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One of the most important functions of government in immigrant-receiving countries is to develop policies and programs designed to bring about the long-term integration of immigrants and their descendants. The studies on this page look at this challenge in general terms, including ways to define key integration indicators and to measure success over time. Integration challenges and opportunities in specific fields of practice are covered on other Portal pages.
 
  
   

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.



 

 IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION

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.

Socioeconomic Integration of U.S. Immigrant Groups over the Long Term: The Second Generation and Beyond,
National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 24394, March 2018
Authors: Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo 
Large-scale immigration raises questions about the social and economic progress of new arrivals, their U.S.-born children and the third generation.  Some observers suggest that the sheer size and geographic concentration of recent immigration could hinder immigrants' social and economic integration. The authors of this paper examine some of the available data on this question, as well as methodological problems associated with the data. The Current Population Survey (CPS) has nativity questions about the respondent and her/his parents that may be used to assess generational change. CPS data show that nearly all second-generation groups have markedly higher education and income than their immigrant parents. There is variation, however, by immigrant group. Although second-generation Mexicans and Central Americans, for example, surpass their parents' income and education, their status lags behind that of other second-generation groups.  Because the parents of the Mexican and Central American second generation have extremely low education and income, their children may need more time to show comparable upward mobility. CPS data also show little education and income improvement between the second and later generations of Mexicans and Central Americans.  According to the authors, this finding may reflect methodological problems.  The CPS does not identify the third generation specifically, and instead combines third and later generations.  Another problem facing generational measures is "ethnic attrition." As many as 30 percent of third-generation Mexican children may not be identified as Mexican by the Hispanic origin question of the CPS. There is evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997), which more accurately identifies third generation Hispanics, that they are making much more substantial gains from the second to the third generation than what may be suggested by the CPS. However, the authors conclude that "it may take longer for their descendants to integrate fully into the American mainstream than it did for the descendants of the European immigrants who arrived near the turn of the twentieth century." (Rob Paral, Rob Paral & Associates)

Building a Mosaic: The Evolution of Canada's Approach to Immigrant Integration
Migration Policy Institute, November 1, 2017, 12 pp.
Author: Andrew Griffith
This report examines Canada's long-standing commitment to immigration and diversity, reviews the country's evolving approach to immigrant integration, seeks to explain the Canadian public's high level of support for immigration, and notes some old and emerging challenges. The structure of Canada's immigration system, along with resources dedicated to post-arrival services, facilitates the integration of Canada's newcomers. Integration considerations are built into the selection process, favoring skilled workers who can speak English or French. Policies and programs that facilitate settlement, encourage citizenship, and promote multiculturalism facilitate integration after arrival. Canada's commitment to multiculturalism, enshrined in law, aims to: "promote the recognition, retention, and fostering of identities to facilitate integration;" overcome barriers to participation; promote interaction between immigrants and receiving communities; and facilitate language acquisition. This model of integration has been largely successful and has enjoyed high levels of support from the Canadian public. A new influx of asylum seekers crossing the border from the U.S. may weaken that support. However, experts on Canadian immigration believe that the resilience of public support for immigration, the association of immigration with economic growth, and the participation of new Canadians in the political process, provide some degree of protection from populist waves sweeping the U.S. and Europe. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates) 

Working Together: Building Successful Policy and Program Partnerships for Immigrant Integration,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 18 pp.
Authors:  Els de Graauw & Irene Bloemraad
This essay argues for a "robust and coherent" national immigrant integration policy -- one that is "vertically integrated" through all levels of government, and "horizontally integrated" to encompass public and private sector actors and various types of immigrant destinations. At the apex of this structure would be a national immigrant affairs office with "dedicated staff and funding to oversee, develop and coordinate immigrant and refugee integration among federal departments and across levels of government." The authors also call for an expansion of the Office of Citizenship at DHS and a broadening of the role of the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement at DHHS.  The essay provides a summary of federal, state and local efforts to promote immigrant integration over the last two decades, including the establishment of 44 formalized city offices dedicated to immigrant affairs, the opening of five state offices with a similar mandate, and initiatives by 90 municipalities that have developed immigrant affairs commissions, task forces, or programs related to immigrant integration. At the same time, new public-private partnerships, such as the National Partnership for New Americans and Welcoming America, have been established to enhance communication among these various entities and to provide additional resources for their work. The authors also reference the nascent work of the Bush and Obama administrations to articulate and develop a federal role in immigrant integration. Without such a role, the authors suggest, the United States will likely lag behind the performance of other countries, especially in such areas as naturalization, economic self-sufficiency, and residential integration.

