The American Immigrant Policy Portal

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The Contributions of New Americans 
New American Economy, August, 2015
As part of its "Reasons for Reform" campaign, the Partnership has produced 51 reports on the "Contributions of New Americans" in each of the states and the District of Columbia. Each report begins with a demographic overview, followed by a description of the role played by immigrant entrepreneurs in stimulating the local economy. The reports also detail the contributions of immigrants to specific industries, such as agriculture, the various STEM fields, and healthcare. Other topics include: immigrants and the housing market, immigrant tax contributions, and the role of international students.  Consistent with the Partnership's position that the American economy would benefit from an increase in the number of immigrant visas issued for employment purposes, each report also includes an analysis of "visa demand" in each state, along with an estimate as to the number of jobs that might be created locally from an increase in the availability of such visas. The reports also break out the undocumented population from the larger immigrant population, showing for example, the industries that have the largest share of undocumented workers.  Finally, the reports provide estimates as to the economic benefits that might accrue from campaigns to promote naturalization among eligible immigrants.


Rising Arizona: The Legacy of the Jim Crow Southwest on Immigration Law and Policy after 100 Years of Statehood,
Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, Forthcoming, May 22, 2014, 38 pp.
Author: Kristina M. Campbell

This article argues that Arizona's efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants are "merely the newest incarnation of the State's long history of discriminatory laws against racial and ethnic minorities..." The first section of the paper reviews the early history of the Arizona territory, including the enslavement of Native Americans prior to the Civil War, Arizona's support for the confederacy during the War, and the passage of race-based exclusion laws directed at U.S. citizens of Mexican origin after the War. An important reason why Arizona was the last contiguous state to acquire statehood (admitted to the Union in 1912) was that the majority of its inhabitants were non-white, even if they were denied basic rights and opportunities. Originally part of a single territory with New Mexico, Arizona finally joined the Union as a separate state, because the White people of Arizona "fought bitterly against their potential inclusion with new Mexico and its large, powerful Hispanic population." After admission to the Union, the Arizona legislature continued a pattern of race-based restrictions on non-White minorities. In 1915, for example, the state legislature passed law restricting non-citizen employment to no more than 20 percent of any company's employees -- a law ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as a violation of federal preemption. The author also traces the history of the Phoenix Indian School, which not only sought to eradicate Native American culture in the younger generation but also  "prepared the children for a lifetime of servitude as members of a permanent underclass."  She also chronicles the prohibitions against American Indian voting in the state, which persisted until 1948.  The final section of the paper looks at the more recent anti-immigrant measures and finds that they are "really race-based exclusion laws in disguise." The author concludes: "More than one hundred years after first gaining statehood, Arizona remains a place that is strongly influenced by its history of war, genocide, colonization, and racism."

New Americans in San Diego
New American Economy, February 2, 2018, 9 pp.
The immigrant population in San Diego County (CA), after growing 8.5 percent between 2011 and 2016, now constitutes 24.1 percent of the County's population.  The fact sheet from New American Economy offers demographic, economic, education, housing, and immigration status data on immigrants in the County, as well as two profiles of local immigrant entrepreneurs. Using an analysis of government data including the 2011 and 2016 American Community Surveys and datasets from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the fact sheet shows that immigrants make significant economic contributions to San Diego County through tax payments, labor force participation, and job creation.  Immigrants, for example, are 22.7 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than U.S.-born residents. Nearly 7,000 non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents were enrolled in San Diego colleges during the fall of 2015, supporting an estimated 8,816 jobs. The fact sheet also discusses the economic impact of the county's refugee and undocumented immigrant populations (Deb D'Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute).

Toward a Healthy California: Why Improving Access to Medical Insurance for Unauthorized Immigrants Matters for the Golden State,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, December, 2015, 69 pp.
Authors: Enrico A. Marcelli, Manuel Pastor, and Steven P. Wallace
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) greatly reduced the number of uninsured American, it left out one important group according to this report: unauthorized immigrants. In California, where seven percent of the population is undocumented, this has been problematic-59 percent of the state's 2.95 million unauthorized immigrants have no health insurance. California is a leader in providing coverage for the undocumented. As of January 2016, undocumented children are eligible for coverage statewide. Counties have taken additional steps; 48 of California's 58 counties now offer some coverage for undocumented adults. However, reliance on a patchwork of local programs is tenuous, as funding may dry up during financial downturns or changes in priorities. The best way to close the gap in coverage for undocumented immigrants is at the federal level. Immigration reform, when it eventually is passed, should include health care access. In the interim, the ACA should be revised to include coverage without regard to immigration status. Short of that, it should be expanded to include coverage for those with a provisional status such as DACA. State and local policy should also include the creation of funding streams to support insurance coverage, as has been the case in California. Just as important to the expansion of coverage is commitment to outreach to make sure undocumented immigrants take advantage of coverage when they have it (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).

Looking Forward: Immigrant Contributions to the Golden State,
California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), 2014
Editor: John Rodney (CIPC); Principal Researcher: Jared Sanchez, Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California

Immigrants make outsized contributions to California compared to their share of population, buttress the workforce and small business sector and have a potentially significant impact on the political future of the state. These are among the conclusions in Looking Forward: Immigrant Contributions to the Golden State, a study that  also provides detailed examinations of seven regions of the state. Based on data analysis done by the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, the study notes that while immigrants make up 27 percent of California's population (highest in the country), they constitute more than one-third of the workforce, are more likely than the native-born to be self-employed and contribute $650 billion annually (31 percent) to the state's GDP. In terms of civic participation, immigrants are becoming increasingly influential as they gain citizenship and, thus, become eligible to vote or run for office. The report estimates that by 2015, immigrants eligible to naturalize and the already naturalized will represent as much as 33 percent of California's electorate. While regional differences exist in terms of workforce participation (in the Inland Empire region, for example, immigrants make up 56 percent of the labor force), educational attainment (immigrants account for 47 percent of PhD holders in the Bay Area region) and naturalization (52 percent of the foreign-born in Sacramento are citizens), the report underscores the vital role immigrants play and their increasing influence on the direction of the state. (Denzil Mohammed)

Critical Choices in Post-Recession California: Investing in the Educational and Career success of Immigrant Youth,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2014, 113 pp.
Authors: Sarah Hooker, Margie McHugh, & Michael Fix
California hosts one-quarter of the nation's immigrants and one-third of the entire population of English Language Learners (ELLs). As such, the state's education system must be both robust and malleable in helping immigrant children achieve academic and career success. However, in this report funded by the Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York, the authors find cause for alarm. California ranks 46th in the nation in its rate of high school completion, and immigrant students lag behind their non-immigrant peers at all levels of the educational system, which suffered a severe shock during the recession as funding cuts weakened the state's educational infrastructure. In interviews with educators and community leaders as well as analysis of Census data, the authors find that, despite emerging from the recession, the state is not yet on track to produce a sufficient number of college graduates to meet the projected needs of its economy. The report provides many examples of ways in which some California school districts, adult education providers, community colleges, and community-based organizations "have kept immigrant youth and ELLs at the center of their innovative education reform efforts..." To improve college enrollment and retention rates among immigrant young adults, the authors recommend the state education system expand the learning time for ELL high school students by expanding the school day and restoring summer school opportunities; improve teaching training, especially for content area teachers; and increase capacity in the adult education system, which must respond to the needs of the 29 percent of immigrant young adults between the ages of 21 and 26 without a high school diploma. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)

Ensuring California's Future by Insuring California's Undocumented: Why Excluding Undocumented Californians from the Affordable Care Act Hurts All of Us,
San Diego State University, USC Dornsife Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, May, 2014, 10 pp.
Authors: Enrico Marcelli, Manuel Pastor, & Steve Wallace

This report develops the rationale for extending health insurance coverage to undocumented immigrants in the State of California. Undocumented immigrants are excluded from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and ineligible for private health insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansion, and the Basic Health Program, which impacts up to 1.5 million uninsured in California. Meanwhile, federal funding for hospitals providing care to the uninsured is being reduced. On the state level, California is cutting funding for low-income and uninsured medical services on the county-level in response to the ACA. State Senator Lara has proposed expansion of Medi-Cal and the establishment of a private insurance exchange for undocumented individuals. According to the report, undocumented immigrants are valuable to the California economy as they pay $2.7B in sales and taxes.  Additionally, the 2.6 million undocumented comprise nearly 7 percent of the state's population and work in major industries such as agriculture, construction, personal services, and retail. With a median income of $20,000 for full-time undocumented workers, up to 75 percent of undocumented individuals lack medical insurance. Despite legal fears, evidence shows undocumented individuals would sign up if medical insurance were offered.  Benefits of insurance coverage include: improved health, health care, and quality of life; preventive care; reduced psychological distress; and preventing financial crisis. However, barriers to reaching the undocumented population include: a lack of cultural sensitivity on the part of providers, linguistic and physical accessibility, and fear of deportation. Establishing partnerships with CBO's could help address these problems. Historically, Californians have given bipartisan support to immigration laws favoring undocumented immigrants and state sovereignty in immigrant policy making. (Colin Liebtag, Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work)

What's at Stake for the State: Undocumented Californians, Immigration Reform, and Our Future Together,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, May, 2013, 49 pp.
Authors: Manual Pastor & Enrico A. Marcelli
With 23 percent of the nation's undocumented population, California has a major stake in the outcome of the immigration reform debate. Commissioned by four local foundations, this report analyzes the characteristics of the California undocumented population with detailed tables for eight major regions of the state. The tables permit comparisons of the undocumented with citizens and documented immigrants along such variables as poverty rates, educational attainment, and child poverty. The tables also give the racial and nationality backgrounds of the undocumented, along with the industries in which they work.  The researchers also calculate the net gain to California and its regions of putting undocumented immigrants on the path to citizenship. The authors suggest that "California should begin planning for what comes the day after reform."  Knowing that the newly legalized will likely lack access to health care and other social services, the authors stress the importance of "build(ing) the public will for necessary investments as well as new public-private collaborations..."

