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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.

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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.

Selling Visas and Citizenship: Policy Questions from the Global Boom in Investor Immigration

October 2, 2014 Comments off

Selling Visas and Citizenship: Policy Questions from the Global Boom in Investor Immigration
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Over the past decade, the number of countries with immigrant investor programs has increased dramatically. Although governments have long extended residence permits or citizenship to wealthy individuals willing to invest large amounts in their economies, the forces of globalization and rapidly increasing interest among prospective immigrant investors are challenging policymakers to step up to meet this demand. About half of Member States in the European Union now have dedicated immigrant investor routes, while Malta and countries in the Caribbean have developed their own “citizenship-by-investment” programs, sparking public debate.

In theory, the benefits of immigrant investor programs for both newcomers and destination countries are straightforward. For potential investors, these initiatives make doing business abroad attractive by offering a faster or easier route to resettlement, insurance against political or economic upheaval at home, or access to visa-free travel, among other things. In exchange, destination countries enjoy the perks of new investment, including revenues and job creation. In practice, however, policymakers have been disappointed to find the economic impacts of immigrant investment are often modest at best, and designing a program to control where and how money is invested, thereby maximizing economic benefits, can be a challenge.

This report offers an overview of immigrant investor programs around the world, ranging from the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom to Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The once-tiny population of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States has grown to become the country’s sixth largest foreign-born group in the span of several decades, with the first wave beginning at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This data profile examines the Vietnamese immigrant population by size, recency of arrival, top states and cities of settlement, college education, sending of remittances, and much more.

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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