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Items arranged in order of publication date. Scroll down for all entries. Selection does not necessarily imply endorsement of findings or research methodology by Diversity Dynamics and its partner organizations. We regret that we may not be able to repair broken links promptly.

Due to cultural differences, discrimination, and language barriers, immigrants are often cut off from community support systems, especially during the period of adjustment to a new society. If government and private agencies are to fulfill their mission of serving the entire community, they must strive to reach out to immigrants and deliver services in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways. Without such efforts, integration will be blocked, and the health and well being of immigrants, as well as the native-born population, will be jeopardized. These resources discuss innovative approaches to this challenge.



Where We Stand: A 20-Year Retrospective of the Unaccompanied Children’s Program in the United States,

United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and The Children’s Village, 2023, 74 pp.
Author: Jenny Rodriguez

The passage of the Homeland Security Act in 2002 transferred responsibility for the care and placement of unaccompanied children from the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Twenty years later, Jenny Rodriguez of USCRI assesses the impact of the legislation and subsequent developments in a report entitled Where We Stand: A 20-Year Retrospective of the Unaccompanied Children’s Program in The United States. Initial challenges such as Flores litigation or a lack of statutory guidance were remedied by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, but other events such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti have brought an influx of unaccompanied children that required creative solutions. The authors conclude their study by making six policy recommendations: making post-release services for all unaccompanied children a legal requirement; requiring ORR to appoint child advocates for the most vulnerable children; allocating funding so all unaccompanied children released from ORR custody have attorneys; expanding the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program for children without family or appropriate sponsors in the United States; developing new and creative support programs for unaccompanied children after release; and ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute

SNAP Access and Participation in U.S.-Born and Immigrant Households: A Data Profile,
Migration Policy Institute, March 2023, 29 pp.
Authors: Valerie Lacarte et al

This brief completes a three-part series of publications by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) that study immigrants’ access to and participation in federal means-tested public benefits in the United States. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes called food stamps, is a federal effort to stop the cycle of poverty and food insecurity. However, those who are income eligible for federal food assistance are sometimes prohibited from using it due to their immigration status and legislative changes enacted in 1996. In this study by the Migration Policy Institute entitled “SNAP Access and Participation in U.S.-Born and Immigrant Households: A Data Profile,” the authors examined these populations and estimated the impact on families should the immigration-status restrictions be rescinded. They also describe state-funded programs that fill in the gap for federally ineligible immigrants. The authors divided the total population into four groups: households with all U.S.-born individuals, households in which all foreign-born members are eligible for SNAP, households in which no foreign-born household members are eligible, and mixed-status foreign-born households where some members are eligible and some are not. Data for these four groups were also analyzed by individual state. Among their conclusions, the authors found that 2.5 million poor children lived in mixed status families where, because one or more adults were ineligible, the families either didn’t receive SNAP benefits or had their benefits pro-rated downward. Thus, these children were trapped in resource-deprived families. The authors also illustrated the impacts of immigration-status-based SNAP restrictions by simulating pre-1996 eligibility levels in today’s demographic landscape. They found that without current restrictions, 1.2 million more people in poor immigrant households would be in all-eligible households. The authors argue that this change would greatly aid in achieving national food security and lead to significant and long-term improvements in “physical and mental health as well as the ability to learn, work, and even sleep.”


Mixed-Status Immigrant Families Disproportionately Experienced Material Hardships in 2021,
Urban Institute, February 2023, 7 pp.
Authors: Diana Guelespe et al

This study reveals that mixed-status immigrant families, where one or more members are undocumented, disproportionately experienced material hardships in 2021. These families often face economic challenges due to limited work opportunities and low-paying jobs, as well as restricted access to federal safety net programs. The report draws on data from the Urban Institute’s December 2021 “Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey,” which found that over half (56.4 percent) of adults in mixed-status families experienced at least one form of hardship, compared to only about one-third in families where all members are in legal status (permanent resident, naturalized citizen, or U.S.-born). Specific hardships included food insecurity, problems paying utility bills or rent, and issues with medical bills. Adults in mixed-status families were also more likely to have low family incomes and live with children under age 19. The report suggests that more inclusive safety net policies that prioritize the needs of children over the immigration status of their family members could be helpful. It also highlights the need for government agencies to dispel misinformation and address immigration concerns that deter participation in government programs among eligible members in mixed-status families. The report concludes that if policymakers aim to reduce hardships experienced by low-income families and improve equitable access to safety net programs and economic opportunity, the unique circumstances of mixed-status families must be taken into consideration.


Expanding Inclusion in the Social Safety Net: Impacts of New York’s Excluded Worker’s Fund,

Urban Institute & Immigration Research Initiative, January 10, 2023, 33 pp.
Authors: Elaine Wasman et al

Although the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are obvious, it may have resulted in significant improvements in the social safety net for excluded members of society. In this joint publication by the Urban Institute and the Immigration Research Initiative, the authors report on a survey they conducted to understand the successes and shortcomings of New York’s Excluded Worker Fund (EWF). The EWF gave unemployment benefits to 130,000 immigrants who lost their jobs during the pandemic, but because of a lack of lawful immigration status, were not eligible for unemployment benefits. The report found that these workers, who received an average of $15,600 in aid, were better able to make ends meet, cover housing costs, and advance in the job market. For instance, when asked to indicate how they used their funds, the most consistent replies were rent (87 percent) and food (38 percent). Workers who received these funds also reported higher civic engagement (60 percent reported engaging more with their community). On the other hand, those who didn’t receive EWF support reported more severe financial distress such as food insecurity (84 percent for nonrecipients). The authors conclude that the EWF was successful in meeting its goals, and they encourage policymakers in other parts of the country to adopt similar policies to strengthen the safety net for their workers. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


A Decade of State Immigrant Rights Victories: Moving Toward Health Care and Economic Justice for All,
National Immigration Law Center, December 2022, 24 pp.
Authors: Tanya Broder & Isobel Mohyeddinz

States across the political spectrum have adopted inclusive policies providing immigrant access to critical services such as health care, education and driver’s licenses. In a special report from the National Immigration Law Center entitled, A Decade of State immigrant Rights Victories: Moving Toward Health Care and Economic Justice for All, the authors highlight the most significant immigrant rights victories, including providing access to healthcare coverage in 40 states to lawfully residing children or pregnant women. Other gains include: providing in-state tuition in 23 states to qualified students regardless of immigration status; providing aid or scholarships in 17 states to eligible students who lack immigration status; issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented residents in 18 states; and extending State Earned Income Tax Credit to people in 8 states using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The authors give credit to immigrant advocates for achieving these victories and urge them to continue monitoring threats to immigrant rights in the future.  


From Burnout to Wellbeing: Building a Sustainable Immigration Movement,
California Community Foundation, Weingart Foundation, The Raben Group,
December 5, 2022, 62 pp.
Authors: Patty First et al

In this report, the authors gathered information about the health and wellbeing of staff members at immigration organizations in Southern California, and made recommendations to organizational leaders and funders to relieve pressures on staff. Assessment of the wellbeing of staff was based on interviews, focus groups, and an online survey. The authors found that, while the vast majority of immigration staff say their work is meaningful, a majority also suffer from burnout. The report discusses the causes of burnout and notes that the field in general is under-resourced and under-staffed. Few organizations have the resources to devote to staff wellness. The report summarizes the desires expressed by staff for interventions to promote their wellbeing. The authors make recommendations for changing organizational practices to promote staff wellbeing (by, for example, providing compensated self-care; offering flexible work hours; and offering “wellness stipends”). For many organizations, offering staff additional benefits to promote physical and emotional wellness may be beyond their capacity, and the authors make a number of recommendations to funders for providing resources to immigration organizations so that they may provide staff with self-care interventions to avoid burnout. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)


“Do It for Your Children:” Mixed Status Families Experiences with the Stimulus Checks
Urban Institute, November 2022, 14 pp.
Authors: Diana Guelespe et al

The 22 million Americans who are part of mixed-status families, i.e. families where some members have legal status but others do not, have experienced challenges in receiving the Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) that so widely benefited American residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors of this Urban Institute study conducted research to better understand the experiences of these mixed-status families and to offer suggestions for improving access to EIPs. The authors conducted interviews with 12 adults in mixed-status families in the Washington, D.C. area. The interviews explored questions about the individual, social and economic impacts of the EIPs. They found that EIPs improved the well-being of immigrant families, whether it was through covering housing costs, paying off debt, or supporting their children’s education. On the other hand, many mixed-status families that had filed their taxes automatically in the past and who received the EIPs were anxious about risks to their immigration status and worries over possible repayment, largely based on misinformation they heard. Based on the feedback from the interviews, the authors encourage policymakers and grassroots organizations to improve access to information about EIPs, particularly to combat the misinformation that can flourish in a crisis. They also advised families to be proactive in looking for this information and in seeking reputable tax preparers. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Immigrants’ Use of New York City Programs, Services, and Benefits: Examining the Impact of Fear and Other Barriers to Access,

Center for Migration Studies, January 2022, 65 pp.
Authors: Daniela Alulema & Jacquelyn Pavilon

New York City is considered a “welcoming city” to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status. However, many immigrants in NYC still face significant barriers to accessing public benefits and services. Due to the Trump administration’s enforcement policies, many immigrants experienced fear and uncertainty. These attitudes were more pronounced among Muslim and Latino immigrants. The changes under the Biden administration, and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on immigrant and minority communities, did not eliminate many of these fears. This report, based on research from the Center for Migration Studies of New York, examines immigrants’ fear and other barriers in three general areas: the use of public benefits, especially concerns over the public charge rule; the use of public health services; and access to law enforcement and the courts. The research is based on interviews with 75 immigrants across New York City, 16 social service providers from community-based organizations and agencies, and 8 healthcare providers and social workers who worked with immigrants across the city. There were also two focus groups in English and Spanish. The report found that immigrants’ fears of family separation or detention caused them to underutilize benefits for which they were eligible including hospital services. Despite funding to improve language access across city services, language was the main obstacle in using public benefits. The interviews also revealed that crimes against or witnessed by immigrants are underreported due to language barriers and fears of being misunderstood. The report ends with a series of recommendations that aim to improve public education; reduce language and literacy barriers; address the technological divide and unfamiliarity with bureaucratic processes; and enhance service provision and inter-agency coordination. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 


The Economic Dimensions of Family Separation,
Duke Law Journal, 71:4 (2022), 61 pp.
Author: Stephen Lee

The amount of remittances from migrants greatly outpaces the amount of foreign aid given by the United States, with China, India, Mexico and the Philippines being the highest remittance-receiving countries. The Economic Dimensions of Family Separation focuses on the impact of anti-money laundering policies, which work in tandem with antimigration policies to regulate and hinder the movement of money, greatly hurting the livelihood of geographically separated migrants.  Migrants from countries fighting terrorism, as well as migrants who are deemed too risky for bank accounts, are at greater risk for having their remittances disrupted. The article further examines the role of private actors and intermediaries in the anti-laundering system, as the laws work to coerce businesses to report and keep track of suspicious activity. The authors also discuss the role that remittance plays in binding transnational family ties, as many migrants are barred from physical ties due to antimigration policies and instead rely on remittances to remain an “absent presence” in family lives. As legal scholars have largely avoided discussion of these aspects of the remittance system, this article offers an important but overlooked perspective on this subject. (Stephanie Depauw for the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Restoring An Inclusionary Safety Net For Children in Immigrant Families: A Review of Three Social Policies,

Health Affairs, 40:7 (2021), 9 pp.
Authors:  Dolores Acevedo-Garcia et al

The safety net for immigrant families in the United States is more restricted than for nonimmigrant families. This report argues that the U.S.’s social safety net is failing to provide immigrant youth with the necessary resources to foster healthy upbringings and positive outcomes. Since welfare reform in 1996, U.S. social policy has increasingly stratified immigrants, which the authors argue is a form of structural discrimination. Twenty-six percent of U.S. children live in immigrant families, so these restrictions could have potential impact on their health and access to protections. Although 91 percent of children in immigrant families are US citizens, 72 percent (13.7 million) live in “mixed-status” families and their access to care is linked to the treatment of their families in social policy. The article examines immigrant stratification in three safety-net programs (the Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Child Care and Development Block Grant} and demonstrates how immigrants’ access to health-related resources are restricted. These include exclusionary eligibility criteria, social security number requirements, benefit restrictions, the public charge rule, and administrative burden. Fundamentally, the authors argue that “restricted access to the social safety net based on legality is a form of structural discrimination” that stratifies immigrants based on legal status and thereby implies differential “deservingness” of social assistance. They then provide eight policy recommendations to restore equity: modify eligibility, provide emergency cash assistance, make EITC eligibility follow economic impact payment precedent, provide child tax credit for all children of income eligible taxpayers, address benefit levels, end the five-year bar, reexamine the utility of public charge, and reduce barriers. The Biden administration’s executive order on racial equity can provide a framework for inclusive and equitable treatment of immigrant families. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 


Including Children in Immigrant Families in Policy Approaches to Reduce Child Poverty,
Academic Pediatrics, 21(8), November-December, 2021, 8 pp.
Authors: Dolores Acevedo-Garcia et al

Though children in immigrant families make up an increasing share of the US child population (26% in 2020) and their poverty rates are much higher than children in nonimmigrant families (20.9% versus 9.9%), children in immigrant families are restricted in their access to the social safety net. In "Including Children in Immigrant Families in Policy Approaches to Reduce Child Poverty,” researchers at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management's Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University and UnidosUS demonstrate how such exclusion of immigrants from the social safety net creates a situation in which children who are US citizens in immigrant families derive less benefit from anti-poverty programs, resulting in increased economic hardship, along with risks to childrens’ health and development. Among the specific restrictions discussed in the paper are: limited categorical eligibility based on immigrant status, stricter income eligibility, reduced benefit levels, higher administrative burdens to apply for and receive public benefits and programs because of citizenship verification and language barriers, and reluctance to use safety net programs because of fear of public charge consequences. The researchers draw on results derived from the Transfer Income Model simulations for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's 2019 report A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, noting how the poverty-reducing impacts of potential enhancements to three major antipoverty programs would produce inequality in poverty reduction effects based on family citizenship and immigration status. The writers recommend elimination of policies excluding immigrants, so that all children can equitably benefit from current and future enhancements to anti-poverty programs. (Erika Hernandez for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