What's So Special about Canada? Understanding the Resilience of Immigration and Multiculturalism,
Migration Policy Institute, Transatlantic Council on Migration, June, 2016, 21 pp.
Author: Daniel Hiebert
This paper attempts to explain Canada's relatively positive outlook towards immigrants and immigration, and teases out some elements of the Canadian approach that may be replicated by other governments. Canada's consensus on immigration depends in part on viewing immigration through the lens of economic and demographic interests rather than as a test of the integrity of the nation. The downside is that there has been less sympathy for admissions for humanitarian reasons. Political consensus comes in part from the fact that 40 percent of voters are first- or second-generation immigrants, and so appealing to these voters is in the interests of the major political parties. The government involves a wide range of stakeholders in setting admission policy and implementing immigrant integration-including provincial and local governments and the private sector. In 2014-2015, the government's integration services budget averaged $4,000 per permanent resident. Some of the money was spent to prepare Canadian society for the newcomer population, and most of these funds go to local governments and nonprofit agencies in Local Immigration Partnerships, whose core principle is to foster "welcoming communities." Here are some lessons that might be drawn from the Canadian experience: first, the issues of immigration and integration should never be part of the same narrative as national security; second, governments should be more forthcoming about fertility decline in the native population, and how immigration might alleviate the consequent problems of workforce and economic decline; third, bring more stakeholders into the immigration and integration policy and implementation process, to spread a sense of ownership over immigration; fourth, communicate policy decisions clearly and follow through in order to maintain the public's trust; fifth,  demonstrate that the government is attentive to policy outcomes, and when unintended outcomes arise, implement corrective action;  and sixth, diversify immigration across categories and source regions, so there is no one group around which resentments may coalesce. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Welcoming Cities and the Policy and Practice of Refugee and Immigrant Integration: A Transatlantic Perspective,
American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Issue Brief, June, 2016, 8 pp.
Author: Susan Downs-Karkos
How are cities in Germany and the United States responding to the challenge of building welcoming communities?  What can local leaders in the U.S. learn from their counterparts in Germany, and vice-versa? These are two of the questions addressed in this essay by Susan Downs-Karkos, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Welcoming America. She also provides an overview of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange, "a first-of-its-kind opportunity for sharing ideas, approaches, and inspiration" among local welcoming community leaders in the U.S. and Germany. The first exchange occurred in April 2016, when representatives from five German cities spent nine days touring welcoming communities in Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, and Ohio. The next exchange will involve a delegation from the United States visiting German cities in the fall. Welcoming America will also undertake a six-month study exploring the "feasibility of establishing a Welcoming Germany city network to facilitate stronger connections among German cities..."

The Integration of Immigrants into American Society,
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine, September 2015, 458 pp.
Mary C. Waters & Marisa Gerstein Pineau, Eds.

This volume reflects the work of a panel of experts appointed by the National Academies to review the available research on the integration of immigrants and their children into American society. The panel focused on a range of areas, including education, occupations, health, and language usage. Defining integration as "the process by which members of immigrant groups and host societies come to resemble one another," the panel found that, with a few notable exceptions, members of the 2nd and 3rd generations were "more like other native-born Americans that their parents were." For example, second generation members of most immigrant groups met or exceeded the educational levels of typical third- and later-generation native-born Americans. The authors also found that first-and second-generation immigrants "have robust representation across the occupational spectrum," suggesting a welcoming attitude among employers and other workers. By the 2nd generation, poverty rates are comparable to that of the general population. Integration, however, does not always lead to positive outcomes for immigrants. Generally healthier and less prone to criminal behavior than native-born Americans, immigrants and their progeny come to resemble other Americans over time.