California Immigrant Integration Scorecard,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, September, 2012, 46 pp.
This report examines the progress made by 10 California regions (generally counties) in integrating their immigrant populations. It looks at 28 indicators including economic mobility and civic participation to gauge the pace of integration and to reveal promising strategies for improving immigrant integration. Regions received composite and sub-category scores on a scale from 0 to 5. The report found that Santa Clara County (composite score of 4.0) showed the most progress toward integration while Fresno (score of 2.0) showed the least. Economic gaps between immigrants and the native-born were small in San Diego and Sacramento but great in San Francisco and Los Angeles, traditionally among the most welcoming regions of the state. The report identifies common policy concerns that emerged through the state, including poor English language acquisition, lack of affordable housing, uneven healthcare access, and negative media depictions of immigrants, and recommends the creation of a statewide body to coordinate immigrant integration efforts. A companion Technical Report explains the methodology used in generating data for the Scorecard. (Denzil Mohammed)

Profile of Immigrants in Napa County,
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2012, 67 pp.

Commissioned by the Napa Valley Community Foundation, this study focuses on the economic and fiscal impacts of the County's immigrant population, which reached 23 percent of the overall population in 2010. Immigrants, however, comprised higher shares of workers in key industries related to wine production (73 percent of agricultural workers, 39 percent of manufacturing workers, i.e. beverage production, and 29 percent of hospitality workers).  Despite the higher incomes available to immigrants in Napa County compared to other parts of California, 46 percent had less than a high school education, compared to 4 percent of U.S.-born workers, making their prospects for advancement dependent on access to appropriate adult education programs. The report also calls for private investments to maintain the quality of the county's public schools so that they can address the needs of current or former English language learners, who constitute 45 percent of all children in the public schools.

Measures of Immigrant Integration in Los Angeles County,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, and Rob Paral and Associates, June, 2011, 17 pp.

Seeking to overcome the limitations of standard point-in-time comparisons of immigrants and native-born groups, the author of this report tracks the progress of a cohort of Los Angeles County immigrants who entered the U.S. during the 1980s and who were between the ages of 25 and 34 at the time of the 1990 census.  Snapshots of this group are taken in 2000 and 2006-08. Data is also disaggregated for the eight largest immigrant communities in the County. Among the observed variables are: educational gains (high school and college completion rates), poverty levels, rates of home ownership, and family income.  There are many positive developments during  this period, including a "sharp drop in immigrant poverty levels" and a climb in immigrant home ownership. However, few immigrant groups were able to narrow the gap in family income between themselves and native-born whites, and college completion rates remain low for some of the largest immigrant communities, e.g. only 5.4% of Mexicans had college degrees by the end of the study period.

Where is the Fire?  Immigrants and Crime in California,
Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, University of California, October 1, 2010, 16 pp

This study finds no support for the presumed nexus between immigration and crime. Indeed, during the period from 1991 to 2008, when immigration to the state soared, rates of violent crime and serious property crime in the state as a whole, as well as in the counties and cities along the border with Mexico, declined significantly. In San Diego County, for example, the violent crime rate went down by 58% during this period and the rate of serious property crime declined by 35%. Although this study does not posit a correlation between an increase in immigration and a decline in crime (other factors may have contributed to the decline), the "data offer no support for the assertion that immigration increases crime..."

A State Resilient:  Immigrant Integration and California's Future,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California (USC), June, 2010, 13 pp.
In this brief, the authors question the methodology and findings of a June 2010 report published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) entitled "A State Transformed:  Immigration and the New California."  The CIS report linked immigration to declining high school completion rates and rising inequality in the state. Specifically, the state was the seventh most educated state in 1970 but 50thin 2008. The USC brief accuses the authors of the CIS report of "cherry-picking" facts to support their anti-immigration bias. The authors point out that California's median household income during this period of heavy immigration rose from 10th in the nation to 8th. They also note that any slippage in college completion rates seems attributable to the native born, rather than to immigrants, who currently constitute 40% of 25-64 years olds with doctorate degrees in California.  Finally, the authors point out that the economic fortunes of immigrants who didn't graduate from high school in their home countries (and who arrived in the U.S. at age 19 or older) are considerably better than native-born non-high school completers.

New Patterns of Immigrant Settlement in California,
Public Policy Institute of California, July, 2009, 40 pp.
This report discusses California's "decline in popularity" among immigrants, as evidenced by its falling share of the nation's immigrant population. Although still the state with the highest number of immigrants, its percentage of the nation's immigrant population dropped from its historic high of 32.7% in the eighties to  26.4% in 2007. A process of immigrant dispersal has taken place within the nation and within California itself, as counties within the state that previously had not seen large immigrant populations, such as Alameda and Sacramento,  show much higher growth than traditional gateway communities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. During the same period, the educational level of new immigrants to California has risen, with declines in the number of immigrants without high school diplomas and increases in the number of college graduates. The report also comes to a "striking conclusion,"  i.e. that there has been a "decline in social factors as a driver of location choice" among immigrants. The magnet of a pre-existing immigrant community may be less strong today in attracting new immigrants than the availability of good jobs at above average wages. Finally, the report notes a reveral of the trend of native-born Americans leaving areas of high immigrant concentration. Instead, both native-born and immigrants seem to be moving to the same destinations.

Colorado Refugee Services Program, February 22, 2016, 67 pp.
The Refugee Integration Survey and Evaluation (RISE) Year Five: Final Report summarizes the results of a longitudinal survey administered to a cohort of 467 newly arrived refugees in Denver from 2011 to 2015 with the goal of assessing their integration into U.S. society during the initial years of resettlement. The survey was based on the principles of Community-based Research and Ager and Strand's framework assessing refugee integration across 10 pathways such as employment, housing, language and safety. An overall high retention rate of 70 percent of respondents was due to the "community connector" model through which embedded members of target communities assisted with data collection and interpreting. Using quantitative measures, as well as qualitative data from interviews and focus groups, the analysis of overall integration showed that 98 percent of respondents advanced toward high integration with men and women progressing at the same rate. Low integrators tended to be older refugees with a high degree of social isolation and a lack of English skills, cultural knowledge and ability to improve their integration level. In addition, cluster analyses identify high- and low-integrating groups, the latter scoring lower on economic sufficiency, social bridging and language. The authors conclude with suggestions for a number of follow-up studies, including geo-mapping the influence of neighborhood on integration outcomes, an examination of how family variables influence integration, and a "critical pathways study," a shortened version of Rise that could be administered easily by refugee service organizations. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Integrating Immigrants in Colorado: Accomplishments, Challenges and Lessons Learned,
A report based on the evaluation of The Colorado Trust's Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families Initiative, October, 2011, 33 pp.
The Colorado Trust launched an immigrant integration initiative in 2004, awarding 10, five-year grants during Cycle 1 and 9 grants during Cycle 2. This report, prepared by an independent investigator, evaluates the results of the first cycle of grant-funded projects. The Trust required grantees to follow a "two-way street" definition of integration but encouraged them to tailor their grant requests to the needs of their local communities.  Facilitation and technical assistance to grantees was provided by the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning. Grantees pursued seven main strategies, two of which were to "create opportunities for immigrants and receiving community members to interact and get to know one another" and "to help receiving community members learn more about the cultures of the newcomers in their community."  Among issues that surfaced during the grant period were how to definite and whether to use the word "immigrant," the desirable background and qualifications for project managers, and the appropriateness of advocacy/lobbying for achieving systems change. The report summarizes the accomplishments of the various projects, as well as efforts to sustain the projects beyond the period of grant support.


Understanding the Impact of Immigration in Greater New Haven,
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, January, 2015, 20 pp.
Authors:  Mary Buchanan & Mark Abraham

Since the year 2000, New Haven has experienced a sharp increase in its immigrant population, making it "the fastest growing city in Connecticut" despite only modest growth in its native-born population. Understanding the Impact of Immigration in Greater New Haven uses survey and Census data as well as local and national statistics, interviews and field work to detail the social and economic impact of immigration on the Greater New Haven area. Now constituting one-eighth of Greater New Haven's population, immigrants are more likely than the native-born to be employed and more likely than the foreign-born elsewhere in the U.S. to be high-skilled, i.e. have a college degree. Immigrants also stimulate the local housing market and open small businesses that revitalize neighborhoods, such as the Ninth Square business district. Schools are adapting their curriculums to serve non-English-speaking students and myriad festivals and ethnic organizations enrich the cultural landscape. In producing this report, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven shows that it is "making immigrant integration a strategic focus" of its grantmaking. (Ariella Katz Suchow for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)


Immigrants in Iowa: What New Iowans Contribute to the State Economy,
The Iowa Policy Project, July, 2014, 16 pp.
Authors: Heather Gibney & Peter Fisher

Although immigrants make up only 4.3 percent of Iowa's population, they account for 4.5 percent of the state's economic output, according to this report from the Iowa Policy Project. Moreover, 83.5 percent of immigrants are of prime working age (between 18 and 64), compared to 60.5 percent of native-born Iowans. Immigrants are overrepresented in certain occupations in Iowa, e.g. 56.3 Percent of meat cutters; 33.2 percent of packers, fillers, and wrappers; and 16.3 percent of software developers. Immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, contribute to the state's economy by starting businesses, creating jobs, spending money as consumers, paying state and federal taxes, and "contribut(ing) to the vitality and culture of Iowa communities." The report takes a closer look at the undocumented subset of Iowa's immigrant population which represents about 2.5 percent of the state's population, or about 75,000 persons. They contribute about $37 million in federal payroll taxes and $64 million in state taxes, yet are barred from accessing most federal, state and local government programs. The authors estimate that work authorization for Iowa's undocumented population would boost state and local tax contributions by $16.5 million.


The Impact of Immigrants in Maryland: Final Report,
Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland, February 8, 2012, 36 pp.

In order "to provide fact-based and objective information concerning ... the demographic, economic, and fiscal impacts of immigration," the Maryland General Assembly authorized the creation of a special commission in 2008. As part of its work, the Commission was tasked with studying "the benefits and costs of unauthorized immigration, including impacts on income distribution, crime, education, and health care." The Commission, consisting of 19 members, with staff support provided by the University of Maryland (Dept. of Economics) and the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, began its deliberations in May of 2010. This is the final report of the Commission.  The report is notable for its critique of a FAIR study of unauthorized immigration in Maryland. The Commission also concludes that "a healthy and growing economy needs immigrants of all types" and that "programs that enroll local law agencies in enforcing immigration law can work against the interests of Maryland's communities." The Commission also produced a supplemental report, containing background information, minutes of Commission meetings, and evidence for several of the findings in the report.