A Framework for Language Access: Key Features of U.S. State and Local Language Access Laws and Policies,
Migration Policy Institute, October 2021, 42 pp.
Authors: Jacob Hofstetter et al

This report examines language access laws and policies in 40 states and localities across the country, identifying a variety of approaches taken to make government services accessible to language minorities. The provisions, procedures and requirements of the language access laws and policies fall into two broad categories: agency responsibilities—the specific obligations and tasks assigned to the agency or department—and policy administration—the regulations and systems to oversee and support the language access policies. The report describes features within each of these categories—for example, document translation as an agency responsibility or the establishment of an oversight team or office to administer the policy—and cites examples. The authors explain the utility of the various policy elements they describe. There are three appendices—one listing key agency responsibilities established by the laws and policies of the jurisdictions; one listing key policy administration components; and one providing links to the language of the laws and policies examined in this report. The laws and policies described in this report, having been implemented and fine-tuned by the 40 jurisdictions, might serve as models for other jurisdictions facing the same challenges.
(Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Tax Equality for Immigrants: The Indispensable Ingredient for Remedying Child Poverty in the United States,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, September 2, 2021, 20 pp.
Authors: Roberto Suro & Hannah Findling

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan aims to cut childhood poverty in half through a massive expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) programs. The success of this initiative depends on the effective resolution of two major impediments to the achievement of the poverty-reduction goal:  First, eligibility exclusions for unauthorized immigrants who must file taxes with the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) because they do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN); and second, bureaucratic barriers that have led to a dramatic decline in ITIN use from 4.6 million in 2014 to 2.5 million in 2020. Tax Equality for Immigrants: The Indispensable Ingredient for Remedying Child Poverty in the United States examines a two-tiered tax system which precludes EITC eligibility for households with just one ITIN filer, even if spouses or children are U.S. citizens. The system also only permits ITIN households with children who have SSNs to claim the CTC. About 19 percent of children in poverty have an unauthorized immigrant parent, 85 percent of whom are U.S. citizens who are disqualified from EITC and whose access to CTC is contingent on their parents both receiving an ITIN and filing taxes. While there have been subsequent changes, including expanded eligibility for the second and third federal pandemic stimulus checks and full eligibility for state EITC in seven states, the article contends that more needs to be done to combat childhood poverty. Authors’ recommendations include full eligibility for all EITC and CTC programs, reforms of ITIN application and retention processes, and a national campaign promoting the use of ITINs. (Jasmina Popaja for the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Three in 10 Adults in California Immigrant Families with Low Incomes Avoided Safety Net Programs in 2020,
Urban Institute, July 2021, 41 pp.
Authors: Hamutel Bernstein et al

In recent years, many immigrant families in California have avoided safety net and pandemic relief programs because they are concerned that their participation might have adverse immigration consequences. Their reluctance grew stronger in response to the restrictive immigration policies of the Trump administration, which led to a decline in participation in key safety net programs. These concerns have made it more challenging for immigrant families with low incomes to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, during which many families faced health and financial hardships. This study, funded by the California Health Care Foundation and published by the Urban Institute, sheds light on the experiences and perspectives of immigrant families and health and nutrition support providers in California. The study draws on data from the Urban Institute’s December 2020 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), an internet-based survey of 307 adults and follow up telephone interviews with 19 of those adults. There are several ways policymakers and stakeholders can increase immigrant families’ access to safety net programs, such as expanding partnerships with culturally specific organizations and tailoring outreach strategies to sources and places immigrant families rely on. Other steps include developing enrollment strategies along with increasing funding and capacity for enrollment navigators who provide culturally sensitive services. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

The CRISIS Survey: The Catholic Church’s Work with Immigrants in the United States in a Period of Crisis,
Center for Migration Studies, July 2021, 39 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin & Daniela Alulema

In addition to secular organizations, religious institutions provide crucial support services to immigrant populations. The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) examined the role played by Catholic institutions in the U.S. in serving immigrant and refugee communities during the overlapping period of the Trump administration and the Covid-19 pandemic. To do so, CMS administered a survey called the “Catholic Refugee and Immigrant Service Integration Survey (CRISIS)” to institutions including Catholic charities, parishes, schools, and universities that serve immigrants. The purpose of the study was to identify the scope of the various services provided, e.g. financial assistance, COVID testing and support for those infected, and mental health and grief counseling to those suffering from familial loss, and the challenges faced in delivering those services. The report, entitled “The CRISIS Survey: The Catholic Church’s Work with Immigrants in the United States in a Period of Crisis,” found that the fear of deportation and other negative immigration consequences, exacerbated by the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, impeded immigrants and refugees from seeking out services for which they qualify. Also limiting was the remote and virtual nature of services, which proved to be an impediment given the lack in access to communications technology and training in these communities. In the face of these realities, the authors of the report recommend that Catholic institutions develop infrastructure to ensure access to online services. They also emphasize the importance of Catholic advocacy efforts in engaging with local and federal governments to reform immigration laws into order to promote more inclusive policies. (Sonali Ravi for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Strengthening Services for Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities,
Migration Policy Institute, June 2021, 49 pp.
Authors: Mark Greenberg et al

In the spring of 2021, a record number of unaccompanied children arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, highlighting the need for improvements to the system of post-release services for these children. In the Migration Policy Institute’s report Strengthening Services for Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities, the authors examine how unaccompanied minors transition from federal custody to community sponsors, detailing how federal post-release services address the needs of these minors. The authors also discuss insights gleaned from interviews and convenings with 31 service providers in 2020. One key finding is that legal services in immigration proceedings are especially vital for children given their unique vulnerability but that funding to provide these services is extremely limited. Given the increase in arrivals and the call to expedite the release of unaccompanied children from federal custody, the authors recommend a series of concrete steps to improve available community services, including actions at the federal, state and local government levels, and through private philanthropy. One such recommendation is for the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to develop a set of metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of post-release programs. Other recommendations pertain to more effective communication between shelter staff and community service providers. The authors also urge state and local offices of new Americans to play a coordinating and convening role, perhaps identifying service gaps that can be addressed locally. These and other steps will, the authors believe, help improve outcomes for the unaccompanied children, their families, schools and the communities they live in during immigration proceedings. (Erika Hernandez for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 


Children’s Experiences on the Central America—Mexico—United States Migration Corridor: Data and Policy,
International Organization for Migration, Special Issue of Migration Policy Practice, 11:2 (March-April 2021)

In the Americas, 192 migration-related child deaths have been recorded since 2014, although the actual number is likely much higher due to gaps in the data. Countless other migrant children have fallen ill, become separated from their families, or otherwise slipped through the cracks. In the Migration Policy Practice journal issue entitled “Children’s Experiences On The Central America–Mexico–United States Migration Corridor: Data And Policy,” multiple experts highlight the special plight of migrant children and the lack of research and data particularly on indigenous, Asian, and African children.  One author point outs that “little is known about how race, class and gender shape their journeys, their encounters with each other on the migration trail, and the mechanisms they deploy to counter risk or violence at the hands of State actors, criminal actors and other adults.” Another author calls attention to the lax enforcement of laws meant to protect migrant children in both the U.S. and Mexico. The articles provide recommendations for State and other actors including advocacy for ending the detention of migrant children, providing translators and interpreters, implementing anti-racism training, recognizing migrants’ nationalities, and commissioning a study on extracontinental migrant children.  (Kyla Schmitt for the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


The Problem with Public Charge,
Yale Law Journal, 130:4 (March, 2021), 51 pp.
Author: Joseph Daval

In this article, the author reviews the administrative history of the “public charge” exclusion rule relating to immigrants and immigration legislation, changing policies about public benefits, and the growing federal commitment to public welfare. He argues that “the public charge exclusion has always stood in tension with another government aim—to provide for those, including newcomers, in need of assistance. This tension has contributed to a public charge enforcement regime characterized by overreach and inconsistency, largely unguided by any coherent doctrine. The development of contemporary benefits programs has placed the regulatory priorities of exclusion and assistance in direct competition. As a result, any public charge determination that considers benefits receipt necessarily impedes the public-welfare aims of benefits regimes, by deterring noncitizens from receiving benefits for which they are lawfully eligible.”  The article has three sections.  In part I, “the limited and fraught efforts of Congress, courts, and agencies to define ‘public charge’ in relation to evolving commitments to public welfare is reviewed.”  In part II, the author analyzes archival materials dealing with the comprehensive 1999 field-guidance document that attempted to “reconcile public charge with contemporary grants of benefits” leading to the brokering of “a compromise between sets of agencies with competing regulatory priorities.” In part III, the concept of “zero-sum asymmetry” (“whereby one agency completes its statutory mission at the expense of another’s”) is proposed as better describing the guidance negotiation processes that took place. The author discusses how the Trump Administration’s DHS rule, finalized in 2019, replaces the 1999 field-guidance document, dramatically expanding the grounds for public charge exclusion, chilling access to benefits, and potentially causing significant harm to millions of people if maintained.  He concludes “by observing that public charge may be fundamentally incompatible with firmer and more recent commitments to those in need” and “a rule prohibiting the consideration of all lawful benefits would be permissible and prudent.”  (Robert Like, MD, MS)

Movement after Migration: Immigrants’ Disproportionate Reliance on Public Transportation,
Migration Policy Institute, March 24, 2021, 11 pp.
Author:  Mary Hanna

This article considers transit access to be an important factor in the ability of immigrants to integrate into their new societies, but observes that upheavals from the COVID-19 pandemic threaten already beleaguered transit systems.  In many immigrant-receiving countries, immigrants tend to make disproportionate use of public transit systems. In the U.S., for example, immigrants comprise 32 percent of public transit commuters, although making up just under 14 percent of the total population. The author points out that immigrants who do not have access to private automobiles and who rely on transit tend to be more economically and socially vulnerable than other Americans. Permanent cuts to transit would likely exacerbate inequalities by curtailing immigrant access to education, medical care, and other services vital for integration and well-being.  Hanna recommends that agencies examine where transit is still being heavily used, and then reallocate resources accordingly, rather than enact sweeping one-size-fits-all changes for entire systems.  Maintaining consistent service is another recommendation to boost and/or maintain ridership, because it builds trust between users and transit systems. The author recommends that transit agencies “do a better job understanding immigrants’ travel behavior and factoring this into their decision-making.” (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

The Household Financial Losses Triggered by an Immigration Arrest, and How State and Local Government Can Most Effectively Protect Their Constituents,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, December 2020, 16 pp.
Authors: Geoffrey Alan Boyce & Sarah Launius

The true cost of an immigration arrest, both to the family involved and to the local community, is often under-reported and/or poorly understood. This study investigates the financial losses caused by an immigration arrest at the household level by surveying 125 long-term households in Pima County, Arizona. The survey demonstrates that the average cost at the household level of an immigration-related arrest, counting out-of-pocket attorney costs, seized or unrecovered assets, immigration bonds, lost income, and other expenses, averages $24,000. The authors find this amount is consistent, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. After calculating this amount, the study then analyzes state, county and municipal policies that could mitigate the financial strain that arrest produces and, if implemented, could save billions of dollars from being withdrawn from community circulation. Proposed policies include: promoting worker-owned cooperatives, expanding permissible forms of identification, and establishing universal, well-resourced representation for immigration defendants. The authors argue that while meaningful federal government action is the best way to protect immigrants from the material, financial and emotional consequences of arrest, governments at the state, county and municipal levels can take meaningful action to support their constituents. (Patrick Bloniasz for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

Food Over Fear: Overcoming Barriers to Connect Latinx Immigrant Families to Federal Nutrition and Food Programs,
National Immigration Law Center and the Food Research and Action Center,
December 2020, 24 pp.
Authors: Alexandra Ashbrook et al

Immigrant families, defined as consisting of at least one person born outside of the U.S., face disproportionate obstacles in accessing vital federal nutrition and food programs. This lack of access fuels food insecurity, which has only been compounded by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food Over Fear: Overcoming Barriers to Connect Latinx Immigrant Families to Federal Nutrition and Food Programs, published by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), seeks to explain why so many immigrant families are not using vital federal nutrition and food programs. NILC and FRAC, partnering with state immigrant rights and anti-hunger groups, conducted focus groups with 64 Spanish speaking immigrant parents in mixed-status families and 41 nutrition service providers in four locations (Northwest Arkansas; California’s Central Valley; Denver, Colorado; and Chicago, Illinois) to understand the experiences of relevant stakeholders in accessing federal food and nutritional programs. This research was conducted partly to ascertain the effect of a February 2020 change in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “public charge” rule, which requires DHS to consider use of non-cash benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in determinations of public charge. This change caused fear and confusion, leading many immigrants to disenroll from SNAP and other programs, even those programs not considered in public charge determinations, like school meals and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The researchers found many participants chose not to enroll in federal nutrition and food programs, even when such programs were critical to their wellbeing. Of these programs, SNAP was avoided most frequently: more than one quarter of surveyed immigrant parents reported they chose to stop using SNAP or other programs in the previous two years, fearing immigration consequences. Other problems noted in the report included a critical lack of information and misinformation, language barriers, and transportation barriers. Based on data from the focus groups, the authors recommend immigrant-serving organizations: give clients accurate information on issues like the public charge rule; get the help of trusted community members to disseminate information and assist immigrant families with applications for federal nutrition and food programs; promote policies that help immigrant families feel more secure obtaining federal nutrition and food program assistance; and advocate for policies and programs that address food insecurity among immigrants. (Patrick Bloniasz for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Anticipated “Chilling Effects” of the Public-Charge Rule Are Real: Census Data Reflect Steep Decline in Benefits Use by Immigrant Families,
Migration Policy Institute (Commentary), December 2020, 4 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps, Michael Fix & Jeanne Batalova

