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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.

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.

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.

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.

Responding to the ECEC Needs of Children of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe and North America

April 1, 2018

This report explores the findings of a nine-country study of ECEC policies and practices designed to serve young children of refugees and asylum seekers. It draws on fieldwork conducted in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States—major host countries with varied refugee and asylum-seeker populations, migration-management policies, and ECEC systems—to highlights both common challenges and promising practices.

Connecting the Dots: Emerging Migration Trends and Policy Questions in North and Central America

March 7, 2018

North America and the Central American countries of the Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—represent one of the world's most dynamic migration corridors, with millions traveling from, through, or to these countries in recent decades. The United States has the world's largest immigrant population; Canada has one of the highest immigration rates per capita; and Mexico and Central America have significant shares of their nationals abroad, primarily in the United States. However, policies and public perceptions around immigration, especially in the United States, are not keeping up with emerging shifts in the region's migration.

Immigrant Health-Care Workers in the United States

June 28, 2017

Despite making up only 13 percent of the total U.S. population, immigrants represent a vital portion of the growing health-care industry comprising 17 percent, or 2.1 million, of the 12.4 million medical professionals in the United States. This report uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide a demographic and socioeconomic overview of immigrants working in health-care occupations with particular attention to their proficiency in English, educational background, nationality, gender, and access to health insurance. The paper finds that three-quarters of immigrants in the field display a high level of English proficiency. Moreover, foreign-born medical professionals are more likely to possess a bachelor's degree compared to the U.S.-born in the same field. There are also a disproportionately high number of foreign-born medical professionals in both high- and low-skilled positions: 28 percent of physicians and surgeons and 24 percent of nurses and home health aides are foreign-born. The report suggests that there is a growing need for foreign-born professionals in the health-care workforce, which is projected to add 2.3 million jobs between 2014 and 2024. However, numerous obstacles exist for foreign-born doctors and others to obtain permanent resident status, as the U.S. immigration system does not prioritize the admission of immigrant health-care professionals. 

New Brain Gain: Rising Human Capital among Recent Immigrants to the United States

May 31, 2017

Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that almost half (48 percent) of immigrants coming to the United States between 2011 and 2015 were college graduates (compared to 31 percent of U.S.-born adults in 2015). In contrast, the highly skilled represented just 27 percent of arrivals during the five-year period ending in 1990. This rise in immigrants' educational attainment is correlated with increasing flows from Asia, although it should be noted that about one-quarter of recent immigrants from Latin America are college graduates. Higher levels of bilingualism and English language proficiency accompany this increase in human capital.