White House Task Force on New Americans: One-Year Progress Report,
The White House, December, 2015, 36 pp.
In April of 2015, the White House Task Force on New Americans published its 
strategic action plan to advance the civic, economic, and linguistic integration of new Americans. At the time of the plan's release, the President requested the 16 executive departments, agencies, and White House offices participating on the Task Force to report on their progress in implementing the 16 goals and 48 recommendations in the plan by the end of the year.  This report is the result of that review process. Among the accomplishments to date have been:  spearheading the development of the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign which now counts 48 cities and counties as members; developing an AmeriCorps program deploying 150 volunteers to assist with refugee resettlement work around the country; launching the Small Business Administration's "Made It In America" website and piloting entrepreneurship training for immigrants and refugees; and launching a citizenship awareness and promotion campaign. Plans for 2016 include:  hosting a Credentialing Academy "to share current best practices and to develop tools and resources to address credentialing and licensing issues" facing skilled immigrants; expanding and refining the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) website -- the "nation's largest online collection of resources related to refugee and immigrant children and families;" establishing a working group "to streamline and improve language access across federal agencies;" investing in a new model of providing integrated English and civics education; and hosting regional immigrant integration conferences throughout the U.S.

Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant & Refugee Integration,
The White House Task Force on New Americans, April, 2015, 64 pp.

In November 2015, President Barack Obama created a formal interagency body, called the White House Task Force on New Americans, to develop a plan of action to integrate immigrants into the civic, social, and economic life of the nation. Personnel from 18 federal departments and agencies served on the task force. The Task Force sought public input to guide its deliberations, including a National Call for Ideas, which generated approx. 350 submissions, online stakeholder listening sessions, and site visits to local communities. The plan contains 48 recommendations in four broad areas: building welcoming communities, strengthening pathways to naturalization and promoting civic engagement, supporting skill development and entrepreneurship and protecting New American workers, and expanding opportunities for linguistic integration and education.  Within each of these four areas, the report reviews existing federal, state, and local efforts, and then outlines recommended actions to be taken by relevant federal agencies. In December 2015, the task force is scheduled to submit a status report to the President on progress made in implementing these recommendations. Although the report refrains from recommending the establishment of a separate White House office to coordinate, monitor, and support integration efforts in the future, it does call for “strengthening the underlying federal infrastructure” and creating “interagency working groups” to focus on key issues, such as workforce development. The National Center on Immigrant Integration Pollicy of the Migration Policy Institute has assembled on its website the recommendations submitted to the White House Task Force by a variety of national and local organizations.

Migration Policy Index IV,
The British Council and Migration Policy Group, 2015, 212 pp.
Produced by a consortium of 37 national-level organizations led by the British Council and Migrant Policy Group, the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) measures policies to integrate immigrants in 38 countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania. It uses 167 policy indicators to create a multi-dimensional picture of immigrants' opportunities to participate in receiving societies. MIPEX covers eight policy areas which shape an immigrant's journey to full citizenship, including labor market mobility, family reunion, education, long-term residence, political participation, access to nationality, and anti-discrimination. First published in 2005, this is the fourth edition of the Index. The United States ranked 9th among the 38 nations in the effectiveness of its integration policies. Sweden, Portugal, and New Zealand had the highest scores. 