The Integration of Immigrants and Their Families in Maryland: A Look at
Children of Immigrants and Their Families in Maryland
Prepared for the Annie E. Casey Foundation by The Urban Institute, June, 2010, 65 p
This is the second in a two-part examination of the immigrant population in the State of Maryland. This report provides a detailed portrait of the children of immigrants and their families.  The number of Maryland children with at least one immigrant parent more than doubled from 121,000 in 1990 to 253,000 in 2006. Without this increase, the state's population would have stagnated or declined, due to the low fertility rate of native-born white parents. The report also provides information on the 69,000 children of immigrants living in low-income families, i.e. families with incomes below twice the poverty level.  Although many enjoy "protective" factors, such as a higher percentage of two-parent families than among children of native families, they also face special burdens, such as lower rates of participation in center-based care and more crowded housing, burdens which need to be taken into consideration in designing effective educational and social policies.


Profiles of Boston’s Latinos,
Boston Planning & Development Agency, June 2017, 77 pp.

Although the various Latino nationality groups in Boston are often described as a single ethnic group, there is great diversity within the Latino community. Profiles of Boston’s Latinos by the Boston Planning & Development Agency captures this diversity by examining the seven largest Latino groups in Boston: Puerto Rican (28 percent of total Latino population), Dominican (24 percent), Salvadoran (11 percent), Colombian (6 percent), Mexican (5 percent), Brazilian (3 percent), and Guatemalan (3 percent). Using data from the U.S. Census, 2011-2015 American Community Survey and Public Use Microdata Sample, the authors review demographic variables, educational attainment, means of transportation, standard of living and workforce information for each group. The report also includes maps showing the geographic distribution of each Latino group in Boston. Although Latino nationality groups share some characteristics, such as low homeownership, they also display some marked differences; 37.3 percent of Brazilians, for example, have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to only 7.9 percent of Salvadorans. Colombians show a 79 percent labor force participation rate, far exceeding the combined Latino rate of 66 percent. Despite similar shares of Latinos and non-Latinos working (66 percent vs 68 percent), Latinos are less likely to achieve middle class status or own a home (Yuki Wiland for the Immigrant Learning Center ‘s Public Education Institute)

Imagine All the People (Profiles of Boston’s immigrant communities)
Boston Redevelopment Authority, April, 2016
“Imagine All the People” is a series of 15 publications produced by the Boston Redevelopment Authority for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement. Each publication provides a detailed profile of Boston immigrants from a particular country, including educational attainment, income and occupational characteristics, housing status, and neighborhoods of settlement. The following countries are covered: Barbados, Brazil, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.

Challenges in Accessing Early Childhood Education and Care for Children in Refugee Families in Massachusetts,
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2016, 30 pp.
Authors: Jeff Gross & Christine Ntagengwa
Refugee parents often have greater difficulty accessing high-quality childcare than their native-born counterparts. However, Massachusetts has made significant inroads in addressing this gap as the first state to create an agency with the sole focus of managing and improving early childhood education and care (ECEC). The Migration Policy Institute report Challenges in Addressing Early Childhood Education Care in Children in Refugee Families in Massachusetts uses data and interviews with refugee organizations, state agencies and ECEC service providers to assess the state's track record in providing high quality childcare for refugee families. Some of the institutional barriers include limited resource-sharing and cooperation among social service providers, and the dearth of training available to resettlement staff. Cultural barriers include refugees' lack of English skills or knowledge of how to access subsidized childcare. Refugee parents also face time constraints that prevent them from fully researching available childcare providers, as they are usually required to obtain employment shortly after arriving in the U.S. The report notes the serious shortage of data on refugee children in the child welfare system. For this reason, the report calls for better data tracking to ensure that policy initiatives are adequately addressing the needs of refugee families. The report concludes with policy recommendations such as improving interagency cooperation, strengthening cultural training for childcare providers and focusing resettlement efforts on areas with large concentrations of ECEC providers. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Immigrants as a Potential Source of Growth for New England's Highly Skilled Workforce,
New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, December, 2013, 4 pp.
Author: Tara Watson

In "Immigrants as a Potential Source of Growth for New England's Highly Skilled Workforce," author Tara Watson shows that growth in the New England college-educated workforce lags other parts of the U.S.   In order to sustain and improve the high-tech and innovation sectors, the drivers of the region's economy, it is particularly important for students graduating in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to remain and join the workforce. In her report, drawing on American Community Survey 2006-14 data, Watson addresses the question: How successful is New England in attracting and retaining foreign-born college graduates? Watson finds that New England does well in attracting foreign-born college graduates but is less successful in retaining them. On the one hand, immigrants aged 16 and older make up nearly 10 per cent of young college graduates in New England, and they are more likely than natives to study STEM fields. On the other hand, once they graduate, 8.4 per cent of foreign-born college students leave the region for other parts of the country which is nearly twice the number leaving the Pacific states. One suggestion to improve its retention rate of foreign-born college graduates, Watson notes, is for New England companies to better access H1-B and OPT visa programs. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)

Going for Growth: Promoting Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts Gateway Cities
MassInc Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, February, 2013, 15 pp.
Authors: Benjamin Forman and Sandra Larson

The "gateway cities" of Massachusetts have put out a welcome mat for immigrants for generations. A century ago, these cities attracted workers to the factories and textile mills with the promise of upward mobility and job security. Recently, these cities have attracted a wave of new immigrants who found shuttered factories and desolate central business districts. However, utilizing their entrepreneurial spirit, they started businesses. In a short space of time, their storefronts stimulated urban revitalization and economic growth. With instructive examples and case studies from the field, this policy brief offers lessons for urban planners and economic development professionals interested in encouraging entrepreneurship among the foreign-born. These techniques include more creative placemaking that takes the unique character and vision of the city into consideration; business development, that connects entrepreneurs to the financial and other resources they need to grow their businesses; and entrepreneurial education, that can foster and promote a climate of entrepreneurship in the city toward its overall economic development. (Denzil Mohammed)

Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Workers in Leisure and Hospitality Businesses:  Massachusetts and New England,
The Immigrant Learning Center (ILC), 2010, 45 pp.
This is the latest in a series of research studies commissioned by The ILC analyzing the role of immigrants as entrepreneurs, workers and consumers. The Leisure and Hospitality sector is the 4th largest employer in the Massachusetts private sector employing 302,547 workers or 9.3% of the state's total population. Although immigrants constitute ca 14% of the state's population, they make up ca 25.5% of all workers in this sector, with even larger percentages in the hotel and travel accommodations subsectors. Moreover, foreign-born workers in this industry show high rates of entrepreneurship and are having "an enormous and positive impact on local economies."


Michigan: We Are All Migrants Here, Immigrant Engine of Economic Growth Threatened by Trump Administration Policy,
Michigan Economic Center & Global Detroit, 2017, 19 pp.
Authors:  John Austin, Akaash Kolluri, Steve Tobocman
This report is a clarion call from two Michigan economic development organizations to recognize and support the significant contributions that immigrants are making to the revival of the Michigan economy. The authors are concerned that the gains that the state has made in creating an immigrant-friendly environment are being undermined by policies of the Trump Administration. Although immigrants constitute only 6 percent of the state's population, they punch above their weight on many indices of economic activity, including being 25 percent of the state's high-tech start-ups and running firms that employ over 150,000 other people. Immigrants have also brought an infusion of talent and labor to offset the decline in the native-born population over the last 15 years. The authors summarize the many initiatives the state has taken with the support of state, municipal, and industry leaders to promote the state as an immigrant-friendly destination, including the creation of the Michigan Office of New Americans by Republican Governor Rick Snyder. However, policies of the Trump Administration, such as the scaling back of H-1B visas, the travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries, and reductions in refugee admissions, threaten to reverse these gains.

Filling the Talent Gap: Mobilizing Michigan's International Student Potential
Global Detroit, Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative, 2016, 32 pp.
Authors: Ryan Etzcorn & Steve Tobocman

Filling the Talent Gap is an update to a 2013 report by the Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative about the use of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program by international students at seven Michigan universities. The OPT program allows international students who have earned a postsecondary degree to work full-time in the United States for up to 12 months or up to 36 months if they are science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree holders. The report utilizes data from several sources to show that international student retention has enhanced regional economic competitiveness and that Southeast Michigan has been particularly effective in using OPT to retain international talent. STEM fields are projected to have large employment supply shortfalls across the United States and Michigan, and international students could be an important key to filling that talent gap. Foreign students currently comprise a significant proportion of STEM graduates, the rate of international student enrollments is growing, and OPT users are highly concentrated in STEM fields, especially PhD graduates. For example, in recent years more than 60 percent of STEM Ph.D. graduates in Michigan have been international students while the number of students using OPT to work in the state has almost doubled between 2011 and 2015. To improve the use of global talent, the authors suggest raising awareness about the underutilization of OPT and addressing barriers that prevent employers from engaging foreign students. (Jasmina Popaja  for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)


New Americans and a New Direction,
New American Economy and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, October, 2017, 53 pp.
This report examines population and demographic trends in the Great Lakes region and argues that immigrants are playing a key role in boosting the region's lagging population growth, especially among the working-age and college-educated populations. The report looks closely at the region's manufacturing, health care, and agricultural sectors. With manufacturing and health care, the arrival of college-educated immigrants is helping employers fill key positions that make possible the creation of working-class jobs that-in the manufacturing sector-are reversing decades of declining employment. In agriculture, immigrants are filling key entry-level jobs that are less appealing to working-class, native-born Americans. Without these workers, employers would have to cut back production and reduce the number of jobs available to native-born workers employed in farm-related industries. The report then turns to an examination of immigrant entrepreneurship. Between 2000 and 2015, 90 percent of 25 metro areas in the region experienced an increase in the number of immigrant entrepreneurs, with about half of those metro areas experiencing an increase of 100 percent or more. The report also examines the spending power, home ownership, and taxes paid by immigrants in the region. The report notes that between 2000 and 2015, the number of U.S.-born homeowners declined by 0.6 percent, while the number of immigrant homeowners increased by more than 36 percent. This increase in immigrant home ownership helped stabilize local property markets and boost home values. In conclusion, the report notes that immigrants have played a crucial role in stemming economic decline in the region, and the recognition of this fact by government and business leaders has led to the creation of more than 20 local economic development initiatives targeted at immigrants. These efforts have put the region ahead of other parts of the country in terms of thinking about the role immigrants can play in a local economic development strategy. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Heartland Hospitality: Serving the Needs of the Midwest Economy through Immigration,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, August, 2017, 33 pp.
Author:  Sara McElmurry
This paper looks at five key challenges facing the hospitality industry in the Midwest-an industry that is responsible for 10 percent of all jobs in the region. For a variety of reasons, the industry is facing a significant challenge in filling jobs. In some cases, businesses are closing for lack of workers. The shortage of workers overall has led to a dependence on immigrant workers, but there is limited availability of immigrant and non-immigrant visas to meet employer needs. The various temporary worker visas that do exist are insufficient, or are not a good fit for the year-around needs of many employers. Temporary visas also are prone to abuse by unscrupulous employers. The third challenge, resulting from the first two, is a dependence on undocumented workers. The hospitality industry depends on undocumented workers to a greater extent than any other industry, including construction and agriculture. Through stepped-up deportations, the industry could lose close to a million workers, with a resulting decrease in related employment of between 4 and 6.8 million nationwide. A fourth challenge is the prospect of mandatory use of the E-Verify program, to ensure workers are legally authorized to work, without other reforms to ensure a legal workforce. A fifth challenge is the lack of a visa that could be used by immigrant entrepreneurs to start new businesses. The report discusses some of the federal legislation that could help address these challenges, and makes a set of recommendations informed by various industry stakeholders-including employers, trade associations, and labor advocates (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).