Experts had feared that so-called “public charge” rule of 2020, which makes it more difficult for certain immigrants who participate in federal means-tested public-benefit programs to obtain a green card, would create a “chilling effect,” instilling fear among immigrant populations and causing eligible families to forgo government benefits. This paper from the Migration Policy Institute examines the data on immigrant use of benefit programs a year after implementation of the rule. Many immigrants who needed government benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) either disenrolled from these programs or refused to sign up for them, fearing immigration consequences. According to American Community Survey (ACS) data, the use of TANF, SNAP and Medicaid between 2016 and 2019 declined twice as quickly among noncitizens as among U.S. citizens. This chilling effect is largely the result of a lack of federal government guidance explaining who is and is not impacted by the rule. Misinformation about the rule became widespread, leading to anxiety, broad chilling effects and lack of access to vital public programs during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

The Public-Charge Rule: Broad Impacts, But Few Will Be Denied Green Cards Based on Actual Benefits Use,
Migration Policy Institute (Commentary), March 2020, 5 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et al

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reports that the massive immigrant disenrollment in public benefit programs was apparent even before the “chilling effects” of the so-called “public charge” rule, issued by the Trump administration on February 24, 2020. Many immigrants, even those not directly impacted by the rule, feared that accepting public benefits would impact their green card applications. However, the authors explain that very few immigrants could be deemed ineligible for a green card for using public benefits, as very few of these benefits are even available to noncitizens who do not already hold green cards.  Only about 167,000, or one percent of the 22.1 million noncitizens in the U.S., could be affected by this rule. These individuals would have come through mainly humanitarian immigration channels and would have been both eligible for these benefits and subject to the public charge rule. Beyond the massive chilling effects, the commentary suggests that, despite its relatively limited reach, the rule will have broad impacts on the future of U.S. immigration. The public charge rule is a forward-looking test, and tasks USCIS to determine (and reject) applicants who may need access to public benefits at any point in the future. This forward-looking rule could reshape U.S. immigration by decreasing levels of permanent immigration and allowing only the wealthy and well-educated to obtain green cards. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Publicly Charged: A Critical Examination of Immigrant Public Benefit Restrictions,
Denver Law Review, 97(1), 2020, 34 pp.
Author:  Cori Alonso-Yoder

This essay by Georgetown University Law School Professor Cori Alonso-Yoder explores the racist implications behind the Trump administration’s expansion of the “public charge” doctrine, where an immigrant may be refused a visa on the premise that he/she may become dependent on public assistance in the future.  Questioning the eligibility for public benefits, the author asserts, has become a proxy for determining who is rightfully “American,” and a “facially neutral pretext” for rejecting people on racial grounds. The doctrine of public charge exclusion developed from colonial times and has reemerged in Trump Administration policies as a means to curtail legal immigration through executive action. While other commentators have questioned the racial implications of welfare reform as they affect Black families, the discriminatory animus behind efforts to kick immigrant families off the rolls has yet to be explored. Drawing on critical examinations of welfare reform that locate race-conscious motivations in the figure of the “welfare queen,” the article examines the rhetorical appeal of the “anchor baby.” By questioning the legitimacy of these children’s birthright citizenship and their use of benefits, proponents of immigration restriction reveal that their exclusionary policies are motivated less by concerns of immigration or economic status and more by fears of racial difference. The legal challenges to this doctrine by broad coalitions of states and organizations based on equal protection and claims of discrimination against non-whites are evidence, according to the author, of the systemic racism in the immigration system today. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

The Day That ICE Came: How Worksite Raids Are Once Again Harming Children and Families,
CLASP (Center for Law and Social Policy), 2020, 21 pp.
Authors: Wendy Cervantes, et al.
Enforcement-only immigration policies without adequate humanitarian guidelines significantly harm immigrant parents, their children, and their communities. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) conducted three site visits to states that had experienced large-scale worksite raids since January 2017. The raids in Ohio, Texas, and Mississippi, where 260, 280 and 680 people were arrested, respectively, were the largest in more than a decade. The report found that families experienced separation ranging from hours to months, as well as long-term separation resulting from deportation. Children experienced significant harm, including reports of suicidal thoughts, symptoms of PTSD, as well as developmental regression in younger children resulting from disruptions to their education and family life. Toxic stress, economic strain, food and housing insecurity, disruption of routine, and devastating loss of a parent combined to further undermine the development of affected children, as well as adversely affecting parents, and straining the material and mental/emotional resources of community leaders and organizations. While the report found that the affected communities demonstrated hope, strength and resilience after these raids, the authors contend that policy decisions must take human wellbeing into account to preserve and foster the future for all of America’s children. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

Documenting through Service Provider Accounts Harm Caused by the Department of Homeland Security’s Public Charge Rule,
National Immigration Law Center, February 2020, 25 pp.
Author: Holly Straut-Eppsteiner
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a proposed “public charge” rule in the Federal Register that sent waves of fear and confusion through immigrant communities. According to the rule, immigrants applying for lawful permanent residence were substantially more likely to be denied if they had used (or were deemed likely to use) noncash benefits such as food stamps, nonemergency Medicaid and housing assistance. This report, based on interviews with service providers across the U.S., suggests that fear and misinformation about the proposed rule have deterred immigrants who were not even subject to the rule from accessing relevant services. For example, the chilling effect was evident among immigrants who refused health coverage for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status and who had to be subsequently hospitalized for preventable conditions. The study also highlights the burdens placed on service providers who must spend more time and effort dispelling incorrect information and encouraging enrollment in benefit programs. The author concludes that the ways of combating misinformation must be as varied as its sources and suggests training attorneys and educating the media to provide better guidance to community members. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Amid Confusion over the Public Charge Rule, Immigrant Families Continued Avoiding Public Benefits in 2019,
Urban Institute, May 2020, 20 pp.
Authors:  Hamutal Bernstein et al

This report updates an earlier report by the Urban Institute looking at the impact of the public charge rule on immigrant utilization of health and social services. The report is based on data gathered from the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey conducted in December 2019. A total of 1,747 “adults in immigrant families” responded to the survey. More than 200 pages long, the new regulations are confusing both to families and to service providers.  As might be expected, ignorance regarding the nature of the rule was striking, especially in light of respondents’ confidence in their understanding of the rule. For example, while 65 percent were confident in their understanding of the rule, only 23 percent knew it does not apply to citizenship applications, and only 19 percent knew children’s enrollment in Medicaid was not considered in their parents’ public charge determination. Urban Institute researchers also discovered other “chilling effects” of the rule, especially noticeable among immigrants who are not permanent residents. Although the U.S. government, for example, has clarified that COVID-19-related testing will not count in any public charge determination, many immigrants are avoiding any contact with the public health system for fear that they will be denied the opportunity to become legal residents in the future. The authors conclude that “the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how a policy environment where immigrant families fear accessing critical health services for themselves or their children poses risks for all of our communities…”

Public Charge in the Time of Coronavirus,
Levy Economics Institute, Bard College, April 9, 2020, 16 pp.
Author:  Martha Tepepa

Author Martha Tepepa lays out a critique of how the public sector, specifically the federal government, has responded to the needs of undocumented people in the COVID-19 pandemic. She argues that the reliance on private sector markets in the American “means-tested assistance model” has major drawbacks. In delegating responsibility for pandemic assistance to the private sector, the federal government deprives society, particularly vulnerable groups, of an egalitarian distribution of resources. Additionally, some Americans are prone to characterizing public assistance recipients as failures, lazy, and unworthy of aid. Tepepa suggests that the February 2020 final ruling on the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds exacerbates these social stigmas. In addition to disqualifying undocumented migrants from immigration relief, the Public Charge ruling worsens the public health crisis. The consequence of being labeled as inadmissible discourages migrants from seeking financial and medical assistance. Along with the xenophobic ways the health sector disadvantages migrants, Tepepa suggests that a large, untreated population could worsen COVID-19’s spread. Referencing historical precedence, Tepepa finds that society would most benefit if the public sector took on a larger role in facilitating public aid. (Monica Leon for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Library Programs and New Americans: A White Paper
American Library Association, June 2019, 20 pp.
Authors: Kate Flinner et al

With 55 percent of new Americans reporting that they use public libraries at least once a week, the American Library Association (ALA) discusses the necessity of transforming libraries into a more accessible space for migrants, refugees, visitors and non-native English language speakers. In 2018, the ALA Public Program Office partnered with New Knowledge Organization Ltd. to review the services and programs of six public libraries in five cities. Along with interviewing new Americans, the researchers talked to library patrons, staff and community partners to better understand the role public libraries play in America’s immigration landscape and how public library programs can more effectively serve this growing population. In “Library Programs and New Americans: A White Paper,” the authors find that new Americans are drawn to library facilities for their offerings in English language learning, citizenship preparation, digital literacy education, cultural exchange and social networking opportunities. While these services are helping new Americans more fully integrate into local communities, ALA offers recommendations on how to build a communal space where both established residents and New Americans can benefit from the libraries’ multifaceted resources. These recommendations include: fostering partnerships with community organizations, training staff in cultural literacy skills, and offering multilingual, flexible programming to accommodate the community’s varying needs and schedules. The paper also gives detailed “action steps” for each of its recommendations. (Monica Leon for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Why the Legal Strategy of Exploiting Immigrant Families Should Worry Us All,
Harvard Law & Policy Review, December 22, 2019, 54 pp.
Author: Jamie R. Abrams

This article applies a family law lens to analyzing current immigration policy, an approach that sheds light on the reality that all families are affected and harmed by modern shifts in state power, action and rhetoric directed specifically at immigrant families. In so doing, the author argues that current immigration policies threaten constitutional norms and position the state as an “incendiary agent perpetrating family trauma.” The article provides insight into and constitutional analysis of the implications of many policies under the Trump administration including the family separation policy, the treatment of pregnant immigrant women and the lived realities and vulnerabilities of mixed-status immigrant families. It argues that the state is acting under “parens patriae power,” or the state as “parent of the nation,” in immigration matters, and that these powers, which exact harms on immigrant families, would be considered abusive if deployed by a parent. The article concludes that it is “constitutionally dissonant for the state to use its powers to intervene in families for intentional harm, not merely as a bystander to collateral consequences of immigration laws and policies on existing stratifications and vulnerabilities.” (Patrick Bloniasz for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

The Impact of Changes to the Public Charge Rule on Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S.,
UC San Diego, US Immigration Policy Center, August 13, 2019, 13 pp.
Authors: Tom K. Wong et al

While many commentators have examined the impact of changes to the public charge rule on legal immigrants, few have explored the impact on the undocumented population. The authors of this paper aim to fill this gap. Through a survey methodology involving 516 undocumented respondents in San Diego County, the authors show that substantial numbers of undocumented immigrants would refrain from accessing health services, including emergency medical care, preventive healthcare services, and free immunization services, both for themselves and their children.  Many would withdraw their children from free or reduced-price school meals. The authors also suggest that undocumented immigrants may want to qualify for a future legalization program and are fearful that use of such non-cash benefits may disqualify them from such a program. The authors also note that the observed effects would be even greater if the final rule becomes official policy, as the survey instrument referred to a “proposed policy,” rather than an actual change.

Safety Net Access in the Context of the Public Charge Rule,
Urban Institute, August 2019, 13 pp.
Authors: Hamutal Bernstein et al

The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the “public charge” rule in 2018 have caused fear and confusion in immigrant communities that are now avoiding participating in social welfare programs. “Safety Net Access in the Context of the Public Charge Rule” by the Urban Institute examines this chilling effect and other impacts of the proposed changes. Previously, public charge referred to individuals deemed likely to receive cash benefits or long-term medical institutionalization.” In 2018, the report notes, the Trump administration expanded the criteria for which both temporary visa and green card holders can be designated a “public charge.” By accepting non-cash support, such as food stamps or Medicaid, an immigrant can be deemed “inadmissible” to the United States and have their permanent residency applications denied. Owing to the lack of meaningful analysis on behalf of the government, it is unclear exactly which programs qualify as a public charge. Through a qualitative analysis of survey data collected through the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey of nearly 2,000 adults in immigrant homes, including 25 in-depth telephone interviews, the report finds that this lack of clarity has led to widespread fear and anxiety around accepting necessary benefits due to the perceived effect such acceptance will have on their immigration status. These benefits include food assistance and Medicaid. The report captures the toll that the proposed public charge rule has taken upon immigrants by including excerpts from one-on-one interviews. The report argues that this shift in policy causes individuals to be afraid to sign up for programs that are vital to their financial, psychological and physical wellbeing. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

One in Seven Adults in Immigrant Families Reported Avoiding Public Benefit Programs in 2018,
Urban Institute, May 2019, 19 pp.
Authors: Hamutal Bernstein et al

This paper presents the results of an internet-based survey that attempted to measure the potential effects of changes in the Public Charge rule that would make it harder for immigrants to obtain permanent residency. Survey respondents self-reported the degree to which the rule change produced a “chilling effect” that discouraged them or their family members from utilizing certain public benefits for which they were otherwise eligible. The authors provide a short history of the Public Charge rule and detail the legal implications of the changes before reporting on the results of the survey. They found that twice as many adults living with children reported a chilling effect compared to those living without children (17.4 percent to 8.9 percent respectively), suggesting that although the rule change is focused on adults it will have a multigenerational effect. Additionally, a larger percentage of Hispanic adults reported this chilling effect (20.6 percent) than non-Hispanic white (8.5 percent) and non-Hispanic nonwhite immigrants (6.0 percent). There was also an association between income level and the chilling effect, as immigrants with lower incomes felt the effect more drastically. Taken together, the authors are concerned that those who are most vulnerable will be more likely to refrain from accessing services and supports so as not to jeopardize their ability to receive permanent residency in the future.  They suggest that the proposed rule will lead to negative long-term effects for these immigrant adults, their children and the community as a whole. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

Adults in Immigrant Families Report Avoiding Routine Activities Because of Immigration Concerns,
Urban Institute, July 2019, 17 pp.
Authors: Hamutal Bernstein et al

