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Developing School Capacity for Diversity

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Developing School Capacity for Diversity
Source: Migration Policy Institute

For children of migrant background, school quality is critical to ensuring academic success. Research shows that school quality has a greater impact on the education outcomes of migrant children compared to their peers of higher socioeconomic status or ethnic majority background. Therefore, any comprehensive strategy to improve the educational position of migrant children must work to improve the quality of schools themselves.

School quality, or professional capacity, encompasses the capacity of its teachers, administrators, and other staff. It can be measured by examining the content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and interpersonal skills of instructors; the level of responsibility administrators give teachers; and whether all staff work together in a cohesive, professional learning community. Schools with these communities, in which teachers work continuously to improve their teaching practices and learn from their colleagues, are more effective in encouraging student achievement in disadvantaged areas than are schools where teachers do little to reflect on their practices.

This policy brief uses the concept of professional capacity to frame SIRIUS’s recommendations regarding school quality. It identifies four key areas for improvement: language diversity, the learning environment, social psychology and acculturation, and community connections. To develop expertise in these areas, the brief outlines three strategies for policymakers: build professional learning communities that focus on diversity, build networks of expertise on diversity, and develop teacher training programs dedicated to diversity.

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Shifting Focus: Policies to Support the Labor Market Integration of New Immigrants in France

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Shifting Focus: Policies to Support the Labor Market Integration of New Immigrants in France
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In France, immigrants are more likely to be unemployed or in low-skilled work than their native-born peers. Immigrants face a number of challenges to entering and advancing in the French labor market, including discrimination, foreign qualification recognition, and limited professional networks. Moreover, the French labor market is structurally unfavorable to new entries, whether migrants or native-born youth, and foreign nationals from outside the European Union (EU) are barred from many public- and private-sector jobs.

Despite these obstacles, the government has not made a policy priority of getting newcomers into jobs. Integration policy in France has traditionally come in the form of urban policy, targeting disadvantaged neighborhoods that often happen to have a large number of immigrants and their children rather than immigrants themselves. While there have been significant reforms to integration policy since 2000, the focus of these reforms has been cultural, not socioeconomic, integration. Many features of France’s robust workforce development system are available to immigrants upon arrival, including use of the public employment service that provides job search assistance and career counseling, but immigrants are excluded from the more prestigious elements like vocational training.

This report examines how well mainstream employment policies, in combination with recent integration policy reforms—particularly the introduction of a new category, “newly arrived migrants”—are supporting migrants’ integration into the labor market and advancement into middle-skilled jobs. The report provides an overview of immigrants’ progress in the French labor market and analyzes recent French immigration policy and the relevant aspects of employment policy, language and vocational training, and antidiscrimination programs. Finally, the report proposes some policy recommendations.

Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in the United States

November 2, 2014 Comments off

Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The first migrants from sub-Saharan Africa came to the United States as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Between 1519 and 1867 approximately 360,000 Africans were forced to migrate to the United States; in total, more than 10 million people were enslaved and brought to the Americas. Significant voluntary migration from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States did not begin until the 1980s. From 1980 to 2013, the sub-Saharan African immigrant population in the United States increased from 130,000 to 1.5 million, roughly doubling each decade between 1980 and 2010. Between 2010 and 2013 the sub-Saharan African-born population increased a further 13 percent, from 1.3 million to 1.5 million. As of 2013, sub-Saharan Africans accounted for a small but growing share (4 percent) of the 41.3 million total immigrants in the United States; they also constituted 82 percent of the 1.8 million immigrants born anywhere on the African continent.

Deportation and Discretion: Reviewing the Record and Options for Change

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Deportation and Discretion: Reviewing the Record and Options for Change
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Since Congress revamped the immigration enforcement system in 1996, the United States has formally deported (“removed”) more than 4.6 million noncitizens, with about 3.7 million of these occurring since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003. While the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have actively increased formal removals and the criminal prosecution of immigration violations, the Obama administration in particular has undertaken a series of measures to focus enforcement efforts on certain high-priority cases.