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)
  

The Future of Immigrant Integration in Europe: Mainstreaming approaches for Inclusion,
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2014, 36 pp.
Authors:  Elizabeth Collett & Milica Petrovic

This report examines "the next generation of immigrant integration policymaking" and defines "mainstreaming" as "the effort to reach people with a migration background through social programming and policies that also target the general population."  In place of, or in addition to, stand-alone integration programs, mainstreaming involves the effort to "embed" immigrant integration into programs that serve the general population. The report is based on ten months of research including an extensive literature review, detailed country case studies, in-depth interviews, and study visits to four countries: Denmark, France, Germany, and the U.K (MPI Europe will be publishing separate reports on integration efforts in each of the four countries over the course of the coming year).  According to the authors, the idea of mainstreaming immigrant integration has emerged only recently, and little research has been produced on the subject, largely because of its complexity.  The impulse to mainstream services stems from the fact that European societies are becoming more diverse, with growing numbers of second-and third-generation immigrants, who may face barriers not fully addressed in traditional integration programs. In addition, there is a widespread perception that there has been only "glacial progress in narrowing educational and employment gaps between native and immigrant populations" and that "some populations are becoming ever more segregated from mainstream society." The report argues that a successful mainstreaming strategy needs to address three critical elements: discourse, governance, and policy. Each of these elements can be "deliberate" or "de facto or organic." An example of a deliberate discourse strategy would be Germany's National Action Plan on Integration. An example of a de facto discourse strategy would be the social inclusion and ‘big society" plans in the U.K. The report is replete with examples of mainstreaming approaches in the four countries. Although the authors note that it is too soon to identify best practices, especially as evaluation and assessment of new policies and practices are lacking, the authors conclude by recommending "a number of elements that policymakers should take into account," including setting clear goals, building political will, and creating regular coordinating and reporting mechanisms.

European Modules on Migrant Integration
European Commission, February, 2014, 19 pp.
Developed with input from migration experts in the European Union, the European Commission has published the final version of its Modules on Migrant Integration. The purpose of this project "is to provide a common language and a reference framework regarding integration."  According to the authors, modules should go beyond simply the collection of good practices. "Modules should take knowledge exchange to the next level by providing Member States with negotiated recommendations on how to improve their integration policies and practices, based on the best existing evidence of what works." The Modules cover three main areas:  language and acclimation courses, receiving society commitments, and immigrant civic participation. The receiving society area is broken down into four sub-sections: preventing discrimination, ensuring equal access to public services, ensuring equal access to the labor market, and improving the public perception of migration and migrants. The civic participation area encompasses political participation, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and participation in civil sector organizations. The Modules include side bars discussing the evidence base (rated as low, medium, or high) for recommended practices.


Conundrum of an Immigrant: Assimilation versus Cultural Preservation
Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, 2012, 18 pp.
Author: Joanna Diane Caytas
Noting that "the discourse about the cost and benefits of cultural diversity is intense" both in Europe and North America, this paper reviews the different approaches to diversity, including the traditional model of assimilation, multiculturalism in all its variations, hybrid models,  and structuralism. The author also examines the role of religion in identity formation, as well as the effects of intermarriage.  Although elements of traditional culture may serve as a tool of adaptation, e.g. the emphasis on education in many Asian cultures, Caytas posits that assimilation wins out in the end. "No genuine and pure cultural preservation remains possible whenever a group faces assimilation. What appears to be an expression of determined cultural preservation is, in fact, merely another expression of assimilation actually occurring."  Although the policy implications of her analysis are not entirely clear, the author does observe that "vigorous efforts to preserve a culture alien to the place and country people inhabit may ultimately have an effect opposite to the one intended."

Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America,
Manhattan Institute, March, 2013, 20 pp.
Author: Jacob L. Vigdor 

Less noticeable economic and cultural differences between the foreign-born and native-born in the U.S. suggest a level of successful immigrant integration never before seen in U.S. history. This report from the Manhattan Institute finds a remarkable "near-disappearance of newly arrived, un-assimilated immigrants from American soil." The fourth in a series of reports gauging immigrant integration, Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America uses an "assimilation index" comprising economic, cultural and civic factors to measure the degree of similarity or difference between the foreign- and native-born populations in the U.S. Relying on 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey data, it notes a stunning reversal in the traditional pattern where more recently arrived immigrants tend to be less assimilated than long-term immigrants. Since the 2007 onset of the recession, the report finds that post-recession immigrants were more assimilated than those who arrived prior to it. It also notes that not only has immigration from Mexico, the largest immigrant supply country, dropped significantly but it is now on par with immigrants from Asia, a significant proportion of whom speak English and are high-skilled. Now that comprehensive immigration reform is back on the table, important shifts in U.S. immigration such as these must be considered in crafting relevant, realistic and "forward-looking" policies. The report includes detailed charts showing assimilation indexes for metropolitan areas in the U.S., as well as for immigrants from particular countries of origin.  (Denzil Mohammed)