One in three adults in the U.S. with a vulnerable immigration status (those without citizenship or permanent residency) reported that they or a family member avoided routine activities to minimize the risk of deportation or other negative immigration consequence. This report chronicles the way immigrants have changed their behaviors to guard against any risk to their legal status arising from the Trump administration’s emphasis on immigration enforcement. Researchers from the Urban Institute analyzed data from the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey to see how often adult members of immigrant families forgo enrollment in assistance and educational programs, refuse medical care and avoid interactions with public employees such as school teachers or police officers. The survey found that one common fear, even among those here legally, is that they or a loved one may be denied a green card on the grounds of being labeled a “public charge,” i.e. a person primarily dependent on government assistance for their survival. This fear has been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s effort to expand the definition of “public charge” to include many forms of noncash assistance. The authors found that one in seven adults from immigrant families reported that they or a family member did not participate in noncash government assistance programs in 2018 due to uncertainties over how such participation would affect their ability to gain residency. The article emphasizes that uncertain immigration status and Hispanic ethnicity are the strongest factors that influence immigrants’ decisions to lead a more insular life. As patterns of avoidance are demonstrably linked to serious psychological distress, the authors suggest further research into community-based strategies to assuage immigrant fear and promote health and well-being.  (Clare Maxwell for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Demographic Data Highlight Potential Harm of New Trump Proposal to Restrict Housing Assistance
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 1, 2019, 10 pp.
Author: Alicia Mazzara

This paper assesses the impact of the Trump administration’s proposed rule that would bar families with undocumented members from receiving any form of federal housing assistance. At present, the assistance for mixed status families is prorated based on the number of eligible family members. Under the proposed rule, families would have to split up to retain assistance or give it up entirely and risk homelessness. Among the more than 100,000 people in 25,000 households that would be affected by the rule, 95 percent are people of color (predominantly Latino), 56 percent are female, and 53 percent are children. The authors also point out that the proposed rule would impose new documentation requirements on U.S. citizens and eligible immigrants who receive assistance. Housing officials would be expected to refuse applicants who cannot prove that they are U.S. citizens through the presentation of passports or birth certificates. Such requirements would serve to exclude large numbers of poor people who cannot produce such documentation. The report includes a chart estimating the number of people who would be negatively impacted by the proposed rule in each state.

Immigrant Families and Child Welfare Systems: Emerging Needs and Promising Policies,
Migration Policy Institute, April 2019. 68 pp.
Authors: Mark Greenberg et al

Drastic changes in demographics and immigration policy and enforcement, particularly under the Trump administration, have important implications for child welfare programs. This report by the Migration Policy Institute, with research assistance provided by the American Public Human Services Association, reviews the policies and practices of state and local child welfare systems in working with immigrant families. The authors interviewed officials in 21 jurisdictions (14 states, 6 counties and the City of New York), and developed recommendations in nine key issue areas: organizational structure; training on immigration-related issues; language access; licensing; placement of a child with a caregiver outside the United States; memoranda of understanding with foreign consulates; screening for immigration benefits; confidentiality and information sharing; and policies when parents are in immigration detention. They found, for instance, that some agencies have developed training materials on immigration issues, sometimes in collaboration with state offices for immigrant affairs. A few jurisdictions explicitly provide that immigration status does not affect the licensing of a relative caregiver. Despite these positive developments, the authors found inconsistent awareness of many immigration-related issues as they relate to “care arrangements.” This knowledge gap limits access to crucial programming for immigrants. Among their recommendations, the authors suggest that agencies develop pre-service and ongoing training for frontline workers on immigration issues, review whether language access policies adequately reflect the characteristics and needs of the target population, and address barriers that may prevent noncitizen caregivers from becoming licensed providers. (Patrick Bloniasz for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Gauging the Impact of DHS’ Proposed Public-Charge Rule on U.S. Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, November 2018, 34 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et al

On October 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new “public-charge” rule that could transform the current landscape of legal immigration by preventing many immigrants from obtaining lawful permanent residence (green card) or renewing temporary visas. The rule broadens the range of public benefits that officials need to consider when applying the “totality of circumstances” test to determine if an applicant is likely to use those benefits in the future. In this report, the Migration Policy Institute utilizes U.S. Census data and “conservative” modeling techniques to estimate the number of recent green card recipients who may have been at risk of denial had the proposed rule been in effect. Their analysis shows that women, children, older adults and low-skilled workers would be at greatest risk of denial. For example, 43 percent of recent green card recipients were neither employed nor in school, thus “at risk” of becoming a public charge, and 70 percent of those recipients were women. The report indicates the proposed rule would significantly reduce the number of immigrants sponsored by relatives, and favor immigrants originating in Europe over those from Mexico and Central America leading to a break from the current pro-family and diversity-focused policies. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Applying Behavioral Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI) (Europe), October 2018, 36 pp.
Authors: Meghan Benton et al

The research for this publication was commissioned for presentation at a March, 2018, meeting of the Integration Futures Working Group, an initiative of MPI Europe that brings together senior policymakers, experts, civil society officials, and private sector leaders to stimulate new thinking on immigrant integration policy.  Written largely for a European audience, the report looks at the applicability of “behavioral insights,” described by the authors as “an interdisciplinary, evidence-based approach that draws on findings and methods from behavioral economic, psychology, anthropology, and other fields,” to the challenge of immigrant integration. While behavioral insights have been adopted in a wide range of policy areas, such as health, tax, and education, there has been no systematic exploration of the potential benefits of such an approach for immigrant integration.  The authors focus on three areas where behavioral insights might prove helpful:  first, community cohesion, understood as fostering the “character skills” necessary for life in a diverse society and promoting social interaction between natives and newcomers; second, narrowing inequalities between immigrant groups and the broader population; and third, access to public services, citizenship, and voting. Although behavioral insights are not designed to achieve structural change, they can, according to the authors, lead to major improvements in existing programs especially if rigorously evaluated. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for policy makers interested in implementing this approach.

Chilling Effects: The Expected Public Charge Rule and Its Impact on Legal Immigrant Families’ Public Benefits Use,
Migration Policy Institute, June 2018, 41 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova et al
The Trump Administration is currently writing a regulation that will completely change the way the government determines whether an immigrant (or an immigrant’s sponsor) is “likely to become a public charge” by greatly expanding the list of public benefits, the use of which will make immigrants inadmissible (and possibly deportable). In “Chilling Effects,” the Migration Policy Institute reviews a leaked draft of the proposed rule, and provides data on the number of immigrants who use the four major means-tested public benefits for which data is available in the American Community Survey—Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), and Medicaid, the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or other public health insurance programs. According to MPI’s analysis, more than 6.8 million noncitizens used at least one of these programs, but a larger number—10.3 million—lived in households where at least one person—including U.S. citizen children—used one or more of these programs. The effect will be to raise the share of noncitizens for whom benefits use could be considered in a public charge determination from 3 percent today to 47 percent under the new rule. Most immigrants in benefits-receiving families are employed; they use benefits as work supports. In the estimation of the authors, the use of this new rule, once implemented, will allow the administration to drastically cut back on legal immigration—particularly family-based immigration—without having to go through Congress to change the law. Looking back at the experience of restrictions on the receipt of benefits imposed by the 1996 welfare reform law, MPI estimates that in total, between 20 and 60 percent of immigrants will disenroll from public benefits programs—even if they are entitled to them. While this study focused on benefits use, a future report will estimate the impact of the new rule on the future flow of immigrants (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Regulatory Rights: Civil Rights Agencies, Courts, and the Entrenchment of Language Rights,
University of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper, May 20, 2018, 29 pp.
Author:  Ming Hsu Chen

The “rights revolution” in the United States consisted of both sweeping changes in constitutional doctrines and landmark legislative reform, followed by decades of innovative implementation in every branch of the federal government -- Congress, agencies, and the courts. This paper  -- a chapter in a recently released book on the rights revolution and based on the author’s research for her doctoral dissertation– tells the story of how “policy entrepreneurs” within various federal agencies worked to extend civil rights protections to language minorities after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965. Of particular importance were the actions of officials within the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) and officials within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Their interpretations of the law, treated with some deference by the courts because of their superior expertise, were either upheld or constrained by the courts. Paradoxically, the courts seemed to grant greater leeway to the OCR, even though there was some lack of consensus as to appropriate educational remedies in the aftermath of the Lau v. Nichols decision of 1974. The EEOC, on the other hand, found their interpretations of the law repeatedly challenged by the courts. The author reviews the “regulatory roller coaster” of the last 50 years and concludes that “regulatory rights rest on shifting ground” although they are “sufficiently rooted to remain,” because the complexity and ever-changing nature of modern life make regulation an indispensable tool of government.

Gender-Based Violence against Women: Both Cause for Migration and Risk along the Journey
Migration Policy Institute, September 7, 2017, 7 pp.
Author: Anja Parish 

This brief addresses gender-based violence that may cause women to migrate, as well as the prevalence of such violence along the journey and the vulnerable position female migrants are in when arriving in a country of first asylum.  The author notes that increasingly rape and sexual violence have become military strategies, often used within a single country when there are multiple factions fighting for control.  Evidence is presented from all over the world, including data from conflicts in Central American, Europe and Africa.  This initial gender-based violence causes women to flee their countries, and along their route they continue to face the danger of sexual violence.  For example, a UNICEF study found that half of the female Libyan migrants interviewed reported experiencing sexual violence. Once in refugee camps, women are likely to confront sexual violence again, often perpetrated by those in uniform.  Additionally, the report notes that although the United States considers gender-based violence allowable grounds for asylum, the burden of proof is high and the process may be difficult for the applicant. Protections for the victims of gender-based violence do exist outside of the asylum system, but the report’s author notes that these protections require the involvement of law enforcement, which undocumented victims may be wary of contacting.  Statistics suggest that increased fears of deportation have led to a reduction in the reporting of gender-based violence among the Hispanic community in the United States. The author concludes that current policy directives are placing more female migrants at risk of gender-based violence and hampering the recovery efforts of survivors (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

Keeping Families Together: Why All Americans Should Care About What Happens to Unauthorized Immigrants
Center for American Progress, March 16, 2017, 7 pp.
Author: Silva Mathema 
More than eight million U.S. citizens have at least one undocumented family member in their household. This report examines the effects of policies targeting undocumented immigrants on millions of American citizens. This study uses the 2010-2014 American Community Survey to estimate the number of family members of unauthorized immigrants. The analysis finds 16.7 million people in the United States have at least one unauthorized family member living with them. Almost half of these people are U.S.-born or naturalized citizens, and 72 percent of these citizens are children. Immigration policies focused on enforcement and mass deportation separate the families of American citizens, leading to parentless children who are often sent into the foster system causing psychological trauma. Deportations can also result in a rise in single-parent families that experience greater economic stress. Additionally, the report notes that removing seven million unauthorized workers will result in a loss of $4.7 trillion in gross domestic product over a decade to the detriment to the U.S. economy and its citizens. The report recommends that U.S. immigration policies should prioritize keeping families together "rather than a relentless focus on ramping up enforcement."(Christy Box for The ILC Public Education Institute).

Not Lost in Translation: The Growing Importance of Foreign Language Skills in the U.S. Job Market
New American Economy, March 2017, 33 pp. 
The demand for bilingual workers in the U.S. increased dramatically from 2010 to 2015: online bilingual job postings increased from around 240,000 in 2010 to roughly 630,000 in 2015. This report from New American Economy investigates the growing demand for bilingual workers and what can be done to help both U.S.- and foreign-born workers access these high-demand jobs. The report finds that the need for bilingual workers is widespread across many industries and skill levels, but especially strong in healthcare and finance. Individual employers like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and the health insurer Humana had an exceptionally high number of postings. Strong demand existed for speakers of Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish. The authors applaud policy initiatives such as the "Seal of Biliteracy," which recognizes advanced language skills among high school graduates, as well as efforts to aid bilingual immigrants get relicensed for careers that they pursued in their home countries The authors recommend enhanced foreign language instruction in high schools and universities for non-native speakers and more workforce preparation programs so bilingual immigrants can better connect with employers. (Samantha Jones for The ILC Public Education Institute) 

Family Stability and Instability among Low-Income Hispanic Mothers with Young Children,
National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, February, 2017, 12 pp.
Authors: Elizabeth Karberg et al
Early experiences of young children in Latino families vary greatly from the experiences of children in white and black families. Family Stability and Instability Among Low-Income Hispanic Mothers with Young Children compares the experiences of low-income Latina mothers, both US and foreign-born, to their white and black counterparts using four rounds of quantitative data from the national "Fragile Families and Child Well-Being" survey. Key findings include evidence that low-income, foreign-born Hispanic mothers report more stable family life and lower levels of depression in the first five years after their child's birth than black, white or U.S.-born Latina mothers. However, levels of economic stress remain the same for all groups. Both foreign- and U.S.-born Latina mothers are also less likely to move in with a new romantic partner in the first five years of their child's life than white or black women. The authors conclude that, because foreign-born Latina mothers are more likely to be in a stable relationship at the time of their child's birth, efforts made on their behalf to increase family stability should account for those long-term relationships and focus on strategies to improve economic mobility. (The ILC Public Education Institute)

A Portrait of Latino Fathers: Strengths and Challenges,
National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. February 23, 2017, 12 pp.
Authors: Elizabeth Karberg et al
Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, this study examines a sample of Latino fathers ages 18 to 44 with biological children ages zero to 18.  The researchers find that Hispanic fathers possess many characteristics that are associated with higher levels of father involvement and child well-being. Specifically, Latino fathers have high levels of co-residence with their children, high levels of marriage and cohabitation with their female partners, and relatively low levels of multiple-partner fertility. Although these patters were found for both immigrant and U.S.-born Hispanic fathers, they are especially pronounced for immigrant fathers. Indeed, "the family experiences of Latino immigrant fathers and their U.S.-born counterparts diverge to such a degree than in order to understand Latino fathers, it is important to know their nativity status." The researchers also note that, as Latino fathers are predominantly low income and have high labor force participation rates -- often working long hours or multiple jobs -- they were less likely than their resident black or white counterparts to engage in daily caretaking chores.

