative led by MPI and the Robert Bosch Stiftung—examines the different narratives that tend to emerge in communities welcoming forced migrants, looking at a variety of geographic, socioeconomic, and historical contexts. It also explores two categories of interventions that aim to address negative narratives about refugees and asylum seekers: information campaigns that aim to defuse threat narratives and "contact-building" initiatives that seek to build connections between refugees and host communities. The report concludes by offering strategies to promote solidarity and mitigate tensions.

Better Responses to Differing Immigration Statuses: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

What does it take to deliver 2Gen services to families, youth, and children whose various immigrant statuses may dictate different access to benefits and make sure all family members are supported, healthy, and feel welcome and safe in their place? Our brief on immigration status examines how service organizations can provide a sense of stability and security and create a supportive environment in which immigrant and refugee communities feel safe enough to seek help around immigration statuses. When organizations are prepared for this sensitive topic, they can serve an even more valuable role in ensuring that these communities feel safe and prepared for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Growing Language Skills with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

What can be done to help immigrant families with the language barrier as they work on improving their language skills? This brief focuses on the linguistic challenges many face as they try to acclimate to life in the United States or abroad when their native language is no longer dominant in their surroundings. From designing ESOL programs and curricula around the needs of families to recognizing and accounting for dialects when sharing resources or providing services, we took an in-depth look at how we can help families overcome the language barrier.

Cultural Competency Secrets to Success with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

The cultural shift for immigrant and refugee families can be welcomed for some and terrifying for others, but what are the cultural competency secrets to success that can best support these groups? As service providers build their understanding of and responsiveness to the cultures of their newer customers, they can more equitably engage with and effectively serve them, which leads to better outcomes for immigrant and refugee families and the local communities.

Building Trust with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

Trust between social service organizations and their clients is crucial to effectively provide services to immigrant and refugee families. Our brief on building trust with these groups explores how we can form these relationships and sustain them long-term to best serve these vulnerable communities.

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.