Second-Generation Americans: A Portrait of the Adult Children of Immigrants,
Pew Research Center, February 7, 2013, 130 pp. 
Second-Generation Americans analyzes U.S. Census Bureau data to show that the 20 million adult U.S.-born children of immigrants are substantially better off than immigrants themselves. On key measures of socioeconomic attainment such as income, homeownership, educational levels, and poverty rates, adult children of immigrants outpace their parents and reach levels comparable to those of native-born Americans. As the current second generation also includes the children of earlier immigrants now deceased,  one cannot use these findings to demonstrate upward mobility between recent immigrant parents and their children. However, by disaggregating Hispanics and Asian-Americans from the broader second generation population,  one can make useful comparisons between the two generations. Hispanics and Asian Americans make up about seven-in-10 of adult immigrants and about half of the adult second generation. The report finds that the second generations of both groups are much more likely than the immigrants to speak English (about 90 percent are proficient English-speakers); to have friends and spouses outside their ethnic or racial group, to say their group gets along well with others (52 percent of Latinos and 65 percent of Asian Americans), and to think of themselves as a "typical American." The surveys also find that second-generation Hispanics and Asian Americans place more importance than does the general public on hard work and career success. They are more inclined to call themselves liberal and less likely to identify as Republicans. And for the most part they are more likely to say their standard of living is higher than that of their parents at the same stage of life. Given current immigration trends and birth rates, virtually all (93%) of the growth of the nation's working-age population between now and 2050 will be accounted for by immigrants and their U.S.-born children. By then, the nation's "immigrant stock" could grow from 76 million now to more than 160 million, at which point it would comprise a record share (37%) of the U.S. population. (Denzil Mohammed)

Rethinking Integration,
Institute for Public Policy Research, October, 2012, 20 pp.
In this brief, Myriam Cherti & Clare McNeil challenge the two most widely held assumptions in the debate on European immigrant integration policy, finding shortcomings in both the assimilative approach which focuses on the forging of a shared, national identity, and the multicultural, group-rights approach.  The authors contend that both models are flawed because they start from the premise that communities and cultural identities are fixed units, and, as such, focus attention on the "grand level of citizenship and national identity."  Rather, building from the work of Brubaker and others, the authors view culture as a collection of complex and shifting patterns that continually negotiate the boundaries of identity and, therefore, research on assimilation must instead focus on the everyday experiences of individuals and groups in order to develop effective integration policy.   The authors probe "the process of everyday integration" by surveying literature from four key areas where identities are often constructed and reconstructed: childcare arrangements, patterns of shopping and consumption, leisure activities, and "supplementary education," such as that provided by madrassas in the U.K.   Examining their hypothesis that policy can be better shaped through a) understanding the way that identity formation occurs; b) identifying the problems for social integration and group identity formation; c) and proposing ways in which they can be amended to ease tensions between groups as they emerge in each of these settings, Cherti & McNeil conclude that further ethnographic research in these everyday areas would aid policymakers in crafting a more effective approach to immigrant integration.  (Daniel McNulty)

Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future
Transatlantic Council on Migration (Migration Policy Institute), March 2012, 32 pp.
Written by Will Kymlicka, of Queens University in Canada, this paper disputes "four powerful myths about multiculturalism."  The first is that multiculturalism represents the "uncritical celebration of diversity."  Instead, he sees multiculturalism "as the pursuit of new relations of democratic citizenship, inspired and constrained by human-rights ideals." The second myth is that multiculturalism is in "wholesale retreat."  Instead, he marshals evidence to show that multiculturalism policies "have persisted, even strengthened, over the past ten years." The third myth is that multiculturalism has failed as a social policy; instead he offers evidence that multicultural policies have been successful. And the fourth myth is "that the spread of civic integration policies has displaced multiculturalism or rendered it obsolete."  Instead, he argues that multiculturalism is fully consistent with progressive forms of civic integration policies. Finally, the paper discusses the conditions that would permit "multiculturalism-as-citizenization" to flourish as a social policy. In this discussion, the author acknowledges that "desecuritization" (minorities from potential enemy nations), lack of border control, the homogeneity of immigrants (most immigrants from a single source country), lack of economic integration and excessive use of the welfare system by immigrants, could lead to a rejection of multiculturalism policies. Nonetheless, even under these circumstances, he sees such a rejection as a "high-risk move. It is precisely when immigrants are perceived as illegitimate, illiberal, and burdensome that multiculturalism may be most needed."

The Domestic Face of Globalization: Law's Role in the Integration of Immigrants in the United States,
Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, October, 2011, 31 pp. 
This article examines the role that law plays in either facilitating or impeding immigrant integration in the United States.  By taking "a domestic perspective on globalization" as well as looking at globalization's effect on local and national processes, three main themes are explored: legal protections against discrimination, the intersection of national and local legislation, and basic rights to social security. The authors briefly review the history of immigration law and discuss current legislative debates, finding that both political and economic pressures have contributed to fragmented and inconsistent policies. The article discusses the plenary powers held by Congress to enact immigration and naturalization legislation and the possible unconstitutionality of state and federal measures that discriminate against immigrants. In addition, the authors explore lawmakers' tendency to "favor...markets over rights" as a response to globalization, often ignoring the inseparability of global capital flow, outsourcing, labor mobility, and transnational migration. The authors highlight the need to recognize the impact of these fluid processes, as well as the importance of safeguarding civil liberties in order to strengthen social cohesion for immigrants and non-immigrants alike. The paper concludes with a call for the use of information and communication technologies to supplement integration efforts, increase media and cultural plurality, and build mobilization capacity within immigrant communities. (Dan McNulty)

Assimilation Tomorrow: How America's Immigrants Will Integrate by 2030,
Center for American Progress, November, 2011, 33 pp.
This report, prepared by demographers Dowell Myers and John Pitkin, is the second part of a project on immigrant incorporation conducted by the University of Southern California in conjunction with the Center for American Progress and underwritten by the MacArthur Foundation. Five indicators of immigrant progress (English proficiency, homeownership, education, living above the poverty line, better earnings, and naturalization rates) are tracked for four different cohorts of immigrants (arrivals in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s). The report notes "a remarkable consistency in the rates of advancement observed across decades for different waves of immigrants..."  The "core assumption" of the report is that the gains of early cohorts are predictive of results in 2030 for the large 1990s cohort, even with adjustments made for the setback of the Great Recession. According to these researchers, homeownership rates will rise to 72 percent, English fluency to 70.3 percent, and living outside of poverty to 86.6%. The authors also make separate projections for Hispanic immigrants, as well as immigrant youth who arrived before reaching 20 years of age.  The researchers also note that the projected gains for Hispanic immigrants in educational and economic attainment are constrained by the large numbers who lack legal status.

The Debate Over Multiculturalism:  Philosophy, Politics, and Policy,
Migration Policy Institute, September 22, 2011, 7 pp.
In this policy brief, University of California, Berkeley, Professor Irene Bloemraad distinguishes between three types of multiculturalism:  "demographic multiculturalism," or the description of the pluralism that actually exists in a particular society;  "multiculturalism as political philosophy," which she defines as a "philosophy centered on recognizing, accommodating, and supporting cultural pluralism'" and "multiculturalism as public policy,"  or the process of adapting to the cultural diversity of groups in a particular society. She notes that "social scientists have only recently begun to evaluate multiculturalism as public policy." One useful  tool is the "multiculturalism policy index (MCP Index)" developed by  two researchers in Canada, which measures the extent to which selected multicultural policies appear in 21 nations over a period of three decades. With some notable exceptions (Netherlands and Italy), "actual policy in many countries is slowly inching toward greater accommodation of pluralism, despite the political rhetoric around the perceived problems of diversity."  She further notes that opposition to multiculturalism as public policy on the part of majority populations may stem from concerns over demographic multiculturalism.