Language Diversity and English Proficiency in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, November 11, 2016, 13 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova & Jie Zong
A new study shows that the 25.9 million individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in the United States in 2015 were more likely to have less education and live in poverty than the English-proficient population. In Language Diversity and English Proficiency in the United States, the Migration Policy Institute presents a profile of LEP individuals ages 5 and older citing data from the United States Census Bureau's American Community Survey and Decennial Census from 1980-2015. This study offers insight into the distribution of LEP individuals by state and city, country of birth, languages spoken, race and ethnicity, education and employment, poverty and age. For example, the years 1980-2015 saw a 4 percent increase (from 56 percent to 60 percent) in English proficiency, despite a significant rise in immigration levels. While the majority of LEP individuals in 2015 were foreign-born, 18 percent were native-born. In 2015, nearly half (49 percent) of the foreign-born population were LEP. Additional analysis reveals that LEP men and women are more likely to work in industries such as maintenance and service, respectively, than their English-proficient counterparts. This analysis points to the need for further research on the impact of English language skills on the educational performance and career options of both native- and foreign-born individuals in the United States. (Sarah Purdy for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Domestic Violence, Asylum and the Perpetuation of the Victimization Narrative,
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 242, February 3, 2016, 45 pp.
Author: Natalie Nanasi
The author of this study contends that the prevalence of the "battered women's syndrome," the notion that victims of domestic violence are passive, submissive, and helpless, has made it exceedingly difficult for women who don't conform to this stereotype to obtain asylum under U.S. law. Under the law, a woman must prove persecution on the basis of "membership in a particular social group." Reviewing the case law governing this phrase, the author suggests that being locked into a male-dominant abusive relationship seems to offer the best chance for a successful asylum claim. She argues that "the effective inability of a survivor of domestic violence to tell her authentic story, one that may involve a combination of power and powerlessness, is a profound violation perpetrated by the legal system." One solution would be for the Department of Justice to finalize a proposed rule governing domestic violence asylum claims. In the absence of such a rule, the author proposes ways to reinterpret the concept of "particular social group" to allow for agency and assertiveness on the part of victims. Women who come from countries where the state is complicit in enforcing male dominance and where perpetrators of domestic violence are not punished should see battered women as "not so different from the revolutionaries, freedom fighters, and political activists who came before them."

Raising the Future: Parenting Practices among Immigrant Mothers
Urban Institute, June, 2015, 48 pp.
Authors: Julia Gelatt et al

Prior research has shown that parenting practices have an impact on children's social and cognitive development. Specifically, "displays of warmth and affection, monitoring of children's activities, and consistent but not harsh discipline are tied to improved academic performance and fewer behavioral problems." This study attempts to understand how parenting practices vary among immigrants from various ethnic backgrounds while at the same time, controlling for socio-economic and educational factors.  Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal study (Birth Cohort), the authors examine five groups of immigrants: Mexicans, immigrants from the rest of Latin America, Chinese, immigrants from other Asian countries, and all other immigrants. The researchers find "strong differences" in "supportive parenting" by place of birth, with lower supportive parenting among Mexican and other Latin American-born immigrants than among U.S.-born white mothers or U.S.-born Hispanic mothers. However, there was also less use of physical punishment among all foreign-born mothers than among U.S.-born mothers. In future research, the authors "plan to analyze how changes in family circumstances - such as education, employment characteristics, material hardship, and social support - are correlated with changes in parenting."

Race inequity Fifty Years Later: Language Rights Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper, July, 2015, 45 pp
Author:  Jasmine B. Gonzales Rose

Noting that provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, designed to address the discrimination and indignities experienced by African-Americans - the largest racial minority at the time -- may be insufficient to prevent discrimination against Latinos and other minorities, the author argues that English-only requirements in employment, education, public accommodations, and civic participation (jury service) may serve as a "method of subordinating Latinos." She observes that  "expressions of racism have become more subtle and sophisticated" over the last 50 years. While the Civil Rights Act clearly bans restaurant signs such as "No Mexicans or dogs allowed," common in the Southwest during the Jim Crow era, the Act does not bar the ‘racialized code" term "English-only." Not only are Spanish-dominant customers poorly served by such policies, but even bilingual employees who "inadvertently revert back to their native language" in speaking with customers from the same ethnic background could be harmed by such policies. "Penalizing an employee for - or preventing an employee from - expressing this essential element of his or her national origin when there is no genuine business necessity is inherently discriminatory."  The author gives a number of examples of the "inconsistent and incomplete language protection under the Act," including the failure of almost half states to require interpreters in civil proceedings. She observes that "the lack of explicit mention of language in the text of the statute or its legislative history has made language protections under the Act uncertain and subject to attack, criticism, and inconsistent treatment." On the other hand, the existence of the Act, under the "doctrine of constitutional avoidance," has been used as a reason not to extend constitutional protection to language minorities under the 14th Amendment.

Welcoming the Outsider:  The Practices of Public Libraries towards Immigrants,
Social Science Research Network, Research supported by the National Science Foundation, March 23, 2015, 40 pp.
Author:  Linda M. Williams 
Research increasingly shows that local administrative agencies, staffed by what the author of this report calls "street-level bureaucrats," such as librarians, teachers, police, and social workers, play an important role in the integration of immigrants into the community. Perhaps on a continuum from welcoming to hostile, these local officials have some discretion in how they approach immigrants. Public libraries stand out in this regard, having provided important information and services to immigrants throughout their history.  Moreover, unlike the police or social workers, librarians do not pose any kind of serious threat to immigrants. This report analyzes the results of a nationwide survey of public library systems (responses were received from 461 libraries), measuring their degree of "welcomeness," defined as the capacity to offer specific programs and services for immigrants. In designing the survey, the researcher identified seven dimensions of welcomeness: in-language resources for non-English speakers; classes or other programs specifically for immigrants, such as language or citizenship classes; in-language website resources; immigrant community outreach programs; collaboration with other immigrant-serving agencies; staff training on immigration or cultural-awareness skills; and eligibility for library services without immigration status verification. The report describes the range of library practices for each dimension, differentiating between welcoming and unwelcoming libraries. Findings show that many of the surveyed public libraries intentionally developed welcoming practices to build positive relationships between the library and immigrant patrons and to support immigrant integration. According to the author, "libraries are safe spaces that pose little risk to immigrants...and can serve a unique role in helping immigrants integrate into the community." (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)

Unauthorized Welfare: The Origins of Immigrant Status Restrictions in American Social Policy,
Journal of American History (Paywall restricted), 102:4 (March 2016), 42 pp.
Author: Cybelle Fox

This paper challenges popular and sometimes scholarly assumptions that restrictions on undocumented immigrant access to social welfare benefits can be traced back to the New Deal period. Indeed, "when the modern welfare state was established in 1935, there were no federal laws barring non-citizens, even unauthorized immigrants, from social assistance."  States,  however, were free to enact their own restrictions on immigrant access to benefits, but as late as 1970, only Texas required welfare and Medicaid recipients to be U.S. citizens. Nine other states barred non-citizens from some of their other welfare programs, "but the vast majority of states did not ask applicants about their legal status." The author suggests that state policy reflected the legacy of 19th century state poor laws which restricted aid only to "transients," not to people who had resided in the community for a specified period of time, whether foreign-born or native-born. The "restrictive turn" in federal policy started in 1972 under the Nixon administration when Congress created the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Between that year and 1977, unauthorized immigrants were barred from receiving Medicaid and AFDC, Food Stamps, and Unemployment Insurance. The Social Security Administration also stopped issuing Social Security numbers for unauthorized immigrants. The author suggests that these "dramatic" changes in federal policy had their roots in the sixties, when the Bracero program was eliminated and quota limits were placed on immigration from Latin America, thus leading to a growth in the unauthorized immigrant population. Although there is little evidence that unauthorized immigrants were abusing the system, and even less evidence that restrictions would deter people from migrating, "the symbolic value of restriction was good enough" for most policy makers.
What Kind of Welcome?  Integration of Central American Unaccompanied Children into Local Communities,
Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University, February, 2015, 29 pp.
Author: Elżbieta M. Goźdiak
The arrival of young migrants at U.S. borders is not a new phenomenon, according to the author of this study. Countless unaccompanied children have entered the country since Annie Moore, a 15-year-old Irish girl and her two younger brothers became the first immigrants to enter Ellis Island when it opened in 1892. After reviewing the several waves of unaccompanied children to have entered the United States since that time, Goźdiak focuses on the 2014 migration. Citing data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Pew Research Center and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the first part of the study examines the demographic characteristics of this population, emphasizing the growing number of females and the surge in the number of Central Americans. The second part, drawing on interviews with school officials, policy leaders, attorneys, and community leaders, focuses on how these children have been received and integrated at the community level. The author identifies strategies to overcome some of the challenges they face, highlighting the central role that community programs have played in creating welcoming and cohesive communities. The author also provides details on programs that have proven most successful in addressing the emotional needs of this population. (Ariella Katz-Suchov for The ILC Public Education Institute)  

Examining the Hidden Ideologies within Cultural Competence Discourses Among Library and Information Science (LIS) Students:  Implications for School Library Pedagogy,
School Libraries Worldwide, 19:1 January, 2013, 13 pp.
Authors:  Kafi D. Kumasi & Renee f. Hill

The goal of this research is to elucidate the "dominant and competing discourses around cultural competence" in the field of library and information science (LIS).  The authors begin by reviewing the literature on cultural competency within the LIS field. They point out that some scholars have exposed "the conceptual blind spots and false ideologies" that exist within the profession, which tend to obscure the role of race and class in American society.  One researcher (Pawley, 2006) identifies four dominant paradigms that tend to guide LIS teaching and practice, including the business/management model, which sees library and information users as consumers or customers, or the mission/service model, which depicts them as clients or patrons. In this paper, the authors administered an electronic survey to LIS students at two accredited institutions. The survey responses tended to show the strength of the dominant service-oriented ideology in which "the library user is depicted as a somewhat powerless consumer of the goods or services that an all-knowing librarian has procured for their benefit." An alternate view of cultural competency, reflected in some of the survey responses, values "authentic interactions with people and engaging with the cultural context of their daily lives." 

Immigrant Access to Health and Human Services: Final Report
Urban Institute, October, 2014, 25 pp.
Editors:  Julia Gelatt & Heather Koball
This report contains information drawn from seven briefs and one policy report produced by the Immigrant Access to Health and Human Services Project of the Urban Institute - an initiative that analyzed policies and practices that govern immigrant access to health and human services in the U.S. The research found that "complicated eligibility criteria combined with existing data systems and eligibility screening forms and processes made enrollment difficult for both agency staff and immigrant families." Other barriers included the lack of availability of in-person translation services, inaccessible service locations, and misperceptions regarding  the consequences of enrollment on undocumented family members. As a result, eligible low-income immigrant families have lower utilization rates for programs like SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, and CHIP than other low-income families. However, research in the states of California, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas revealed a number of promising practices to close this gap. The most commonly mentioned one was collaboration with immigrant-serving, community-based organizations. "Community-based organizations can provide linguistically and culturally appropriate outreach, build trust between immigrant communities and programs, bring enrollment services to places immigrants already visit, overcome cultural barriers, and communicate important program and eligibility information." The report also spells out a number of techniques that might prove useful with mixed status families.

How can a metro embrace and build on the strengths of its immigrant communities?
Brookings, The Avenue, September 30, 2014, 23 pp.
Author: Jennifer Bradley
The article is adapted from a book entitled The Metropolitan Revolution published by Brookings. When outsiders look at a high-poverty neighborhood, they often focus on what's wrong with the neighborhood instead of what's right. "How can a metro embrace and build on the strengths of its immigrant communities?" focuses on the Houston-based nonprofit group Neighborhood Centers, Inc. and its use of the Appreciative Inquiry model, a management style that challenges people to examine the positive aspects of a community or organization rather than to "fix" it. Neighborhood Centers has implemented this model in Gulfton and Pasadena, high-poverty communities in the Greater Houston area with large immigrant populations. Interwoven with graphics, pictures and video interviews, the article describes how neighborhood residents were asked to contribute their skills and abilities to make the neighborhood better. It also discusses the demographic history and evolution of Gulfton and Pasadena, and how the "wish list" of the community became the blueprint for the services of a new community center that opened in 2010 and served 23,000 people during its first year and a half.  Neighborhood Centers has now grown to become one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the U.S., with a budget of $275 million and a presence in 58 other locations in the Houston region. The organization is adept at "tak(ing) rigid, compartmentalized, regulation-encrusted funding streams and braid(ing) them together to provide the services that new and low-income Houstonians need if they are to flourish." This article examines current services provided to Houston community members through partnerships, including statistics on the effectiveness of Neighborhood Centers' Head Start program, charter school, and adult education program. (Ariella Katz Suchow for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)

Immigration and the Changing Landscape for Local Service Delivery:  Demographic Shifts in Cities and Neighborhoods,
Urban Institute, March, 2014, 8 pp.
Authors: Julia Gelatt, Gina Adams, William Monson 
Rising immigration has varied impacts on the size, dispersion, and diversity of immigrant populations in local communities. According to this report, corresponding services and policies must be differentiated and context-specific. Overall, the growth in U.S. immigrants and their children rose from 14 million in 1980 to 41 million in 2012-from 6 percent to 13 percent of the total population. While traditional areas like New York and California reflect these trends, the fastest growth has been in the Southeast. At the same time, European immigration decreased, while immigration from Mexico/Central America, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean increased; such a shift in immigrant demographics impacts agencies providing services. The report contains sample maps to illustrate the importance of place-based planning. The rise of Mexican/Central American immigrants in Raleigh (NC) occurred as academic and research institutions attracted highly skilled immigrants. By contrast, Houston showed steady growth in the Mexican population, but also increasing numbers from China, Vietnam, and India. Meanwhile, Minneapolis-St. Paul showed a pattern of balanced growth in its Mexican, Asian, and East African populations. The report emphasizes the importance of neighborhood-level shifts, which impact service delivery provision. Chicago's Archer Heights, for example,  changed from a predominantly Polish community comprising 49 percent of the total local immigrant population in 2000 to being 75 percent Mexican in 2011. Meanwhile, the Near South Side saw growth in its Southeast Asian populations. Here, the same city has differing neighborhoods requiring contextualized responses and skill sets from agencies. Related challenges include: communication, different beliefs, legal status, and establishing relationships with community leaders. Knowledge of trends and data, flexible approaches, and diversifying a range of resources are crucial in service delivery. (Colin Liebtag, Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work)

Ten Years of Language Access in Washington, DC,
Urban Institute, April 15, 2014, 39 pp.
Authors: Hamutel Bernstein, Julia Gelatt, Devlin Hanson, William Monson
Written with support from the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights, this paper analyzes the achievements and shortcomings of the DC Language Access Act of 2004. One of only a few cities in the U.S. to have passed such legislation, the District has seen a significant inflow of immigrants since 1980. Roughly 1 in 20 District residents are either limited or non-English proficient. The report summarizes the provisions of the Act and discusses steps taken to implement it.  The report also provides a detailed demographic analysis of the limited English proficient (LEP) population, so that agencies with a more specific mandate, e.g. poverty-reduction, senior services, might understand how the LEP population intersects with their populations of interest. The report concludes with a number of recommendations to improve the Act's effectiveness, including improved data collection and analysis, greater attention to recognizing and strengthening the District's multilingual personnel, improved coordination between agencies, and possible new investments to ensure greater access to language access services.