The result has been an increase of removals within the interior of noncitizens convicted of crimes, with criminal removals accounting for 80 percent of interior removals during FY 2011-13. Another result of this focus has been a steep rise in border removals, which represented 70 percent of all removals in FY 2013.

This report provides analysis of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database of all formal removals for fiscal 2003-2013 in which the agency played a role, as well as those carried out solely by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The report offers a profile of deportees and examines how removal trends changed during and between the Bush and Obama administrations as well as how closely the deportations adhere to current DHS enforcement priorities. It also outlines some of the scenarios for executive action said to be under consideration by the Obama administration, examining how potential changes to enforcement policy could affect the number of deportations.

Diploma, Please: Promoting Educational Attainment for DACA- and Potential DREAM Act-Eligible Youth

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Diploma, Please: Promoting Educational Attainment for DACA- and Potential DREAM Act-Eligible Youth
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Two years after its launch, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided temporary relief from deportation to more than 580,000 unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. With an estimated 2.1 million young immigrants potentially eligible to benefit from the program now or in the future, many educators, community leaders, policymakers, and government officials are trying to understand how DACA and potentially DREAM Act criteria affect eligibility.

Several factors are thought to contribute to the reluctance of many unauthorized youth to sign up for the program, including the $465 application fee, fears of drawing attention to unauthorized family members, and general lack of knowledge about the program. But more significantly, DACA also requires that applicants who are not in school or who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent must enroll in an adult education or training program in order to qualify.

With the national adult education system showing a steep decline in capacity at precisely the time when hundreds of thousands need to enroll to qualify for DACA protections, the report makes clear the challenges facing educators and other stakeholders

The report explores the challenges to educational attainment facing three key subgroups of the DACA program: those under age 19, those age 19 and over without a high school diploma or equivalent, and those age 19 and older with only a high school diploma or equivalent. It provides a demographic snapshot of these groups and examines the impacts of DACA’s unprecedented educational requirement on potential beneficiaries and the programs that serve them. Finally, the report offers recommendations for actions that policymakers, education and training program managers, and other stakeholders can take to support the educational success of these youth.

Benign Neglect? Policies to Support Upward Mobility for Immigrants in the United Kingdom

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Benign Neglect? Policies to Support Upward Mobility for Immigrants in the United Kingdom
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigrants to the United Kingdom, a popular destination for migrants from within and outside the European Union, benefit from the country’s flexible labor market and skills system with multiple points of entry. But the United Kingdom’s “work-first” approach to professional development, coupled with limited opportunities to advance into middle-skilled jobs, has left many immigrants stuck on the lowest rung of the ladder.

Residential Segregation: A Transatlantic Analysis

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Residential Segregation: A Transatlantic Analysis
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Residential segregation—the concentration of ethnic, national-origin, or socioeconomic groups in particular neighborhoods of a city or metropolitan area—is widely perceived as the antithesis of successful immigrant integration. Studies have linked this visible side effect of immigration and urbanization to a number of indications of poor well-being for individuals and communities, including unemployment, poor health, and social rifts. While segregation can provide certain protective benefits for immigrants living among their own ethnic or national-origin groups, it becomes problematic when accompanied by persistent overlapping inequalities.

A common perception is that minorities and immigrants self-segregate, which might be true for some new arrivals who choose to settle in ethnic enclaves where their social networks lead them. However, segregation occurs for many reasons, including housing market discrimination and decisions by the majority population on where to live. Patterns differ across countries and are thus more likely to reflect the deeper trends of social and economic exclusion in a particular context rather than inherent preferences of any group. For example, black segregation in the United States is greater than in the United Kingdom, reflecting a legacy of historic oppression, while Asian segregation is lower.

This report explores the problems ethnic residential segregation causes for individuals and communities and examines empirical evidence on the drivers of segregation in the United States and Europe. It then moves on to discuss policies to address residential segregation, which fall into two main categories: those that try to reduce segregation directly, like housing-related interventions, and those that target integration more broadly, including initiatives aimed at the underlying causes of segregation that seek to improve socioeconomic outcomes and nurture inter-group relations.

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