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Smart Inclusive Cities: How New Apps, Big Data, and Collaborative Technologies Are Transforming Immigrant Integration

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Smart Inclusive Cities: How New Apps, Big Data, and Collaborative Technologies Are Transforming Immigrant Integration
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The spread of smartphones—cellphones with high-speed Internet access and geolocation technology—is transforming urban life. While many smartphone apps are largely about convenience, policymakers are beginning to explore their potential to address social challenges from disaster response to public health. And cities, in North America and Europe alike, are in the vanguard in exploring creative uses for these apps, including how to improve engagement.

For disadvantaged and diverse populations, accessing city services through a smartphone can help overcome language or literacy barriers and thus increase interactions with city officials. For those with language needs, smartphones allow language training to be accessed anywhere and at any time. More broadly, cities have begun mining the rich datasets that smartphones collect, to help attune services to the needs of their whole population. A new crop of social and civic apps offer new tools to penetrate hard-to-reach populations, including newly arrived and transient groups.

While these digital developments offer promising opportunities for immigrant integration efforts, smartphone apps’ potential to address social problems should not be overstated. In spite of potential shortcomings, since immigrant integration requires a multipronged policy response, any additional tools—especially inexpensive ones—should be examined.

This report explores the kinds of opportunities smartphones and apps are creating for the immigrant integration field. It provides a first look at the opportunities and tradeoffs that smartphones and emerging technologies offer for immigrant integration, and how they might deepen—or weaken—city residents’ sense of belonging.

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The Impact of Unaccompanied Children on Local Communities – Frequently Asked Questions

September 16, 2014 Comments off

The Impact of Unaccompanied Children on Local Communities – Frequently Asked Questions
Source: Catholic Legal Immigration Network

There are three primary ways in which unaccompanied children may come to live in a particular community. Central American children who enter the United States alone and are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are transferred into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Initially, the children are cared for in one of approximately 100 short-term ORR shelters, located mostly along the border with Mexico but also in New York, Florida, Illinois, Washington, and other states. On average, children only stay in an ORR shelter for up to 35 days. The majority (85% to 90%) of them are then released to reside with a family member or other sponsor living in the United States while they await the resolution of their immigration cases. Those children who cannot be reunited with a family member may be placed in a state-licensed foster care program, also funded by ORR, until their immigration cases are completed. All children are placed into deportation proceedings upon arrival and will be ordered deported if an immigration judge finds they do not qualify for a remedy under current immigration law.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Profiles

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Profiles
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Learn about populations eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) nationally and in top states and counties. This data tool, based on a methodology that imputes unauthorized status using U.S. Census Bureau 2008-12 American Community Survey and 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation, provides estimates of unauthorized immigrant youth currently eligible for DACA, those who meet all but the educational criteria, and children who will age into eligibility. The tool provides estimates for 41 states and 111 counties, and detailed profiles for the U.S., 25 states, and 36 counties. (See below map to navigate to county profiles.)

Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in France: Education, Employment, and Social Cohesion Initiatives

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in France: Education, Employment, and Social Cohesion Initiatives
Source: Migration Policy Institute
In France, where integration initiatives are limited to an immigrant’s first five years in the country, “mainstreaming”—the practice of reaching people with a migration background through social programming and policies that address the needs of the general population—is an intrinsic characteristic of integration policy. However, because French law prohibits the collection of official statistics based on ethnicity, and because most children of immigrants are French citizens, it is difficult to assess to what extent policies aimed at the general population affect immigrant youth. This is further complicated by a deep societal distrust of policies that target a particular group over others, originating from the French republican principle of equal treatment regardless of origin, religion, or race.

This report traces the history and recent developments of immigrant integration in France, which has been a popular destination for migrants since the 19th century. The size of France’s foreign born population is on par with that of other European countries, but immigrants in France arrived earlier. As a result, France has one of the highest proportions of immigrant descendants in Europe.

France has primarily focused on integration initiatives that target youth in three key areas: education, employment, and social cohesion. A recent reorganization of the institutions responsible for implementing integration policy has effectively mainstreamed those programs. In addition, a new area-based approach to solving problems of inequality has taken precedence over initiatives that tackle issues specific to immigrant youth, including discrimination. This approach is also limited in its ability to reach immigrant groups that are more widely dispersed geographically.

As the government of President Francois Hollande considers further institutional changes to integration policy, including the delegation of responsibilities from the Interior Ministry to various relevant bodies, the concept of “mainstreaming” is likely to affect governance structures and the public discourse surrounding immigrant integration.

Migration, Diasporas and Culture: an Empirical Investigation

September 10, 2014 Comments off

Migration, Diasporas and Culture: an Empirical Investigation (PDF)
Source: Centre for the Study of African Economies

Highlights
• We model migration flows from low and middle income to high income countries.
• Incentives and costs shape the decision to migrate.
• The existing stock of migrants, the diaspora, helps to overcome the cost of migration.
• Diasporas in culturally distant countries are particularly useful in overcoming the cost of migration.
• Diasporas from culturally similar countries are less useful to potential new migrants, because they are more likely to assimilate in their host country.

As Growth Stalls, Unauthorized Immigrant Population Becomes More Settled

September 5, 2014 Comments off

As Growth Stalls, Unauthorized Immigrant Population Becomes More Settled
Source: Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project

The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States has stabilized since the end of the Great Recession and shows no sign of rising, according to new Pew Research Center estimates. The marked slowdown in new arrivals means that those who remain are more likely to be long-term residents, and to live with their U.S.-born children.

There were 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in March 2013, according to a preliminary Pew Research Center estimate, about the same as the 11.2 million in 2012 and unchanged since 2009. The population had risen briskly for decades before plunging during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

As growth of this group has stalled, there has been a recent sharp rise in the median length of time that unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. In 2013, according to a preliminary estimate, unauthorized immigrant adults had been in the U.S. for a median time of nearly 13 years—meaning that half had been in the country at least that long. A decade earlier, in 2003, the median for adults was less than eight years.

Executive Action for Unauthorized Immigrants: Estimates of the Populations that Could Receive Relief

September 5, 2014 Comments off

Executive Action for Unauthorized Immigrants: Estimates of the Populations that Could Receive Relief
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In the absence of legislative movement to reform the U.S. immigration system, the Obama administration is considering executive action to provide relief from deportation to some of the nation’s estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants. These actions could include an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, extension of deferred action to new populations, or further refinement of enforcement priorities to shrink the pool of those subject to deportation.

Using an innovative methodology to analyze the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data to determine unauthorized status, this issue brief examines scenarios for executive action publicly advanced by members of Congress immigrant-rights advocates, and others, providing estimates for DACA expansion or potential populations (such as spouses and parents of U.S. citizens) that might gain deferred action. Among the possible criteria for deferred action that MPI modeled are length of U.S. residence; close family ties to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, or DACA beneficiaries; and/or potential eligibility for a green card as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.

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