Governing by Guidance: Civil Rights Agencies and the Emergence of Language Rights,
Harvard Civil Rights -  Civil Liberties Law Review, April 17, 2014, 52 pp.
Author: Ming Hsu Chen
This article traces the emergence of language rights for non-English speakers out of the "national origins" provisions of Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - a development that occurred without any explicit reference to such rights in the legislation. The author credits the initiative of "policy entrepreneurs" within the federal government for this expansion of rights, rather than any pressure from activists within immigrant communities. Working within regulatory agencies, these individuals "used nonbinding guidances to interpret the undefined statutory term ‘national origin discrimination'" and in so doing, provided "meaningful legal protection for a neglected group," whose numbers were growing sharply thanks to the passage of landmark immigration reform in 1965. The author contends that social scientists tend to overlook regulatory agencies as "institutional change actors and regulatory practice as a mechanism of change. To the extent that they do consider agencies, they paint agencies as weak institutions subject to significant political or organizational constraints." The author provides two case studies to buttress her argument: the efforts of the Office of Civil Rights to combat linguistic isolation and lack of educational opportunity in the schools, and the work of the EEOC to define national origin discrimination in the workplace. Although Congress and the courts acted to constrain the efforts of bureaucrats, particularly in the case of the EEOC, their work "enable(d) the law to keep pace with changing circumstances and assist(ed) the ongoing quest for equal opportunity."

Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for all Children,
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2014, 33 pp.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation developed the Race for Results Index "to better measure the impact of a child's race on his or her opportunity for success in adulthood." The index is made up of 12 measures, including normal birth weight, pre-school enrollment, reading scores at the 4th grade level, math scores at the 8th grade level, high school students graduating on time, teenagers delaying childbearing until adulthood, and children living in two-parent families. Results are reported by race and ethnicity, singly and in composite form, and by state.  Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest composite score at 776, followed by white children at 704, Latinos at 404, American Indians at 387 and African-Americans at 345. In interpreting the results, the authors give two caveats: first, that the scores sometimes mask significant intragroup differences; and second, that "a family's immigrant status often is a determining factor in the well-being of children." In each of the separate racial and ethnic sections of the report, there are sidebars pertaining to the immigrant cohort within each group.  The report concludes with four broad recommendations designed to improve outcomes for "children of color - especially African-Americans, American Indians, and Latinos - (who) are in serious trouble in numerous issue areas and in nearly every region of the country."

"Are We There Yet?" Immigration Reform for Children Left Behind,
Regent Journal of International Law, 2013, 31 pp.
Authors: Keila E. Molina & Lynne Marie Kohm
This article calls attention to the plight of millions of citizen children left behind in the U.S. after their parents were deported; more than 5,000 of these children are now in foster care.  The authors trace the root of the problem to the failure of federal immigration law to take into consideration the "best interest of the child" doctrine, which is considered "central to American family law."  Nor does the federal government consider the impact of its actions on state actors. "State governments are expected to handle the fallout and devastation from the separation of these families without receiving recognition or assistance from the federal government."  According to the authors, there are at least 22 states where parental rights have been terminated by family court judges on the grounds that parents who entered the country illegally engaged in criminal behavior and were therefore unfit to raise their children. The authors make ten recommendations to address these problems, including allowing federal immigration judges to consider the best interest of the U.S. citizen child when his or her parent is in deportation proceedings; using methods such as house arrest or angle bracelet detention, rather than detention, to allow parents to care for their children during their hearing process; and federal reimbursement to states for child welfare costs associated with immigration enforcement.

The Immigrant "Other": Racialized Identity and the Devaluation of Immigrant Family Relations,
Northern Illinois University College of Law, February 3, 2014, 60 pp.
Author: Anita Ortiz Maddali 
When undocumented parents are detained or deported their children, often U.S. citizens, become involved with state child welfare systems, which determine appropriate temporary or permanent custody. The author draws upon historical and current practices and legislation, as well as case examples to show how ideas of identity and culture serve to bias officials against the parental rights of immigrants without status.  According to a qualitative study done by the Applied Research Center, at least 5,100 children are in the foster care system as a result of immigration detention and deportation. The article suggests that children of undocumented parents are more likely to be placed in foster care as a result of the anti-immigrant bias of child welfare officials, who keep children from being placed with other family members or returning to their parents' country of origin if deported. When the parental rights of undocumented parents are terminated, "these decisions may have more to do with tensions around identity than the protection and welfare of children."   As boundaries between the immigration and criminal justice systems have dissolved, there is a growing tendency for the public to believe that a parent's undocumented status equates to abuse or neglect of their children. The author draws a parallel between current anti-immigrant biases in the legal and child welfare system and the removal of  immigrant children on the "orphan trains" of the late 19thcentury to be raised by Anglo-American families in the West, and the use of boarding schools to "civilize" Native-American children. The author urges passage of the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for Separated Children Act introduced in the Senate and a companion bill in the House. Finally, she takes issue with legal scholar Marcia Yablon-Zug who has argued that the State has an interest in keeping U.S.-citizen children in America. (Jade Flora-Holmquist)

Immigrant Legal-Aid Organizations in the United States,
Urban Institute, October, 2013, 8 pp.
Authors:  Erwin de Leon & Robert Roach 
Knowing that the application process for legal status will be "long, arduous, and costly," the authors of this study weigh the capacity of nonprofit legal service providers in the United States to respond to the anticipated surge in demand for legal services from the estimated 8 million individuals who will be eligible to apply for legal status under various immigration reform proposals. Using a variety of methods, the authors estimate that there are at least 684 such organizations around the country. A map shows the location and relative budget size of these organizations.  The authors are then able to determine the ratio of projected new clients to each existing organization. For example, nonprofits offering legal aid services in Texas would be confronted with a 1 to 41,250 client ratio, whereas New York nonprofits would have a 1 to 7,911 ratio. In order to prepare effectively for the influx of immigrant clients needing legal assistance, Roach and de Leon propose a more in-depth analysis of the nonprofit legal services sector.  "Adding thousands of new cases to existing caseloads without substantial infusion of resources - funding and staffing and volunteers - is not a realistic scenario." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)

Rainbow Welcome - A Field Manual for LGBT Refugee Resettlement,
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, 2012, 65 pp.
This publication is intended to support resettlement service providers as they adapt their services to meet the specific needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) refugees and asylees.  According to the authors, "the housing, employment, health, and safety concerns shared by LGBT refugees upon their arrival are unique and require specialized interventions."  The manual describes LGBT refugees as being "doubly marginalized," as they are often shunned and discriminated against by members of their own ethnic groups. The first chapter of the manual offers a primer on sexual orientation and gender identity as influenced by the myriad of cultures from which refugees and asylees spring. The next chapter discusses how to make resettlement agencies a "safe space" for LGBT refugees. Additional chapters examine the specific services, including employment, vocational, housing, health, legal, mental health and substance abuse, that are vital to the successful resettlement of LGBT refugees. The manual is the product of the feedback and insights gained from a series of regional training workshops conducted by Heartland Alliance around the country. Heartland Alliance developed the manual with the financial support of the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Building a Wall around the Welfare State, Instead of the Country
Cato Institute, July 25, 2013, 22 pp.
Authors: Alex Nowrasteh & Sophie Cole

In order to build stronger public support for, and maximize the fiscal benefits from, immigration reform, the authors of this policy analysis argue for a major narrowing of immigrant eligibility for means-tested programs, including Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, SSI, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and other programs. As a conservative think tank promoting immigration reform, the leaders of the Cato Institute (publishers of the report) believe that immigration benefits the American economy in a myriad of ways, but that these benefits can be broadened "by building a wall around the Welfare State."  The authors project that "preventing noncitizens from accessing means-tested welfare programs will immediately save taxpayers more than $29 billion for the five programs under discussion." Moreover, the "high cost of naturalization would likely dampen, although not eliminate, any rush to naturalize that would occur if the strict welfare restrictions were enacted." The Cato writers are sanguine about the impact of their proposal on the immigrant population. "The success of second generation immigrants in the United States in terms of education, income, home ownership rates, civic assimilation, and poverty rate convergence with natives is evidence that welfare is not needed to promote intergenerational mobility or immigrant assimilation. By reducing the small amount of immigrant welfare dependency that exists, the pace of intergenerational mobility could actually increase."

Race, Legality, and the Social Policy Consequences of Anti-Immigrant Mobilization,
American Sociological Review, 2013, 25 pp.
Author: Hana E. Brown

This article explores how racial depictions of Hispanics influence welfare policy.  Previous research has shown that Black racial stereotypes have long emboldened get-tough welfare campaigns. Is similar imagery for Hispanics fueling roll-backs of benefits? Through case studies of California and Arizona in the 1990s, the author finds that two different "racial frames" seem to produce diverging results. The first frame, predominant in California, demonizes illegal Hispanic immigrants but contrasts them with virtuous and hard-working legal Hispanic immigrants. The second frame, common in Arizona and more explicitly racist, attributes moral worth to White citizens and derides all Hispanics as undeserving. By conducting a content analysis of 500 randomly sampled news stories about welfare reform in each state, along with follow-up interviews with key leaders of welfare reform efforts, the author found that the "cultural discourse" in California shifted welfare policy in a more "lenient" direction, whereas in Arizona, it led to the "passage of harsh reforms."   Thus, the "legality frame" seems to more productive of progressive social policy "because it incorporates multiple groups (including native-born and foreign-born, in-status Hispanics) under the umbrella of legal immigrants"

A Local Official's Guide to Language Access Laws,
Hastings College of the Law, University of California, 2013, 37 pp.
Authors: David Jung, Noemi Gallardo & Ryan Harris
Although written primarily for a California audience, this publication also offers useful information for general readers. The report reviews federal laws and regulations requiring language access services, and includes a description of the "four factor test" to determine whether such services must be provided, and the "safe harbor provision" to determine whether vital documents must be translated into foreign languages. California-specific sections of the report discuss the provision in the state constitution declaring English to be the official language and whether this provision places limitations on the use of non-English languages in local governance. The report also reviews two California laws requiring local agencies to provide language accommodations: the California Civil Right Act and the Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act. Finally, the report concludes with a description of how cities in California and around the country (Oakland, San Francisco, Monterey Park, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle) are proactively addressing language access issues.

Taking Action against Violence and Discrimination Affecting Migrant Women and Girls,
International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2013, 7 pp. 
This report suggests that violence against women is rampant throughout the migration process.   Risk factors include legal status, age, class, culture, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.  Domestic violence may occur in migrant families as male partners physically and sexually abuse women or children in order to maintain traditional gender roles in the new country.  Women may also encounter physical abuse from law enforcement, employers, or local civilians during migration.  Sexual exploitation is common in exchange for transportation, food, or accommodation.  "Systematic disempowerment" occurs as women experience difficulties accessing the labor market and public services. Moreover, migrant women are more likely to be employed in domestic, factory, agriculture, or entertainment which may lead to poor working conditions, low wages, and/or sexual exploitation.  Victims are unlikely to report incidents of violence or workplace abuses for fear of losing their legal status or facing repercussions.  IOM recommends ratifying, implementing, and enforcing existing human rights policies through coordinated multi-sectoral approaches in order to effectively address violence against migrant women and girls.  (Lorin Mordecai)

Poor Immigrants Use Public Benefits at a Lower Rate than Poor Native-Born Citizens,
Cato Institute, March 4, 2013, 8 pp. 
Contrary to the myth that immigrants in the U.S. are a drain on the social welfare system, this report suggests that low-income immigrants actually access public benefits at a lower rate than their native-born counterparts. When immigrant children and adults do receive assistance, the average benefits value per recipient is almost always lower for immigrants than for the native-born. Using data from the 2012 Current Population Survey and available medical records, the study found lower utilization rates and lower average benefits for non-citizens in four programs:  Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income. In the Medicaid program, for example, "if there are 100 native-born adults, the annual cost of benefits would be about $98,400, while for the same number of non-citizen adults the annual cost would be approximately $57,200. The benefits cost of non-citizens is 42 percent below the cost of the native-born adults." The findings are consistent with other recent reports, e.g. the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2013), which found that Latinos use less than their fair share of government benefits, and the Russell Sage Foundation, whose research "provides little indication of welfare abuse or dependency among new immigrants." The report also attempts to correct methodological flaws in a study (2011) of immigrant benefit utilization by the Center for Immigrant Studies.(Denzil Mohammed)

Protecting Migrants During Times of Crisis: Immediate Responses and Sustainable Strategies,
International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2012, 30 pp.
Aware of the serious dilemma facing many immigrants during Libya's 2011 civil war and revolution, the IOM decided to devote the 2012 International Dialogue on Migration to the plight of migrant people during natural and man-made disasters --  a problem it calls largely "invisible and underreported."  Held in Geneva, Switzerland, in September of 2012, the conference drew 300 participants from government, international and non-governmental organizations, research institutions and others.  The publication opens with a chair's summary, followed by a more detailed report on conference deliberations and recommendations.  A seven-page paper prepared for conference attendees is included in the appendices.   The report suggests that the intersection of migration and humanitarian assistance will gain greater importance in the years to come. In addition to their exposure to the same risks as native-born populations, migrants have "specific vulnerabilities" related to legal status; difficulties in accessing supports, such as language barriers and lack of information about available services; employer restrictions on migrants' freedom of movement; and in some cases a climate of discrimination and xenophobia.  Attention to migrant concerns needs to be woven into emergency planning both "before" , "during" and "after" a crisis. In addition, different actors have different responsibilities in addressing these issues, including countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as recruiters and employers.