Reimagining the Midwest:  Immigration Initiatives and the Capacity of Local Leadership,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and American Immigration Council, September, 2014, 17 pp.
Authors:  Juliana Kerr, Paul McDaniel, Melissa Guinan

In the face of federal inaction on immigration policy, city, state and regional leaders in the Midwest are implementing measures to encourage economic growth and build stronger communities by integrating immigrants. This report catalogs many of these initiatives so as to guide groups outside the region seeking models for effective immigrant policies and to encourage the exchange of best practices within the region. The report identifies state, city, metropolitan and private sector initiatives plus the work of regional and national immigrant integration networks. These include state and city offices for New Americans, such as the (Chicago) Mayor's Office of New Americans which focuses on law enforcement, education and business growth as they relate to immigrants. Civic initiatives such as Global Cleveland utilize private funding to tailor their services to both welcoming and immigrant communities including "how to" tutorials for immigrant workers and employers seeking to hire immigrant workers. Other initiatives, such as the St. Louis Mosaic Project, are broad collaborations that leverage the capacities of organizations in business, government and the community to make better use of resources in order to reach a common goal. Although the authors acknowledge that the Midwest is by no means a perfect model, its many creative approaches stand as examples of what can be done on the local level in the absence of federal action. (Denzil Mohammed)


The Economic Potential of African Immigrants in Minnesota,
Concordia University, St. Paul, May, 2015, 44 pp.
Author: Bruce P. Corrie

The economic contributions of African immigrants in Minnesota are greater than previously estimated and deserve more attention from policymakers and mainstream businesses, according to this study funded by the McKnight Foundation. The author contends that Census numbers underreport this contribution. In The Economic Potential of African Immigrants in Minnesota, the author addresses this and other gaps in research on African immigrants in the state, utilizing immigrant networks and supporting community organizations to survey more than 500 people from a diverse group of African immigrants.  Supplementing this research with additional data from the American Community Survey, a survey of local African immigrant business owners, and a November 2014 election online exit poll that included African immigrant voters, the report also creates estimates on African immigrant consumer spending, business ownership, and civic contributions. The author estimates African immigrant income in Minnesota to be $1.6 billion annually, some of which stems from their entrepreneurial spirit: at least 7.8 percent of the African immigrants surveyed were self-employed, 10.5 percent ran home-based businesses, and 28.2 percent had hopes of owning their own business. To incorporate the great economic potential in the African immigrant community into the larger economy, the author offers recommendations for Minnesota policymakers including partnering with community organizations and developing alternative loan pools. (Carieta Thomas for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Immigrant Contributions to Minnesota's Economy,
Partnership for a New American Economy, Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, AS/COA, October 30, 2014, 11 pp.

An increasing population of immigrants in Minnesota is helping to offset weaknesses in the labor force, tax revenue and housing market. Immigrant Contributions to Minnesota's Economy shows how immigrants are a crucial part of the workforce and tax base, help to revitalize declining neighborhoods, create jobs for U.S.-born workers and help to sustain public services and programs such as Medicare and Social Security. The report notes that, as Baby Boomers retire, tax bases are shrinking leaving local and state governments struggling for funds. Using data from the American Community Survey, Congressional Budget Office, Minnesota Department of Revenue and published research studies, the report shows that immigrant populations in Minnesota have increased by 55 percent since 2000 helping to offset this decrease among tax-payers by contributing more than $1.2 billion in taxes in 2013 alone. Immigrants in Minnesota have higher educational attainment than U.S.-born residents and are both bolstering the workforce and creating more jobs as entrepreneurs. In fact, 40 percent of Minnesota's Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or child of an immigrant. Additionally, immigrants were found to be important to the health of the state housing market; house values increased markedly in areas where immigrants settled during the housing crisis of 2008-20012. The authors suggest that Minnesota's economic resilience is partly attributable to immigrants and policies that welcome immigration. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Moving from Exclusion to Belonging:  Immigrant Rights in Minnesota Today,
The Advocates for Human Rights, March, 2014, 301 pp.
Immigrants and refugees in Minnesota do not enjoy full participation or inclusion in the community, often because of discriminatory or outdated policies, practices and similar barriers. This is the major finding of Moving from Exclusion to Belonging: Immigrant Rights in Minnesota Today, for which the authors conducted more than 200 interviews and community conversations with 500 participants. The authors noted that in virtually every sphere of public life, Minnesota's immigrants and refugees lack opportunity for full participation or advancement, are discriminated against, have unmet basic needs, and are unable to reach their full potential. These areas include safety and access to justice, education, housing, economic opportunity and civic engagement.  Although some people in Minnesota pay lip service to "welcoming gestures," these gestures often do not translate into equality of opportunity. While immigration status, fear, mistrust, lack of English proficiency and poverty accounted for much of the reason for a lack of full participation and inclusion, the authors find that both local and state policies as well as the attitudes of long-time Minnesota residents and employers do not permit immigrants and refugees to enjoy basic human rights. The report makes recommendations for policy, law and regulatory changes in areas such as affordable housing, anti-discrimination laws and increased public support for refugees. (Denzil Mohammed)


The Economic Impact of Immigration on St. Louis,
Saint Louis University, June, 2012, 57 pp.
Written by Jack Strauss, Simon Chair of Economics at Saint Louis University, this report argues that the St. Louis region's poor economic growth and its sharp drop in population from 10th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in 1970 to 18th in 2010 are largely explained by its failure to attract sufficient numbers of immigrants.  With the foreign-born constituting only 4.5 percent of the region's population, St. Louis trails way behind other cities in the top 20. The report contends that job creation, income growth, and housing prices would have been markedly greater, if immigration levels had more closely resembled that of other cities. In addition, White and African-American unemployment rates would have been approximately 2 percent lower. The report concludes with examples of how other cities, such as Nashville, Louisville, Cleveland, and Detroit, are taking concrete steps to attract immigrants and create more welcoming communities.


Still Vital Beyond Belief: The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Nevada,
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, May, 2015; 8 pp.
Author: J. Mijin Cha
Nevada's immigrants comprise more than 19 percent of the state population, nearly 25 percent of the workforce, and 21 percent of the state's small business owners. A new report by the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) highlights the integral role that immigrants play in the state's economy. Still Vital Beyond Belief: The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Nevada updates an earlier (2007) report and provides demographic, workforce and economic data and offers policy recommendations at the federal, state and local level. Nevada's immigrant population is ethnically diverse; although 57 percent of immigrants are Hispanic (the majority of whom are Mexican), Asian and White immigrants respectively account for 26 percent and 14 percent of the immigrant population. Immigrants do not work solely in low-skill and low-wage occupations; the distribution of income levels among immigrant workers and U.S. born workers is quite similar, despite the wage disparity between the two, and 33 percent of immigrant workers have white-collar jobs. Immigrants play a key role in farming and service industries, where they comprise 50 and 42 percent of the workforce respectively. The report suggests that even unauthorized immigrants contribute to Nevada's economy, paying over $123.8 million in state and local taxes in 2010. The author urges Nevada's policymakers to support legislation that allows families to stay together,  limits state and local responsibilities for federal immigration enforcement, promotes community and civic participation, and includes pathways to citizenship for unauthorized residents, so as boost tax revenue and consumer demand. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)

New England

Aging and Declining Population in Northern New England: Is There a Role for Immigration?
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, New England Public Policy Center, July 17, 2019, 10 pp.
Author: Riley Sullivan

This report looks at the economic impacts of a rapidly aging and declining population in areas of northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), and the potential role that immigration can play in maintaining the stability and growth of population and the economic vitality of this region. Local population decline depletes the workforce and local tax base, weakening the business environment and housing markets, and can lead to out-migration of young people and erosion of local public services. NEPPC analysis of US Census data shows that while population in northern New England states grew overall between 1990 and 2017, many smaller municipalities in rural areas saw their population decline and share of older residents increase. Immigration in turn has played a disproportionate role in maintaining population in these regions. In 7 of 10 recent years (2009 through 2018) statewide population in northern New England would have shrunk or stagnated in the absence of immigrants, with immigrants playing a proportionally higher role in smaller cities and towns with an older population and small youth population. In his conclusion, the author suggests that shifts of federal immigration policies, including increased support for refugee resettlement, could help slow population decline in rural areas of Northern New England. The prospect of a federal policy of reduced immigration will, however, tighten the squeeze in rural areas, leaving many municipalities with limited options to respond to the effects of population decline.