Immigrants in the United States:  How Well Are They Integrating into Society?
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2011, 25 pp
This paper examines recent research along four dimensions of immigrant integration in the United States:  language acquisition, socioeconomic attainment, political participation, and social integration.  Written by Stanford sociologist Tomás Jiménez and funded by the European Union, the paper finds that integration is "proceeding steadily, but unevenly." The author, however, notes some troubling developments that may stall integration in the future. One is the lack of legal status for large numbers of immigrants, which has adverse consequences not only for the immigrants themselves, but also for their American-born children. Other concerns include the crisis in public education and the economic downturn. Tomás argues that strong public schools and economic growth have facilitated the integration process, perhaps making up for the absence of European-style integration initiatives in the United States.  Without these supportive factors, the continuation of successful integration outcomes in the U.S may be in jeopardy.

Immigrant Integration and Policy in the United States: A Loosely Stitched Patchwork,
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California Berkeley, April 7, 2011, 37 pp.
This paper examines the most important policy domains and initiatives supporting immigrant integration in the United States. Written by Irene Bloemraad (UC Berkeley) and Els de Graauw (Baruch College), the paper argues that the "dominant laissez-faire outlook" toward integration and the variation in local integration approaches around the country, some encouraging but others exclusionary, are cause for some concern. Even academics in the United States, the authors note with some alarm, "envisage no major role for government in immigrants' social inclusion."  The authors then proceed to review current policies in such areas as language, education, health care, and public benefits. Although there are some bright spots, "the overall image is of gathering storm clouds threatening immigrants' successful integration."

Assimilation Today:  New Evidence Shows the latest Immigrants to America are Following our History's Footsteps,
Center for American Progress, September, 2010, 43 pp.
Examining data from the 1990 and 2000 censuses, and the 2008 American Community Survey, University of Southern California researchers Dowell Myers and John Pitkin see evidence that "assimilation is robust in the 21st century and follows the pattern of previous eras of American history." The authors trace six social and economic indicators:  citizenship, homeownership, English-language proficiency, educational attainment, occupation, and income; and follow a primary cohort of immigrants who arrived in the U.S.  from 1985 to 1989, and who were 20 years of age or older in 1990. Three indicators, in particular, show "striking" improvement:  Homeownership (rising from 16% to 62% over 18 years), men with individual earnings greater than the poverty threshold (rising from 35% to 66%) and speaking English well (rising from 56% to 64.1%).  Three other indicators, however, show relatively little change: high school completion, attainment of a B.A. degree, and movement into a professional or managerial occupation. When English language ability was evaluated for two other cohorts: immigrants age 10-19 in 1990 and those age 0-9 in 1990, the improvements were quite dramatic - over 80% for the first group and roughly 95% for the second. The authors find similar patterns emerging when they separately examine Mexican and other central American immigrants. The authors caution against the "Peter Pan Fallacy," which assumes that immigrants are frozen in time, "never aging, never advancing economically, and never assimilating," and which may be especially prevalent in states with recently arrived immigrant populations, where the workings of assimilation have yet to be observed.

Reconfiguring Settlement and Integration:  A Service Provider Strategy for Innovation and Results
Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance/Alliance canadienne du secteur de l'établissement des immigrants, May 16, 2010, 72 pp.