Falling Through the Cracks, The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System,
Immigration Policy Center and First Focus, December, 2012, 10 pp.
This paper reviews recent research on the effects of immigration enforcement on children. Between July 1, 2010, and September 30, 2012, 204,810 parents of U.S.-citizen children were removed from the U.S. The precise number and circumstances of children left behind are not known. However, according to the authors, the risks to these children are great, including: disruption to the family unit, social and economic stress, poor educational outcomes, and weakened economic security caused by the loss of income from the deported parent. In 2011, the Applied Research Center estimated that ca. 5,100 children with a detained or deported parent were in the public child welfare system; these numbers are expected to grow in future years if the current pace of deportations continues. The authors point out that local immigration and child welfare agencies rarely collaborate, and policies are not in place to promote family reunification. Immigration may transfer parents to detention centers outside their home communities; parents may not be able to participate meaningfully in family court proceedings; and federal guidelines mandate termination of parental rights when a child has been in foster care for 15 of the previous 22 months.  The paper proposes a number of solutions to ameliorate this situation, including the passage of laws similar to those passed in California in October, 2012 (the Call for Kids Act and the Reuniting Immigrant Families Act).

Caught in the Housing Bubble:  Immigrants' housing outcomes in traditional gateways and newly emerging destinations,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, Univ. of Southern California, November, 2012, 26 pp. 
This report looks at housing trends for immigrants and the native-born population since the onset of the great recession.  Using data from the American Community Survey, researchers studied homeownership, household formations (captured through a study of "headships," i.e. the ratio of household heads to adults), and residential mobility (moves within the previous year).  Housing outcomes were looked at across three types of metropolitan areas: established immigrant gateways, emerging gateways, and small metros. In general, immigrants fared better than their native-born counterparts.  While native-born homeownership, for example, decreased nationally from 67.3 percent in 2000 to 66 percent in 2009, immigrant homeownership increased from 45.2 percent to 49.1 percent.  During this period, native-born families showed declines in headship, while immigrant families showed slight increases. Immigrant mobility also declined in established gateway from 39 percent to 32 percent and in emerging gateways from 49 percent to 40 percent.  In the future, researchers hope to look at the impact of specific changes in the job market on location choices and housing outcomes among immigrants. (Loren Mordecai)

Unintended and Unavoidable: The Failure to Protect Rule and its Consequences for Undocumented Parents and Their Children,
Albany Law School, August 13, 2012, 24 pp.
Exploring the intersection of child-welfare systems and immigration policy, this paper examines how allegations of child abuse and neglect can negatively influence judicial outcomes in immigration proceeding and, conversely, how immigration status often unduly influences the outcome of child-custody determinations. Drawing on several case examples, the author Sarah Hill Rogerson shows how the shortsighted application of state Failure to Protect Laws are often used to level neglect charges against immigrant mothers, many of whom are victims of intimate partner violence. Such actions fail to take into account the precarious situation created by immigration law and policies that make it difficult for the undocumented to report abuse. Immigration enforcement campaigns, such as "Secure Communities," that give local police the authority to enforce federal immigration law, create disincentives for victims to work with officials. This situation can often result in the elevation of an accusation, or minor infraction, into a deportable offense. The author discusses several cases in which immigrant women were persuaded to plead "no contest" to Failure to Protect, unaware that doing so would have negative consequences for both immigration and custody proceedings. The paper concludes with several policy recommendations aimed at aligning immigration law with family law concepts of parental rights and the best interest of the child. The author also offers suggestions for practitioners advising the undocumented, including the need to develop a safety plan for child custody in the event of parental detention or deportation. She also calls attention to the knowledge gaps in child welfare caseworkers and immigration officials and calls for more comprehensive and holistic training for both groups. (Dan McNulty)

Access Denied: The Unfulfilled Promise of the D.C. Language Access Act,
American University & DC Language Access Coalition, April, 2012, 44 pp.
This report examines the effectiveness of the District of Columbia Language Access Act of 2004, a comprehensive law that requires "covered entities" (those with substantial public contact) to provide oral language interpretation services for limited English proficient individuals and to translate "vital documents"  into high demand languages. Despite robust internal monitoring mechanisms built into the Act, the evaluation found "substantial deficiencies" in agency compliance with the Act. Researchers used a variety of methods to test compliance, including "18 in-person tests at government agencies, 27 tests of agency websites to assess language accessibility and the availability of vital documents, and 40 tests of agency interactions by telephone." Researchers also surveyed 258 limited or non-English speaking individuals and filed 15 Freedom of Information Act requests to gain insight into agency compliance, training and outreach procedures. Through these various means, the investigators  distill 10 recommendations relating to internal agency operations, 5 recommendations relating to agency oversight and accountability, and 4 recommendations relating to enforcement.

Promising Practices for language Access in Federal Administrative Hearings and Proceedings,
U.S. Dept. of Justice and Administrative Conference of the United States, February 3, 2012, 25 pp.
This is a report from a conference held in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2011. Representatives of the Social Security Administration and the Executive Office of Immigration Review (Dept. of Justice) discussed language access efforts within their respective agencies.  Another speaker reviewed services available through the National Virtual Translation Center, an interagency office established in 2003 for the purpose of providing quality translations for the intelligence community and other federal agencies. Finally, the manager of, the official Spanish language web portal of the U.S. government, discussed the "top 10 best practices for multilingual websites."

The Flow of Unaccompanied Children Through the Immigration System: A Resource for Practitioners, Policy Makers, and Researchers,
Vera Institute of Justice, March, 2012, 35 pp.
This report provides an in-depth exploration of the "complex web of policies and practices" that unaccompanied children face in navigating the U.S. immigration system. The report traces the sequence of steps from initial apprehension to case closure, which can result in removal to home country, voluntary return, or placement with a sponsor and possible relief from deportation. Beginning with a brief overview of the rights and responsibilities of custodial bodies, legal classification schemes, and the evolution of federal policy and legislation, the report goes on to detail the agencies and facilities children encounter in their journey across the "disjointed and labyrinthine" immigration and justice systems. Additionally, the report provides a description of the rights and recourse available to unaccompanied minors, along with the legal services and advocacy options available through the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  Concluding with a look at case outcomes, the authors note the need for empirical research in order to improve the experiences children undergo as they are processed through, and after they exit, the system.  Since 2005, the Vera Institute of Justice has administered the Unaccompanied Children Program funded by ORR, which seeks to improve access to legal services for unaccompanied children. In 2010, there were 8,207 children admitted to ORR custody after referral by the Department of Homeland Security, an increase of 35 percent over the previous year. (Daniel McNulty)

The Impact of Migration on Family Left Behind
Institute for the Study of Labor, February, 2012, 33 pp.
Written by Francisca Antman of the University of Colorado, this paper discusses the impact of migration on family members, i.e. non-migrant children, spouses, and parents, left behind in sending countries. The author reviews the limited research available on this topic and discusses some of the methodological problems encountered in doing research in this area.  In her review of non-migrating children's educational outcomes, she finds both positive and negative effects, sometimes correlated with the gender of the migrating parent.  She also notes a "detrimental impact of migration on time contributions and health outcomes for elderly parents," suggesting that governments and local institutions in sending countries should be sensitive to the possible weakening of traditional support structures for the elderly. N.B. Institute discussion papers often represent preliminary work and are circulated to encourage discussion of particular issues.

Language Access Laws and Legal Issues: A Local Official's Guide,
Institute for Local Government, 2011, 35 pp.

Although developed primarily for a California audience, this guide may prove useful for public officials in other parts of the country. The guide summarizes federal laws requiring language access services, with particular attention to the Justice Department's "Four Factor" analysis. The document also discusses the extent to which official language or English-only laws passed by state or local jurisdictions might weaken or undermine federal requirements for language access. The guide also reviews California's separate and robust requirements for language access under the California Civil Rights Act and the Bilingual Services Act. Finally, the guide summarizes notable features of local language policies in the following cities: Oakland, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Monterey Park, New York, and Seattle, and provides links to useful resources in a concluding section. 

Limited English Proficient Individuals in the United States: Number, Share, Growth, and Linguistic Diversity,
Migration Policy Institute, December, 2011, 12 pp.
This Data Brief analyzes the 25.2 million individuals in the United States over the age of 5 who are limited English proficient (LEP).  Representing 8.7 % of the total U.S. population, these individuals are concentrated in 13 states. The four states with the highest percentages are: California (19.8 percent), Texas (14.4 percent), New York (13.5 percent), and New Jersey (12.5 percent).  While Spanish-speakers accounted for 65.8% of the total US LEP population in 2010, the proportion of Spanish-speakers varies by region, state, and locality. Texas at 87.4 percent had the highest percentage while Montana and North Dakota at 20.8 percent had the lowest.  Other top languages nationally in 2010 were: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog.  Links to detailed companion charts may be found in endnote 5 of the brief.

Shattered Families: the Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System
Race Forward (formerly the Applied Research Center), November, 2011, 65 pp.
Increasingly, measures to detain and deport undocumented immigrants in the U.S.  have resulted in  the  forced separation of families, despite child welfare policies that make family preservation a priority. There are at least 5,100 children in foster care today due to parental detention or deportation. This study examines the impact of immigration enforcement on the child welfare system, using interviews, focus groups and analysis of qualitative data. The study suggests several factors that have contributed to family separation and sometimes permanent termination of parental rights: once children are taken into custody, ICE procedures, which lack due process, make it virtually impossible for parents to comply with Child Protective Service guidelines for reunification; prejudice, poverty, lack of social services, "unverifiable employment," inability to obtain driver's licenses, barriers faced by undocumented relatives in assuming kin-care, and limited knowledge of immigration law on the part of officials and social service workers,  contribute to obstructing parent-child reunification. Findings also suggest that that the Secure Communities program enables local law enforcement to subjectively and erroneously enforce federal immigration policy, despite policy directives to focus enforcement efforts solely on criminal threats. The study concludes with a number of policy recommendations for state and federal lawmakers. (Dan McNulty)

Media and Immigration: An International Dialogue Organized by the French-American Foundation - United States, 
June, 2011, 25 pp.
In November 2009 and in May 2010, the French-American Foundation convened two international symposia as part of its Media Coverage of Immigration (MCI) program. Held in Paris and Miami, the two symposia attracted media professionals and immigration experts from 18 countries and focused on improvements to the quality and depth of immigration reporting.  As a "highly complex and emotional issue, defined by important economic, social and political forces," immigration poses both a challenge and an opportunity to reporters.  There were four general  recommendations developed at the symposia: first, continue efforts to diversify the newsroom; second, find ways to give a voice to the ordinary immigrant, as opposed to "the most vocal and visible ones;"  third, reimagine the audience for immigration-related news stories; and fourth, "think outside the box" by recognizing that "immigration forces society to reflect upon its ideals, freedoms and institutions, and journalists too, should reflect on these larger questions as part of their work."
Housing the City of Immigrants,
Community Service Society, March, 2011, 19 pp
One of the major conclusions of this report is that housing conditions vary widely among immigrant groups, even when one controls for household income.  The researchers examined the degree of "housing stress" among specific immigrant communities using data from the 2008 New York City Housing and Vacancy survey. Housing stress is a composite of three factors: unaffordable rent burdens, poor apartment conditions, and crowding. Different immigrant communities experience these stressors in different ways. For example, immigrants from the former Soviet Union have the highest rent burdens, Mexicans are the most overcrowded, and Dominicans occupy the highest percentage of apartments with violations. These patterns, according to the authors, lead to an important conclusion:  "that housing stressors don't just affect individual households; they affect communities" and that advocacy groups must adjust their housing-related agendas to fit the particular circumstances of these communities.

Guidance for Integrating Culturally Diverse Communities into Planning for and Responding to Emergencies: A Toolkit,
National Consensus Panel on Emergency Preparedness and Cultural Diversity, Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February, 2011, 40 pp.
The Toolkit is a "user-friendly reference guide, with succinct summaries of key principles, practices, and strategies for appropriately working with diverse communities," including those consisting of immigrants and other limited English proficient individuals. The Toolkit is divided into two main sections.  Section I presents the National Consensus Statement on Emergency Preparedness and Cultural Diversity originally released on June 11, 2008 - "a historic moment in the life of the nation's emergency preparedness efforts."  The preamble to the statement notes "that racial and ethnic minorities experience higher rates of injury, disease, traumatic stress, death and loss due to public health emergencies as compared with non-minority populations." Section II identifies eight guiding principles that agencies, organizations, and providers should consider to improve their effectiveness in reaching diverse communities, along with suggested strategies and practices consistent with each principle. An "underlying tenet" of the Toolkit is that "effective preparedness and response requires the ongoing and active engagement of diverse communities."  The Toolkit also features links to useful resources.