New Jersey

Essential and Excluded: A Survey of Immigrants in New Jersey under COVID-19,

Make the Road New Jersey, April 2020, 21 pp.
This report, based on interviews with 200 immigrants living in New Jersey, examines the experience of low-wage immigrant workers and their families in the first month of the COVID-19 crisis, March to April 2020. At the time this report was prepared, New Jersey hosted the third largest immigrant population in the United States and had experienced the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country. The report surveys immigrant eligibility for federal and state relief programs, including the CARES Act, employment-based relief, safety net programs, and healthcare. The results reveal deep inequities in access to health care, pervasive fear that prevents immigrants from seeking care when available, no access to state and federal wage cash aid for those who are undocumented, widespread income insecurity, inability to pay rent or to purchase basic necessities, and pervasive labor rights violations. Based on these findings the authors of this report make a number of policy recommendations. On the federal level, these include increased stimulus payments made available to a wider range of people, universal coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment through Medicaid, automatic extensions of work authorizations, housing and utilities relief, and a halt to immigration enforcement and detention. On the state level, the report recommends a cash assistance program for those currently excluded, access to government services without the threat of deportation, health care access, protection of worker safety, extension of the child tax credit, housing and utilities relief, the release of immigrant detainees, a DACA renewal fund, and the removal of barriers to occupational licensing. (Karen D. Caplan, Ph.D., Rutgers University -- Newark)

More Hispanic and Asian Children Uninsured Likely Due to Chilling Effect,
New Jersey Policy Perspective, October 2019, 6 pp.
Author: Raymond Castro

In 2019, health insurance enrollment for children in New Jersey, particularly Hispanic and Asian children, reached its lowest level in five years. Children in immigrant and mixed-status households, where at least one family member is undocumented, are especially in danger of being uninsured. This brief by Raymond Castro, the Director of Health Policy at New Jersey Policy Perspective, illuminates the early effects of a Trump administration policy intending to deny green cards to immigrants enrolled or likely to enroll in social safety net programs. Although this policy had not yet been implemented in 2019 due to court battles, anti-immigrant policy and rhetoric created fear and mistrust among immigrant families and contributed to a decrease in child insurance enrollment. Castro draws on census data to illustrate the drastic drop in child insurance enrollment, the rising uninsured rate and the loss of federal matching funds in New Jersey. He warns of a possible rise in the total uninsured rate for children for the first time since the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2010 and strongly recommends urgent action to address this problem at both the national and state levels. The author stresses the necessity of strategically targeting Hispanic and Asian immigrants to improve outreach and awareness of current state health insurance policy. Castro argues that taking proactive steps to insure all children in New Jersey is essential to promote child health and avoid additional costs to the state. (Olivia Pickard for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

A Report on the State of Asian Americans in New Jersey,
Jersey Promise, 2019, 65 pp.
Authors: Khyati Y. Joshi et al

While Asian Americans are often labeled the “model minority,” many are struggling in the state of New Jersey. A Report on the State of Asian Americans in New Jersey published by Jersey Promise, an Asian American advocacy group, shows a more nuanced picture of the Asian American population in New Jersey—26 percent of whom live below the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) working poor marker. The report draws on data from a variety of sources to offer a comprehensive portrait of Asian Americans in New Jersey. Beginning with the history of Asian Americans in the state, the report then takes a deep dive into six policy areas: family and social issues, public education, economic opportunity, health care, immigration and justice, and civic participation. Although Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in New Jersey (comprising 10 percent of the state’s population), they are the least studied group and often the most misunderstood. The report highlights the fact that income inequality, social exclusion, nativism and the “model minority” myth have prevented Asian Americans from fully integrating into civic life. The authors conclude that an overarching barrier to integration lies in the fact that Asians are often under-represented in diversity and inclusion policies and trainings. In order to remedy this neglect, the report recommends that state and local governments should make it a priority to increase Asian American representation and civic participation. The report also includes recommendations in each of the six policy areas. (Deb D’Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

 Immigrant Small Business Ownership is a Cornerstone of New Jersey’s Economy,
New Jersey Policy Perspective, March 2019, 6 pp.
Author: Erika Nava
In this report, the author discusses the economic impact and demographic makeup of immigrant-owned small businesses in New Jersey. While immigrants constitute slightly more than one-fifth (22 percent) of New Jersey’s population, they make up almost half (47 percent) of its Main Street business owners. The article also discusses the racial, ethnic and educational composition of immigrant and U.S.-born business owners in New Jersey, as well as the factors that account for high levels of entrepreneurial activity among the state’s immigrant population. The author suggests that immigrant businesses serve as important “training” grounds for socialization and integration into the mainstream U.S. economy. She also speculates that business ownership provides a way of navigating around conditions that produce disadvantage in the regular labor market, e.g., limited English proficiency. The author recommends spotlighting and honoring immigrants’ contributions, developing initiatives that foster the growth and success of immigrant businesses, and creating measures that cultivate feelings of safety in immigrant communities. (Julio Montanez for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute) 

Deportation without Representation: The Access-to-Justice Crisis Facing New Jersey's Immigrant Families
Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice, June 1, 2016, 39 pp.
Authors: Lori A. Nessel & Farrin R. Anello
This paper argues for an expansion of access to free and low-cost legal services for low- income New Jersey residents who are facing deportation proceedings. The authors begin by reviewing the positive impact of immigration on the state of New Jersey and the negative results of deportation on individuals, families and the state's economy. After providing a description of the complexity of deportation proceedings, the authors present an analysis of what the results are for those involved in deportation cases without legal representation. To do this they draw on a data-set of cases heard in New Jersey's two immigration courts, and they conclude that having representation greatly increases the likelihood that an individual will win their deportation case and the chances that the individual will file for and receive some form of legal relief. Having made the case for the importance of representation, the authors then review a survey of organizations providing legal services to immigrants in the state. A key finding is that those organizations represented significantly fewer detained than non-detained clients, regardless of their overall caseload. Organizations generally reported that funding and support for services are limited, and that this scarcity of services seemed most pronounced in the southern part of the state. The authors conclude by reiterating how the complicated nature of deportation proceedings puts non-represented individuals at risk, particularly those in detention. They also include pragmatic reasons for providing guaranteed representation, such as the fact that cases with no representation take up more of the courts' resources. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

Skilled Immigrants and Immigrant Entrepreneurs in New Jersey
Briefing report submitted by the Skilled Immigrant Task Force, State Council on Adult Literacy Services to the NJ State Employment and Training Commission, November 19, 2015, 14 pp.
Author: Nicholas V. Montalto

There are nearly twice as many high-skilled immigrant workers as low-skilled immigrant workers in New Jersey, but their skills are being underutilized. In the 2015 briefing Skilled Immigrants and Immigrant Entrepreneurs in New Jersey by the Skilled Immigrant Task Force to the State Council on Adult Literacy Education Services, researchers identify employment barriers that New Jersey's skilled immigrant workers and entrepreneurs face. The briefing finds that many high-skilled immigrants are unemployed or working jobs that are not in line with their education levels. The reasons for this include poor English language proficiency, weak professional networks, and a lack of interviewing and resume-writing skills. Immigrant entrepreneurs face challenges such as a lack of familiarity with local markets, difficulty accessing credit and visa policies that do not support potential entrepreneurs. In order to counteract these barriers and to maximize the economic potential of skilled immigrants for everyone's benefit, the report recommends recognizing skilled immigrants as a group facing special employment challenges and developing targeted programming to meet their needs. The report then goes on to detail various strategies that have shown promise in other states. Finally, the report suggests that the State Employment and Training Commission create a task force to review state policies and procedures related to both high skilled immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Meet the Neighbors: Organizational and Spatial Dynamics of Immigrant New Jersey,
Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, February, 2014, 72 pp.
Authors: Janice Fine, Anastasia Mann, David Tulloch,
F. Scott Bentley

Beginning in 2009, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Rutgers University set out to gather and analyze information about organizations serving immigrant communities in New Jersey.  This report constitutes the results of their research. The researchers identified organizations using a variety of sources, including data from Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service.   To obtain information about the history, scope of services, and capacity of these organizations, the researchers administered surveys by phone, fax, and email.  Complete data was received from 287 organizations, out of 1,805 on the "master list" (the authors acknowledge, the results may not be representative of the entire sector).  Although there is no definition of "immigrant-serving organization" in this report, the authors apparently operated with a broad definition, inclusive of mainstream organizations, such as day care centers and adult education organizations, with significant presence within immigrant communities.  The three most important functions of all organizations in the sample were legal aid (15 percent of organizations), cultural education (14 percent), and advocacy (13 percent). "On balance," write the authors, "immigrant organizations allocate the lion's share of their resources to these three kinds of activities." The report features a variety of maps that, for example, track the location of H-1B holders and immigrant ITIN filers in the state.  The report also includes a number of short case studies of local immigrant communities, e.g. the Costa Ricans of Bound Brook, the Asian Indians of Central New Jersey, and the farm workers of south Jersey. Despite the fact that immigrant-serving organizations act as "the state's most powerful tools of democracy and facilitators of integration," they are experiencing shrinking resources at a time of growing need.

Federal Immigration Reform Would Help New Jersey's Striving Immigrants and Boost the State's Economy,
New Jersey Policy Perspective, January, 2014, 19 pp.
Author:  Erika J. Nava

Claiming that policymakers in New Jersey pay "scant attention" to how immigrants improve the state's economic prospects, Erika J. Nava -- a policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective - argues that the immigrant contribution to the state's economy has been enormous and that immigration reform would provide an even greater boost to the economy. State and local income tax revenues, for example, would rise substantially as more undocumented workers emerged from the underground economy (In 2011, 118,504 workers, probably all undocumented,  filed New Jersey income tax forms without Social Security numbers).  If the strict employment provisions of the Senate bill were to be enacted into legislation, more of these workers, including day laborers, would look for permanent positions so that they would not accrue more than 60 days of unemployment over the first six years of provisional residence - a requirement to advance to permanent residence under the Senate bill. Newly legal workers would also put pressure on those employers who now pay workers cash under the table to put them on the regular payroll.  In addition, "employers would lose the threat of deportation as the lever to pay below-market wages and maintain poor working conditions. One consequence could be better wages for all workers in low-wage industries..." The author concludes with suggestions to improve the Senate bill by providing health care benefits to newly legalized immigrants, shortening the waiting period for citizenship, and eliminating the "harshly unrealistic limit on unemployment" during the initial six year period of provisional status.

Crossroads of the World: New Americans in Middlesex County, New Jersey,
Program on Immigration and Democracy, Rutgers University,
June, 2011, 21 pp.

The Health of the Newest New Jerseyans: A Resource Guide,
New Jersey Dept. of Health and Senior Services,
February, 2011, 72 pp.

Overcoming the Barriers Faced by Immigrants,
A Briefing Report by the N.J. State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,
September, 2010, 25 pp.

Garden State Dreams: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Kids,
New Jersey Policy Perspective, January, 2010, 12 pp.