Written by Meyer Burstein, co-founder and former executive of the International Metropolis Project, this report provides an in-depth analysis of the Canadian immigrant and refugee service sector, based on "a series of workshops and focus groups with representatives of service provider organizations and ethnic-specific agencies" in cities across Canada. The report identifies "four strategic capacities" of the sector, including "an ability to comprehensively assess client needs and to assemble a bundle of services to address those needs, cutting across program silos."  The report contains 15 recommendations "aimed at clarifying the sector's strategic directions and strengthening its strategic capacities." One recommendation calls for "an internal study to map the areas in which (the sector) enjoys a comparative advantage over mainstream and commercial service providers."  Another recommendation calls for "a collaborative study with ethnic-cultural groups to determine how best to strengthen the sector's connections" with these groups, in order to "reinforce the sector's strategic advantages vis-à-vis mainstream agencies." Other recommendations are designed to bolster the capacity of the sector to be analytic and innovative, thereby preventing the sector from being "relegated to the role of passive observers and stoop labour, acting exclusively at government's behest." The report urges the development of "a sector-led, pan-Canadian institution comprised of settlement agencies and university-based researchers that would analyze and disseminate best practice information."  The new body would be "part clearing house and part think tank" and would be "wholly owned" by the settlement sector. 

A Century Apart: New Measures of Well-Being for U.S. Racial and Ethnic Groups,
American Human Development Project of the Social Science Research Council,  April, 2010, 22 pp.
Seeking to develop a more accurate measure of "human development" than gross national product, the United National Development Programme began issuing annual human development (HD) reports in 1990.  This approach has now been applied to the United States. Using health, educational, and family income data from the 2007 American Community Survey, the Council has produced state-level comparative data for government recognized racial and ethnic groups in the U.S and has uncovered wide variations between and among groups. Asian-Americans in New Jersey, for example, rank highest in human development among all population groups. Although significantly below Asians in HD scores, Latinos in NJ rank number 1 compared to Latino populations in other states. No effort, however, has been made to disaggregate the data to reveal significant differences among groups within larger pan-ethnic categories, e.g. the many nationalities that are grouped together as "Asian" or "Latino."

Protection through Integration: The Mexican Government's Efforts to Aid Migrants in the United States
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2010, 39 pp.
This report traces the history and describes the present work of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (Institute de los Mexicanos en el Exterior or IME).  Working through 56 consular offices and approx 75 staff in the United States, the IME represents, according to the report, "one of the most significant, if overlooked factors in US immigrant integration policy."  Mexico has become a world leader in "diaspora engagement," by recognizing that successful immigrant integration into host societies benefits both sending and receiving countries.  The report describes the various programs that have been established by the IME, including consular health stations (Ventanillas de Salud), the Mexican Migrant Advisory Council, the Binational Migrant Education Program, and an adult education community center program (Plazas Comunitarias) which in 2007 operated at 373 sites in 35 states. The report recommends that IME measure its results and outcomes in a more systematic manner so that other countries might learn from its experience.

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.

What Assimilation Means Today,
Zócalo Public Square, Chicago, November 6, 2009
Leading scholars and policy experts discuss the meaning of immigrant integration, including whether "assimilation is still a bad word." Presenters include: Tamar Jacoby (ImmigrationWorks USA), Gary Gerstle (Vanderbilt University), Noah Pickus (Duke), Jose Luis Guttierez (National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities) Richard Alba (CUNY), Dowell Myers (USC), and Peggy Levitt (Wellesley College). Video recordings of the keynote speech and the two panel sessions, as well as a written summary of all conference sessions, are available on the Zócalo website.

Learning from Each Other: The Integration of Immigrants and Minority Groups in the United States and Europe,
Center for American Progress, April, 2009, 36 pp.
This report compares and contrasts European and American approaches to immigrant integration. The report commends the European Union for its effort to define a common framework and set of principles to guide integration efforts on the member state level and its dedication of substantial resources for integration work. It urges the United States to follow a similar approach.  The United States, in turn, is commended for its strong antidiscrimination laws and its ability to enforce regulations on the state and local level -- achievements worthy of emulation by European states. The report calls for the creation of a "new National office of Integration in the White House," charged with reducing barriers to integration for both new immigrants and minority groups.