Communication More for Less:  Using Translation and Interpretation Technology to Serve Limited English Proficient Individuals, 
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), January, 2011, 25 pp.
This manual describes new forms of technology that are lowering the cost of providing interpreting and translating services and expanding the range of language options available to government agencies and human service organizations.  Beyond Language Line, or telephone-based interpreting, the author covers more recent innovations, such as video interpreting, interpreter network technology, and multiple listener technology. The manual also reviews the pros and cons of technologies that dispense with third-parties altogether, including automated interpreting and machine translation. Finally, the report discusses specialized software designed to manage interpretation and translation projects within organizations.  As the field is evolving quickly, MPI intends to update this "catalogue of possibilities" on a regular basis.

Entering the Mainstream: Making Children Matter in Immigration Law
Fordham Urban Law Journal, 2010, 23 pp.
Author: David B. Thronson

This article proposes "three simple reforms" to American immigration law to bring it into line with "mainstream values" on the treatment of children: first, broaden the construct of family beyond the traditional nuclear family (recognizing, for example, the important role that Latino grandparents play in children's  lives); exclude children from grounds of inadmissibility or bars against adjustment of status; and  allow children to become "generators of immigrant rights" for their parents by at least reverting to pre-1996 "extreme hardship" standard to avoid deportation, rather than the current standard of "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship." The author concludes that "the misalignment of U.S. immigration law with underlying legal and societal values related to children and families has contributed to the growth of the unauthorized population in the United States," and that this misalignment must be addressed in any broad reform of the nation's immigration laws.

Caught Between Systems:  The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare Policies, 
First Focus and the Migration and Child Welfare National Network, 2010
More than 5 million children living in the United States today have at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant. This publication is a collection of three policy briefs examining the plight of these children as they come into contact with the child welfare system. Each brief offers recommendations for policy changes and system reforms.  
The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Child Welfare (12 pp) provides an overview of immigrant enforcement activities and the “unintended consequences for children and families.” Public Benefits and Child Welfare Financing (9 pp) highlights the difficulties that immigrant parents, caretakers, and relatives face when their immigration status prevents them from accessing critical public resources, court-mandated reunification services, or permanency options. Language, Culture and Immigrant Relief Options (10 pp) observes that child welfare policies and practices often do not reflect the current demographics of the child population, creating risks for children of immigrants within the system. 

Incorporating a "Best Interest of the Child" Approach into Immigration Law and Procedure
Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, Spring, 2009, 57 pp.
Author: Bridgette A. Carr

This article examines how the U.S. fails to protect both foreign-born and U.S. citizen children who are directly affected by immigration proceedings. The absence of a "best interest of the child" approach disregards a standard method of protecting children that is common in both domestic and international law.  The author discusses the nature and evolution of this approach in U.S. child welfare case law. She also points out that this approach is enshrined in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most universally adopted of all human rights charters ratified by all but two countries in the world. The article gives detailed examples of how the "invisibility" of children in immigration proceedings can lead to outcomes injurious to their welfare and safety.  The author then contrasts the U.S. practice with that of Canada, which requires the designation of a representative for children in immigration proceedings, and argues for the adoption of the Canadian model in the U.S.  She also addresses the most common objections to this approach, i.e. the additional resources required to implement the plan, and the fear that such an approach would "open... the floodgates to immigrants by allowing children to be a source of immigration relief for parents." With regard to the latter argument, the author states that many "best interest of the child" determinations may result in the child voluntarily departing with the parent or legal guardian.

New Americans Initiative: 6-year Report
State of Illinois, Department of Human Services, 2009, 65 pp.
In 2003, the Department of Human Services (DHS) of the State of Illinois, the largest agency providing and funding human services in Illinois, with a budget of over $5 billion, launched a coordinated and systematic effort to make its services accessible to limited English proficient individuals.  In 2005, DHS contracted with a team of consultants from the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law to interview executives and managers in each of DHS' six program divisions, examine current agency practices, evaluating them against national "best practice" standards, and produce a report and set of recommendations that became the basis of the agency's subsequent efforts to improve service accessibility.  When the governor of Illinois in 2005 decided to expand this work to other departments and agencies of state government, DHS became the model for the rest of state government. This report summarizes the work that was accomplished by DHS over the course of the six years. The report includes a number of useful appendices, including copies of departmental policy memoranda governing the provision of interpreting services and the payment of a 5% salary differential for bilingual state employees, as well as a sample customer service plan for limited English proficient persons.
Language Use in the United States: 2007,
U.S. Census Bureau, April, 2010, 16 pp.
Twenty percent of the American people speak a language other than English at home. Based on data from the 2007 American Community Survey, this report examines the preponderance of various languages, patterns of language change since 1980, the English-speaking ability of various language communities, and language concentrations in the 50 states. A particularly useful table estimates the number of limited English proficient people in each state. 

Eliminating Language Barriers for LEP Individuals:  Promising Practices from the Public Sector
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Summer, 2009, 37 pp.
Authored by Ted Wang, this report draws on input from the Language Access Practitioners Network, a group of state and municipal officials managing or overseeing language access programs. The Network was created by the Annie E. Case Foundation in 2006. The report analyzes language access legislation passed in the states of California, Minnesota, Maryland, Hawaii and Illinois, as well as local ordinances in seven U.S. cities. The report features a helpful discussion of some of the institutional barriers and political forces working against the introduction of effective language access policies and procedures. Wang also provides guidance in determining which governmental entities should be assigned responsibility for language assistance oversight and technical assistance.

A Social Worker's Tool Kit for Working with Immigrant Families: Healing the Damage: Trauma and Immigrant Families in the Child Welfare System
The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare, September, 2010 (Updated February, 2015), 35 pp.
This resource was developed in response to the growing recognition that the child welfare field faces many new issues of practice, policy and research arising from the rapid growth in the population of children in immigrant families. Established in 2006 and with an advisory committee of national experts in the field, The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare has sponsored several national conferences and produced a series of publications related to the challenge of working with vulnerable immigrant children. A full listing of these resources may be found on the website of the Network. 

Is This Working?  Assessment and Evaluation Methods Used to Build and Assess Language Access Services in Social Service Agencies

Migration Policy Institute, July, 2009, 28 pp.
This publication contains a tool kit of solutions for public and private agencies interested in establishing and maintaining high quality language access programs, and features descriptions of effective LEP data collection systems and program self-assessment tools.  The report is particularly useful in cataloguing the range of methods used to evaluate the language skills of new and current employees. Detailed descriptions of innovative and promising practices in the states of California, Hawaii, Iowa, Minneosta, Washington, and Wisconsin are highlighted.  The "secret shopper" program in New York City is also profiled. 

Language Access Webinars
Migration Policy Institute, 2008-2009
Growing out of an Annie E. Casey Foundation initiative to promote sharing and dialogue among public sector officials involved in developing and managing language access services, MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy launched a series of one-hour webinars on language access in October of 2008. Each webinar features several presenters who discuss innovative practices in various parts of the country. Among practices highlighted in the first three webinars are: Washington State's process for certifying and compensating bilingual employees; New York City's 2008 Citywide Executive Order on language access; the Washington, DC, Community Interpreter Bank; the Alaska Language Interpreter Center; the Office of Multi-Cultural Services (Hennepin County, MN); and the Translation and Interpretation Unit of the New York City Dept. of Education.

Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant and Refugee Communities:  Challenges, Promising Practices and Recommendations
A Report by the Family Violence Prevention Fund for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, March, 2009, 64 pp.
This report provides recommendations for funders interested in addressing the special challenges and complexities associated with preventing and responding to intimate partner violence in newcomer communities. The report discusses the tension that often exists between service provision and prevention efforts, as well as the optimal framework for service provision, i.e. whether specialized in nature or housed within a larger community-based organization offering a variety of services unrelated to domestic violence. The report features a 30-page literature review by Mieko Yoshihama of the University of Michigan School of Social Work, as well as case studies of 7 organizations doing exemplary work in the field, including the Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, NY, Manavi in New Jersey, and Casa de Esperanza in St. Paul, MN.

Language Access Advocacy
Management Information Exchange: An Exchange of Information for Legal Services, Winter, 2008, 7 pp
This article discusses recent successful language access advocacy campaigns organized by legal service entities, in partnership with immigrant community-based organizations in Arizona, California, New York, and Pennsylvania. The article is divided into two sections: the first focusing on language access in public benefits and health care, and the second, on language access in courts and law enforcement. The authors highlight and explain effective advocacy strategies.

Top Tips from Responses to the Survey of Language Access Strategies Used by Federal Government Agencies
Federal Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency, September 3, 2008, 4 pp.
Updated periodically, this document contains 25 recommendations in 10 categories, including strong language access coordination and accountability, meangingful access to web-based information, and consistent enforcement of quality control standards.

Integrating Immigrant Families in Emergency Response, Relief and Rebuilding Efforts
The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, 2008, 22 pp.
This report provides a framework for local planning to ensure that vulnerable limited English proficient families are not neglected and placed at risk before, during, and after disasters. More like a manual, the report contains step-by-step suggestions for emergency responders and examples of effective immigrant outreach practices from communities around the country. The report also features a listing of funding sources that could be tapped to support emergency outreach work to immigrant families.

Addressing the Needs of Immigrants and Limited English Communities in Disaster Planning and Relief

National Immigration Law Center, October 28, 2008, 11 pp. 
(Report no longer in the public domain)
Drawing on evidence of serious deficiencies in managing emergencies in localities with large numbers of immigrants, this report makes a number of recommendations, including the formation of partnerships between government agencies, disaster relief organizations, and immigrant-serving organizations; the avoidance of inquiries into immigrant status; the cessation of immigrant enforcement activities for the duration of the emergency; the relaxation of documentation requirements in areas where a disaster has caused the widespread destruction of documents; ensuring that disaster victims do not lose their preexisting immigration status due to the death of a spouse or loved one; and greater attention to meaningful language assistance in the delivery of disaster-related services.

The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare:  Emerging Issues and Implications
Conference Proceedings, Second National Forum, Migration and Child Welfare National Network, April 1-3, 2008, 
34 pp.
Bringing together researchers and practitioners interested in the impact of migration on child welfare policy and practice, this conference reviewed the status of key issues identified in an earlier 2006 conference on the same subject. The 2008 proceedings include a report from the "Promising Practices Committee," discussions of several case histories, a summary of the work of the Immigrant Children's Advocacy Project in Chicago, and abstracts of research projects underway in various parts of the country. In a presentation entitled "Beyond Cultural Competence," Jorge Cabrera of Casey Family Programs argues that practitioners working with immigrant children must pay attention to "issues such as acculturation, the family's ‘story' of migration, the social, economic and political circumstances that led to the migration experience, the struggles and hardships experienced by the family in their journey and the levels of isolation and connection that they may be experiencing in their present community setting."

Library Services for Immigrants: A Report on Current Practices,
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2007, 7 pp.
This report describes promising approaches, along with recommendations, to strengthen library services to immigrants. Areas covered include:  community partnerships, development of collections, information services, special programming and events, outreach, and planning. The report grew out of a working group of library and community representatives convened by the Office of Citizenship (USCIS).

School Year Filled with Missed Communication
Equity Monitoring Project for Immigrant and Refugee Education (EMPIRE), June 27, 2007, 25 pp. (Report no longer in the public domain)
In 2006, the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education adopted Regulation A-663 for the purpose of providing translation and interpretation services to hundreds of thousands of parents with limited English skills. This report, based on parent surveys, focus groups, and on-site visits, documents widespread noncompliance with the regulation and contains recommendations, such as the establishment of an accountability system, professional development for administrative staff, and parent education efforts, to improve the effectiveness of the regulation.

Achieving Language and Cultural Competence in Serving People with Limited English Proficiency in Illinois Department of Human Services Programs: Findings and Recommendations Report, 
January 30, 2006, 24 pp. (Report no longer in the public domain)
With support from several local foundations, the Illinois Dept. of Human Services undertook a comprehensive review of its track record in enabling limited English proficient individuals to access its programs.  An outside research team interviewed division staff members and analyzed documents and reports related to issues of language and cultural competence. The team then produced a series of nine recommendations, constituting a "strategic plan" for increasing the departments' effectiveness in serving LEP individuals. 

Ethnocultural Issues in Disasters: A Overview of Research, Issues, and Directions
Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 27(2004), 18 pp.
Authors: Anthony J. Marsella & Michael A. Christopher
The authors argue that disasters often involve "a complex cultural encounter," and that responders need to be aware of the communication patterns and cultural resources of impacted communities so as to provide effective assistance and promote "post-traumatic growth," not depression. The authors outline the scope of cultural competence training for disaster workers and offer a series of recommendations designed to improve culturally sensitive service delivery during disasters. Finally, they propose a research agenda, including the development of a "cultural disaster research archives" and the study of cultural variations in loss, grief, and bereavement. 

Mobility Information Needs of Limited English Proficiency Travelers in New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology, September, 2004,
Produced under contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, this comprehensive study explores the public transit needs of limited English proficient (LEP) persons in New Jersey. Noting the high correlation between public transit use and LEP status, the study reviews pertinent literature on language access, identifies best practices in LEP transit access both nationally and internationally, reports on the results of a survey to 575 LEP people on transit issues, discusses findings from 10 focus groups with LEP individuals, and outlines a series of cost-effective recommendations for improving access.

Denied at the Door: Language Barriers Block Immigrant Parents from School Involvement
Advocates for Children of New York and the New York Immigration Coalition, February 19, 2004, 55 pp.
Based on a survey of immigrant parents and students in the New York City School System, this report documents widespread failure to communicate in native language with immigrant parents. Without parental involvement in the education process, students will be deprived of parental support and schools will not have the full cooperation of parents.

Statewide Language Survey and Implementation Plan Reports
Bilingual Services Program, California State Personnel Board, 2003-2011
In compliance with California legislation mandating that state agencies employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual staff in public-contact positions and translate key documents into languages spoken by their clients, the Bilingual Services Program (BSP) was established in June, 2000, with six staff positions.  Perhaps the first comprehensive assessment of multi-lingual communication capacity within state government, this series of four biennial reports summarizes the progress made by the state in providing equitable services to limited English proficient individuals.  The report points out major areas of deficiency, as well as promising practices in particular departments/agencies. The advantages of a coordinated approach to language accessibility are stressed throughout the reports.