State Practices in Health Coverage for Immigrants: A Report for New Jersey,
Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, June, 2009, 29 pp.

Report to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine,
The Governor's Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy, March, 2009, 119 pp.

Program on Immigration and Democracy, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University,
December, 2008, 20 pp.

Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, November, 2008, 39 pp. (also covers 3 counties in south Jersey)
South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow, 2008, 4 pp.

New Jersey Policy Perspective, June, 2008, 20 pp.

Woodrow Wilson School, Policy Task Force Report, May, 2008. 39 pp.
Farmworkers Support Committee of New Jersey (CATA), August, 2006, 37 pp.
National Immigration Forum, 2006, 64 pp.

New York

A Pathway to Citizenship: Doing Well by Doing Good,
Fiscal Policy Institute, February 1, 2021, 4 pp.
Author: David Dyssegaard Kallick

A streamlined pathway for undocumented immigrants to obtain work authorization and citizenship would be a key step towards ensuring that all people in the U.S. are included in economic and civic life, while also benefitting the economy as a whole. In “A Pathway to Citizenship: Doing Well by Doing Good,” the Fiscal Policy Institute updates an earlier 2017 report to quantify the impact of the provision of a pathway to work authorization and citizenship on state and local economies in New York. As the author explains, by obtaining work authorization or citizenship, immigrants would be more likely to earn higher incomes and be given a social security number, both of which would result in higher payroll and income tax payments. Based on these assertions, the study estimates that work authorization status would generate an additional $3,300 in yearly income per immigrant family in New York State, and $200 million in state and local tax revenue. These gains would increase with citizenship status, which would increase individual family incomes by about $6,500 and state and local tax revenue by $300 million per year. Beyond tax revenue, the ability to earn higher incomes would allow these families to more easily cover their expenses and contribute to their local economies. (Corey A. Calhoun for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Under Threat & Left Out: NYC’s Immigrants and the Coronavirus Crisis,
Center for an Urban Future, June 2020, 11 pp.
Authors: Sarah Amandalore et al

Immigrants have played an important role in New York City’s economic resurgence in the last 40 years, but during the COVID-19 pandemic many have struggled to meet their basic economic and healthcare needs. Despite facing job loss, physical and mental health challenges, food insecurity and business closures, immigrants have largely been excluded from government programs created to help those in need. Under Threat & Left Out: NYC’s Immigrants and the Coronavirus Crisis, published by the Center for an Urban Future in partnership with New York Immigration Coalition, documents the range of problems faced by immigrants based on interviews with leaders of more than 20 non-profit organizations in the city. Multiple organizations reported that as many as 75 percent of their clients experienced food insecurity. Immigrants struggled to access relief, most not qualifying for government assistance programs and even if they did qualify,  refraining from accessing benefits because of the “public charge” rule. Limited technology access and language skills made it more difficult for many immigrants to access city and state benefits and made at-home learning challenging for immigrant families with school-aged children. Many immigrants struggled with apartment overcrowding leading to an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission (adding to the physical and mental stress of stay-at-home orders). These populations also lacked access to preventative healthcare and COVID-19 testing and treatment. To support immigrant New Yorkers, the authors recommend the city and state government: create an emergency cash assistance fund for immigrants; increase investment in preventive health services in immigrant communities; maintain funding for immigration legal services;  establish a commercial rent-relief program; ensure messaging and outreach to combat anti-Asian racism; and protect immigrant essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Immigrant Serving Organizations: Key Partners with Government to Help Those Worst-Hit and Least-Served Through the Lifecycle of the Pandemic,
CUNY, Baruch College, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs,

June 2020, 27 pp.
Authors:  Robert Courtney Smith et al

Immigrant workers living paycheck-to-paycheck have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet have received minimal help in the federal stimulus response. This study, published by New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a New York-based immigrant-serving non-profit, and the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, the City University of New York, explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant New Yorkers and their families in some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in New York City. The report is based on a NICE survey conducted in Spring 2020 via direct phone calls, which found the pandemic severely impacted these immigrant communities both economically and in terms of physical and mental health. More than 90 percent of respondents reported they had not worked in the four weeks prior to the survey and 36 percent had experienced COVID-19 symptoms. A vast majority (nearly 80 percent) had lost all of their income and savings during the pandemic and most (73 percent) explained they were at risk or could be at risk of experiencing homelessness. Many (15 percent) had experienced extreme anxiety or suicidal thoughts in response to the pandemic.  The report laments the exclusion of certain immigrant groups from social safety net programs, notably healthcare and the federal stimulus response – a policy blunder that has worsened the impact of the pandemic on these groups. The authors urge federal policymakers to eliminate these exclusionary practices to both aid these vulnerable groups and to hasten the economic recovery of their communities.  The report recommends continued funding for immigrant-serving organizations and other nonprofits, as these organizations often serve as a lifeline for vulnerable populations and can produce relevant research for policymakers. Given their proximity to and experience working with immigrant communities, these organizations should also be included in planning, implementing and monitoring of COVID-19 responses. The authors argue larger foundations and public universities should support immigrant organizations in their efforts to facilitate the flow of information to immigrant communities and to provide needed relief.  (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


New York’s Essential Workers: Overlooked, Underpaid, and Indispensable,
Fiscal Policy Institute, April 8, 2020, 8 pp.
Author: David Dyssegaard Kallick

This study shows that “essential workers” in New York State are disproportionately likely to be women, immigrants, Black, and Latinx, although at levels that vary across different regions of the state and in urban vs. suburban or rural areas. These workers—who have played a critical role in keeping services functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic—also suffer high rates of poverty, with many supporting their families on family incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line. The study draws on five year (2014-2018) American Community Survey estimates to look at the state as a whole, New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and upstate New York. The category of “essential workers” includes those in the public transit and delivery and warehouse industries; supermarket, drugstore and convenience store workers; those providing social services; childcare workers; and healthcare workers. Statewide, for example, there are 2.2 million “essential workers”, 22 percent of whom have family incomes of less than 200 percent of the poverty level. Although women make up 49 percent of all workers, they are 65 percent of essential workers; immigrants are 28 percent of all workers but 33 percent of essential workers; Blacks, whether U.S.-born or immigrants, are 14 percent of all workers and 22 percent of essential workers; and Latinx workers are 18 percent of all workers but 20 percent of essential workers. In New York City, with almost half of all “essential workers” in the state (24 percent of them earning below 200% of poverty level), women are 63 percent of essential workers but 49 percent of all workers; immigrants are 53 percent of essential workers but 45 percent of all workers; Blacks are one-third of essential workers but 21 percent all workers; and Latinx workers are 30 percent of essential workers but 27 percent of all workers. In upstate New York, by comparison, Women are 66 percent of essential workers but 49 percent of employed workers overall; Blacks are just 10 percent of essential workers and 6 percent of all workers; immigrants make up 7 percent of both overall employed workers and essential workers; and Latinx workers are 5 percent of essential workers but approximately 4 percent of all workers. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.


The Disproportionate Burden of COVID-19 for Immigrants in the Bronx, New York,
JAMA Internal Medicine, May 8, 2020, 2 pp.
Authors: Jonathan Ross et al

Home to more than one million immigrants in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the U.S., the Bronx is the least healthy borough in New York City and has the City’s highest COVID-19 infection rate. Written by internists who work in the Bronx, The Disproportionate Burden of COVID-19 for Immigrants in the Bronx, New York draws on their personal experiences and other data to explain the disproportionate burdens the pandemic has imposed on immigrants. To establish a baseline for comparison, the study identifies a series of socioeconomic determinants that had already left low-income immigrants vulnerable to this health crisis: poor health due to discriminatory policies; racial and economic inequality; language barriers and lack of available translated medical information; difficulty in accessing health care due to legal status; and fear of exposure to immigration enforcement if found using medical services. Additionally, the researchers point out how the February 2020 implementation of the revised “public charge” rules and recent increase in deportations further deter immigrants from seeking out adequate care. The pandemic’s strains on the healthcare system reveal the need for more effective interpretation services and cross-cultural care as these barriers perpetuate misinformation and can traumatize hospitalized migrant patients. The authors ask that the legacy of the pandemnic should be to hasten the transition to a more equitable healthcare infrastructure,  one that doesn’t punish migrants for accessing medical care. (Monica Leon for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Driving Together:  Benefits of Allowing All New Yorkers to Apply for Licenses,
Fiscal Policy Institute, February 15, 2019, 6 pp.
Authors: David Dyssegaard Kallick & Cyierra Roldan

As the new Democratic majority in the New York State Legislature considers legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to drive, the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) has produced this report estimating the costs and revenues to be generated by the proposal and describing its benefits to the community at large. FPI estimates that revenues would easily outweigh costs, with a one-time boost in revenue of $26 million from license fees and car purchases, and recurring combined annual government revenues of $57 million from such sources as annual car registration fees and sales taxes. The main benefit to the community at large is improved public safety, as more drivers are tested, licensed, and insured. FPI also estimates a modest decrease of $17 per year in insurance costs for New York State drivers. The authors also see “modest improvements to the local economy,” as more workers will be able to commute to jobs, a benefit especially important in rural parts of the state. Finally, this program would help prevent the devastating effects that a traffic stop can have on families, such as deportation and family separation.

A Portrait of Immigrants in New York,
Office of the New York State Comptroller, November 2016, 17 pp.
This report mines federal data sources to paint a portrait of the immigrant population in New York State by region. Among the data points covered in the report are:  net international migration; immigrants as a proportion of total population, immigrants obtaining legal permanent residence; period of entry; immigrant population by age; educational attainment; and labor force participation. The report also shows the top 15 occupations of immigrants, the average annual wage for each occupation, and the percentage of immigrants within each of those occupations. For example, 3.5 percent of all employed immigrants are maids and housekeeping cleaners, they represent 67 percent of all people employed in this occupation, and the average annual wage is $32,220.  In another example, 2.2 percent of all immigrants are registered nurses, they represent 29.1 percent of all people employed as registered nurses, and the average annual wage is $80,090.

Immigration and New York City: The Contributions of Foreign-Born Americans to New York's Renaissance, 1975-2013,
Americas Society/Council of the Americas, April, 2014, 18 pp.
Author: Jacob L. Vigdor
To what extent are the fortunes of modern cities entwined with immigration? In the case of New York, according to Duke University economics professor Jacob L. Vigdor, the answer is to a great extent. In this study supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Vigdor credits the roughly 2 million immigrants who arrived in the city since 1980 with having brought about a remarkable transformation from the despair of the seventies, when the city was on the verge of financial collapse, people were abandoning the city, and crime was rife, to the confidence of today's pulsating and vibrant city. Indeed, Vigdor shows how New York's prospects going back to the late 19th century have always been linked to the presence of people on the move, whether from Europe, Asia, or Latin America, or from the South and Puerto Rico. Using census data and crime data from the police precinct level, Vigdor reaches four main conclusions: first, "immigration is responsible for reversing New York City's population decline (and) helping the economy to thrive again." Without immigrants, the City's property tax base would have eroded by $500 billion over 30 years. Second, immigrants have played a "decisive role" in reducing the city's crime rate. Although there are many factors explaining the sharp drop in the New York crime rate (New York is now one of the safest cities in America), Vigdor reports that "up to two-thirds of the decrease in crime can be attributed to the impact of immigration." Third, immigration has "lessened the city's housing affordability problems." By blazing trails into new neighborhoods (Vigdor examines four neighborhoods in particular: Manhattan's Chinatown, Brooklyn's Canarsie, Bronx's Morrisania, and a cluster of neighborhoods in Queens), immigrants have expanded the stock of affordable housing for middle class families. Finally, immigrants have boosted the personal wealth of all New Yorkers, immigrant and non-immigrant alike, by increasing home equity. The author believes that the case of New York is not an outlier. The stagnation of other cities without large immigrant populations shows the reverse side of the coin. He concludes that " the future of New York City - and the nation's other large cities - depends on the future of immigration to the United States."

The Newest New Yorkers: Characteristics of the City's Foreign-born Population
New York City Dept. of City Planning, 2013 Edition, 235 pp. + Supplement
This is the latest volume in The Newest New Yorker series, which began in 1995 and was last updated in 2005. The 2013 edition examines where New York City's foreign-born come from, their patterns of settlement, their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and their role in the economy. The volume is a rich treasure trove of information. A separate chapter reviews the legal pathways used by various immigrant groups to establish themselves in the city, including family-based visas, employment visas, refugee and asylee determinations, and diversity visas. The authors note that "immigrant flows have mitigated what could have been catastrophic population losses (1970s)...and have propelled the city to a new population peak of 8.34 million in 2012." However, the most recent data seems to point to some slowing of international migration, along with a reduction in out-migration from the city and growth in in-migrants from the rest of the nation. The authors point out possible service implications of New York City's changing demographics, including a "new phase of unprecedented diversity for the city's older population." The report also includes detailed information about immigrants in the 26 adjacent counties to New York City in the States of New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as New York.

Bad English,
Center for an Urban Future (CUF), January, 2012, 12 pp.
This follow-up to CUF's 2006 Lost in Translation Report explores the policy implications of New York State's growing immigrant population and the declining availability of state-funded ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) classes. The report finds that, despite the significant benefits immigrants bring to the state economy--- in terms of population replenishment, entrepreneurship, and labor--- "New York is not leveraging their full potential." According to the authors, ESOL classes serve as an essential building block for increasing the skills and knowledge necessary to employment. Yet capacity has not kept pace with the growing need for instruction. The report sites two major factors in declining enrollment trends: a decrease in inflation adjusted state-funding for ESOL and a move towards higher-quality, longer-term education. While improving outcomes for learners, according to the report, smaller class sizes and extended course length has reduced the capacity of many ESOL programs to serve a majority of those that seek their assistance. The report also finds fault with the Employment Preparation Education (EPE) funding formula based on county property values. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations calling for state and local governments to increase funding and develop collaborative partnerships amongst agencies and service providers. (Dan McNulty)


New Immigrants on Long Island: A Vital Sixth of the Economy,
Fiscal Policy Institute, October, 2011, 59 pp.
Based on data from the 2009 American Community Survey and the 2010 and earlier decennial censuses, this report paints a detailed portrait of the economic contribution of immigrants to Long Island. Immigrants share in the general affluence of the suburban population in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. More than half (54%) work in white collar jobs. Forty-eight percent of immigrant families (compared to 52% of native-born families) earn between $80,000 and $199,999, and another 13% (compared to 16% of native-born families) earn more than $200,000. Yet earnings for individual immigrants are on average 25% less than U.S. born (family income for immigrants is propped up the higher percentage of immigrant families with at least three adults working). Immigrants are significantly overrepresented in some blue-collar and service jobs, e.g. machine operators (50%), gardening and farm workers (44%), construction laborers (42%), and private household and personal services workers (37%). Twenty-two percent, or 15,000, of the 53,000 small businesses on Long Island are owned by immigrants. While immigrants make up 16% of the total population, they account for 17% of total economic output.

North Carolina

Demographic and Economic Impacts of International Migration to North Carolina,
Kenan-Flagler Business School, The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, April 2014, 34 pp.
Authors: James H. Johnson, Jr. & Stephen J. Appold

The authors of this report, two professors at the UNC Business School, find that “immigrants are playing a pivotal role in reshaping the North Carolina demographic and economic landscape.” Using previous research as well as data and estimates from Census and state tax statistics, the report finds that the state’s most recent immigrants were more likely to be of Asian or South Asian origin rather than Hispanic. They also tend to be more family oriented, be of working age and have higher birth rates than the native-born. Furthermore, their overall contributions outstrip state money spent to support them. For instance, immigrants’ consumer spending had an economic impact of $19.76 billion in 2010, a higher per capita average than the native-born. Such consumer spending, the report finds, generated 171,000 spin-off jobs, $6.4 billion in spin-off labor income and $2.3 billion in spin-off taxes. The authors also note the role that immigrants play in counter-balancing the state’s aging population and shrinking native-born labor force. Without the presence of immigrants, entire communities in North Carolina and elsewhere would have stagnated and died. The authors suggest that “it is a strategic imperative for our state and the nation to move beyond our pre-occupation with fiscal impacts and focus instead on the broader and longer term economic impacts of immigration.” The authors also denounce extreme groups in the South that are agitating against “southern demographic displacement.”(Denzil Mohammed)


Welcome to Akron: How Immigrants and Refugees are Contributing to Akron's Economic Growth
Partnership for a New American Economy, 2016, 13 pp.
This study by the Partnership for a New American Economy argues that Akron's immigrants and refugees are "critical" to the city's future economic success. The researchers draw on recent population and labor statistics, personalized with profiles of local immigrants and refugees, to show the contributions of foreign-born individuals to the Akron community. The report finds that the immigrant and refugee population drive economic growth by starting businesses, creating jobs, paying taxes that support local and federal programs and increasing housing values by investing in Akron property. The authors estimate that in 2013 the foreign-born in Akron contributed more than $17 million in state and local taxes including $3 million contributed by refugee households. From 2000-2013, foreign-born residents increased the county's housing value by $207 million. They also helped to offset population decline in Akron by increasing the number of taxpayers, strengthening the city's political representation at state and federal levels, and bolstering Akron's economic competitiveness. The report concludes by predicting that the future growth of the foreign-born community in Akron will have a positive impact on the economic success and cultural diversity of the city. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio: 2015 Report,
Community Research Partners, 2015, 51 pp + appendices
More than 16,000 refugees have resettled in central Ohio since 1983, most of them in the past 10 years. These individuas have contributed greatly to the economic health of the region. Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio, a report prepared by Community Research Partners (CRP) - a partnership of the City of Columbus, Ohio State University and other groups, discusses the long-term social and economic impacts of the refugee community in central Ohio. Using a variety of research methodologies, including focus groups with refugees themselves, CRP researchers estimate that the central Ohio refugee community contributes $1.6 billion to the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area economy and supports 21,273 jobs in the region. With 13.6 percent of employed refugees age 16 and older owning a business compared to 6.5 percent of the general population in the same age group, refugees are more than twice as likely to be entrepreneurs. The report notes that increased business ownership creates beneficial networks and relationships that build strong social capital. The report also highlights challenges facing refugee workers such as language barriers, non-transferable certifications and unfamiliarity with U.S. workplace norms, which may adversely affect their chances of being hired. The report recommends further research to identify barriers to refugee job access as well as to foster better communication and cultural understanding among community leaders, service providers and refugees. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Economic Impact of Refugees in the Cleveland Area: Calendar Year 2012,
Chmura Economics & Analytics for the Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland, 2013,
44 pp.
Funded by The Cleveland Foundation, this study details the employment and fiscal impacts of refugees and refugee service organizations in the Cleveland area in 2012. According to the report, three resettlement agencies in the Cleveland area spend about $4.8 million a year helping refugees to start new lives. That investment produces an annual economic impact of nearly $50 million, measured in spending by refugee service organizations, refugee households, and refugee-owned businesses. The researchers used a "conservative" approach in measuring impact by counting only gains made during the first two years after arrival in the U.S. The study includes a number of case studies, as well as a review of the literature on the economic impact of refugee resettlement on local communities.


Philadelphia’s Immigrants: Who they are and how they are changing the city
The Pew Charitable Trusts, June 2018, 35 pp.
Author: Thomas Ginsberg

This statistical portrait of immigrants in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs, produced as part of Pew’s Philadelphia research initiative, examines the economic and social characteristics of immigrants – including their countries of origin, income, level of education, and work status. The report also makes comparisons with the nation as a whole and nine other major cities in the United States, including Baltimore, Boston, and New York.  As one of the historic immigrant gateway cities in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Philadelphia did not attract significant numbers of new immigrants until after 1990, when its foreign-born percentage stood at only 6.6 percent. In the years since, the foreign-born percentage has increased to 14.6 percent (2016), exceeding the national average of 13.5 percent. Indeed, immigrants have fueled the population resurgence of Philadelphia. “From 2000 to 2016, a period in which the city’s population grew for the first time in half a century, the number of foreign-born residents rose by roughly 95,000 while the number of U.S.-born Philadelphians fell by 44,500.” The author speculates on the various factors that may have caused this turn-around, including a policy of welcoming immigrants pursued by local government and nonprofit organizations and the availability of jobs in the consumer and health care sectors. The largest country of origin for Philadelphia’s immigrants is China, followed by India, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic. 

New Americans in Lancaster County: A Snapshot of the Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants in the County,
New American Economy (NAE), November 22, 2016, 8 pp.
Launched in December 2015, Gateways for Growth -- a joint project of NAE and Welcoming America, -- invited communities across the United States to apply for research, technical assistance, and matching grants to support the development and implementation of multi-sector strategic plans for welcoming and integrating new Americans. NAE and Welcoming America provided the 20 selected communities with one or more of the following services: customized quantitative research reports on the contributions immigrants make to their local economies; on-the-ground, technical assistance to help communities draft, execute, and communicate a multi-sector immigrant integration strategy; and small planning grants that a local partner has committed to match. This report on immigrants in Lancaster County is one of the reports produced under this program and was done in partnership with the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Helping Immigrants Thrive in Allegheny County (PA): A Community Blueprint
Allegheny County Department of Human Services, September, 2016, 6 pp. + Action Plans
This Blueprint contains a set of strategic priorities and plans produced by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to further the integration of immigrants in the greater Pittsburgh area. The document took shape over a one-year period from June 2015 to June 2016 with the input of 173 community leaders, more than half of whom were immigrants. The plan builds on efforts undertaken by the Immigrants and Internationals Initiative of the Allegheny County Department of Human Service over the previous eight years. The plan is organized around six key priorities: language access, health and well-being, education, economic development, family support, and civic engagement. Within each priority area, the blueprint lists a series of action steps, potential partners for each step, and the time-frame for completion (6 to 12 months, 1 to 2 years, and 3 to 5 years). The Language Access Action Plan, for example, lists 16 tasks, most to be completed over the course of two years; the Economic Development Action Plan has 32 tasks, subdivided into a number of sub-categories, including promoting immigrant entrepreneurship, and educating employers to recognize the talent and experience of immigrants. An important emphasis in the overall plan is the importance of coordination, as reflected in the intention to create a "central language coordinating entity" and to establish a "City-County Economic Development Team." The Heinz endowments and the Jefferson Regional Foundation funded the production of the Blueprint.


Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Cost-Benefit Assessment,
Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, May 2020, 30 pp.
Author José Iván Rodríguez-Sánchez

There are between 10.7 and 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., with Texas home to about 14 percent of all unauthorized immigrants (an estimated 1.6 million). In Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Cost-Benefit Assessment, published by Rice University’s Baker Center for Public Policy, José Iván Rodríguez-Sánchez conducts a cost-benefit analysis of undocumented immigrants in Texas and concludes that undocumented immigrants contribute more to the economy than they cost the state. In fiscal year 2018, revenue collected from undocumented immigrants exceeded what the state spent on them, a net benefit of $420.9 million. For every dollar spent on public services for undocumented immigrants, they provided $1.21 in fiscal revenue for the state. While undocumented residents do create costs for the state (in areas such as education, health care and incarceration), they also support the economy, making up a significant share (8.2 percent) of Texas’ workforce. The author hopes that this report can serve as a blueprint for further studies on undocumented immigrants and their financial impact on a state’s budget and economy. He also believes that Texans need to advocate for legalization of the undocumented, because they are a “vital part of the Texas economy.” (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

A Profile of Houston’s Diverse Immigrant Population in a Rapidly Changing Policy Landscape,
Migration Policy Institute, September 2018, 40 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps & Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Focusing on the need for immigration legal services in a changed policy environment, this study was commissioned by the Houston Immigration Legal Services Center and builds on an earlier study done in 2015. The Houston metro area remains one of the most vibrant and fastest growing regions in the country, home to 1.6 million immigrants from a variety of backgrounds. Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the economy continues to flourish, with immigrants supplying more than half the construction workers engaged in rebuilding the damaged areas of the city. The report provides an in-depth profile of the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the Houston foreign-born population, with special attention to three segments of the immigrant population deeply affected by recent policy changes: DACA beneficiaries, TPS holders, and asylum seekers. The report concludes that “the center of gravity for immigration services has shifted.” The rise in ICE arrests in Houston has increased interest in deportation defense at detention facilities across Texas. The arrival of large numbers of Central American families has created demand for asylum assistance, and the possible end of the DACA and TPS programs will also place a strain on nonprofit legal service providers.
Stronger Together:  Immigrants, Refugees, and the Future of Texas
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, May, 2016, 24 pp.
Authors:  Michael Kavate, Aryah Somers Landsberger, Daranee Petsod
What role can foundations play in supporting the integration of immigrants? And why is immigrant integration an important goal, not only for foundations with a mission to serve immigrants but also for foundations with broader giving priorities, such as those working in the education, health, and civic participation areas? These are two questions addressed by this report from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, which focuses on Texas -- a state with one of the largest immigrant and refugee populations in the country. Examining demographic trends in Texas (one in three children in the state has a foreign-born parent), the report asserts that "the future of immigrants and refugees is the state's future." The report gives examples of, and recommendations for,  "immigrant-inclusive grantmaking" in the following areas: analyzing local demographics, protecting human rights, addressing trauma and mental health needs, improving English proficiency, increasing health access, supporting refugee resettlement, strengthening economic integration, improving employment outcomes, enhancing civic participation, and combating xenophobia. The authors conclude by saying that "whatever their funding priorities, foundations can improve the well-being of immigrants and refugees through their existing grantmaking programs, launching special initiatives, and/or joining forces with funding colleagues to increase impact."
A Profile of Immigrants in Houston, the Nation's Most Diverse Metropolitan Area,
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2015, 21 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps, Michael Fix, & Chiamaka Nwosu
Houston's population grew by more than one million people from 2000 to 2013, the largest population increase of any U.S. city during this period. Driven in part by a surge in immigration, Houston also became one of the most ethnically diverse of the country's major metropolitan areas. Drawing on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and Survey of Income and Program Participation, the authors of this report seek to provide useful information to the Houston Immigration Services Information Collaborative as its members engage in activities to promote naturalization and respond to the legal needs of the foreign-born population. The report finds that some immigrant groups in Houston, particularly Latinos, are less likely to naturalize as citizens than the national rate (34 percent compared with 44 percent) due to limited resources and language problems. Additionally, the report finds that about 60,000 undocumented youth and 140,000 undocumented parents may need assistance to apply for deferred action programs providing relief from deportation and work authorization. Without a clear path to citizenship, much of Houston's population remains politically, economically and civically marginalized. The authors also look at income, education, and language proficiency data across Houston's many immigrant groups. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Immigrants Drive the Texas Economy: Economic Benefits of Immigrants to Texas,
Center for Public Policy Priorities, September 17, 2014, 15 pp.
Authors: Ann Beeson, Leslie Helmcamp & Alejandra Cerna
Immigrants help to power the Texas economy as workers, entrepreneurs and innovators. This report uses CPPP analysis of American Community Survey data as well as available economic research to show the importance of immigrants to the vitality of the Texas economy. It also identifies obstacles to immigrants' full economic participation and suggests ways the state could better integrate immigrants into the workforce and society to achieve broader benefit. The report finds that whereas immigrants comprise one-sixth of the state's population, they have an outsized role in the labor force - one-fifth of workers in the 16 to 64 age group. Among these workers, the report finds that Texas is home to the fourth largest high-skilled workforce in the country with nearly two-fifths of immigrants in occupations such as engineers and doctors. As entrepreneurs, the report finds a similarly outsized economic contribution: immigrants made up 16.5 percent of the population but their contributions made up 17.7 percent or $4.4 billion of all business income in 2011. Among the factors that helped facilitate such strong economic participation are rising levels of educational attainment among immigrants and their children. The report notes, however, that an earnings gap exists between all groups of immigrant workers and their native counterparts, except for immigrant advanced degree holders. The authors suggest policies to enhance the contributions of Texas immigrants as workers, taxpayers and students. These include promotion of better health and well-being, increased access to education and citizenship services. (Denzil Mohammed)

Gone to Texas: Immigration and the Transformation of the Texas Economy
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, November, 2013, 19 pp.
Authors: Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny, & Mellisa LoPalo
This report finds that immigration has been both the "cause and consequence" of Texas' impressive economic growth and transformation. The immigrant share of the Texas population rose from 9 percent in 1990 to 16.4 percent in 2012. Similar to the rest of the country, immigrants in Texas cluster on the higher and lower ends of the skills spectrum. As the Texas telecom industry boomed and cities like Austin emerged as high-tech centers, high-skilled immigrants helped to fuel the development of these sectors. However, Texas immigrants, on the lower end of the spectrum, tend to be less well-educated than those in other parts of the U.S. Almost half have not finished high school, versus less than one-third in the rest of the country. Many of these immigrants are unauthorized . An estimated 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants live in the state - 43 percent of the state's foreign-born population and 7 percent of its total population. Despite Texas' "traditional low-tax, low-services model of government," lesser-skilled immigrants in Texas "earn as much or more in Texas than they do in the rest of the nation" and "fewer are unemployed than among their counterparts elsewhere in the U.S." Texas has also resisted efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration. It was, for example, the first state to pass a law in 2001 allowing certain undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. The report concludes that the transformation of Texas "from an oil, cattle and cotton economy to an economic powerhouse" would not have been possible without "the brains and brawn" of immigrants.


Advancing Equity and Opportunity for King County Immigrants and Refugees: A Report from the King County Immigrant and Refugee Task Force,
King County (WA), July 7, 2016, 53 pp.
In July of 2015, the Metropolitan King County Council approved an ordinance to create a task force to consider the advisability of creating a King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission. Meeting from October 2015 through June 2016, the 13-member task force was supported by County staff and two external consultants.  In order to get community input into its work, the task force partnered with community-based organizations to host more than 20 community conversations, often conducted in foreign language. The Task Force produced recommendations designed to "achieve fair and just access to services and opportunities, resulting in the successful integration of immigrants and refugees as engaged, thriving members of the community."  The Task Force endorsed the formation of a commission -- specifying its composition, duties, and operating procedures -- but also urged the establishment of a stand-alone office to work together with the commission in order to achieve greater effectiveness. The report laid out three different staffing options for the office, ranging from a single staff member to a staff of four.  In making the latter recommendation, the Task Force considered the possibility of housing these staff members in the county's Office of Equity and Social Justice, but opted for a separate office because of the special mission and approach of the Commission.  This report is notable for its attention to detail in describing how the Commission and the supportive office would operate, often citing precedents in other communities. The Commission's principle jurisdiction would be suburban Seattle and the unincorporated communities of King County, which have seen rising numbers of newcomers over the last 15 years.