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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Do All High School Graduates Count? Unintended Consequences of State Accountability Policies for English Learner Students

Posted in Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on April 29th, 2019

High school graduation is an important personal achievement as well as a key indicator of school system effectiveness and a community’s potential economic vitality. For almost a decade, all U.S. states have used a common method to calculate the four-year graduation rate as part of their state school accountability system. This measure counts for a significant portion of a high school’s performance rating, which can gain it public accolades or identify it as a school in need of improvement. Even as rates of on-time graduation have improved, English Learners (ELs) post far lower rates than the national average.

This webinar marks the release of a Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report that investigates the unintended consequences of using the four-year graduation rate for school accountability. The report shows that ELs are more likely than other student subgroups to graduate in five or six years. However, most EL-serving high schools do not get credit for these graduates, as 60 percent of the nation’s ELs are served in states that only count the four-year rate for accountability purposes. Attaching high stakes to the four-year rate may also result in perverse incentives not to welcome high school EL newcomers out of fear these students will be unable to complete a degree in four years and thereby pull down the school’s performance rating. Schools may also mechanically redesign their instructional programs to “ensure” newcomers graduate in four years without evidence such a trajectory is possible or more educationally beneficial than a five- or six-year path.

Webinar participants also discuss the implications of California’s graduation rate policy choices. California does not use extended-year graduation rates for federal accountability, and—for state reporting—has adopted an alternative method for calculating graduation rates for continuation schools that serve older teenagers at significant risk of dropping out. Together, these policies may incentivize administrators to push ELs and other students who need more time to graduate out of traditional high schools and into alternative school settings. Speakers also discuss policy options states can consider to broaden the definition of a successful high school by using multiple graduation rate indicators.

Speakers: 

Russell W. Rumberger, Professor, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, UC Santa Barbara; Director, California Dropout Research Project

Julie Sugarman, Senior Policy Analyst for PreK-12 Education, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

Moderator: 

Margie McHugh, Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, MPI

Children of Immigrants and Child Welfare Systems: Key Policy and Practice

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on April 23rd, 2019

Like other children, those born to immigrants can enter into a state’s child welfare system when there are reports of abuse or neglect by a parent or other caretaker.  Children with unauthorized immigrant parents may also intersect with the system if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests, detains, or deports a parent.

The increased numbers of children of immigrants in the United States (the vast majority U.S. born), along with developments in immigration policy and enforcement, have important implications for state and local child welfare agencies. Some jurisdictions have responded by developing specialized policies and practices, but there are significant variations around the country. To better understand state and local child welfare systems’ policies and practices for working with immigrant families, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) conducted discussions with administrators in 21 states and counties and reviewed relevant literature.

This webinar showcases the release of an MPI report, drawn from this research, that describes key policy issues for child welfare agencies and promising agency approaches. During this webinar, report authors MPI's Mark Greenberg and Ann Flagg of American Public Human Services Association, provide an overview of issues of intersection between immigration and child welfare systems and describe their findings regarding child welfare policies and practices to address the needs of children of immigrants and their families. Director of Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services Tom C. Rawlings and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services Deputy Director Roberta Medina also share their perspectives and discuss key issues they are facing, and the report authors discuss their recommendations, with examples relating to organizational structure, training, language access, licensing of providers, screenings for immigration-status issues, interactions with foreign governments, and more.

Is U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Migration Possible?

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Migration in Mexico and Central America by migrationpolicy on April 17th, 2019

Over recent months, the number of Central American migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border has surged, presenting a critical challenge in the relationship between the two neighboring countries. President Trump has accused Mexico of doing nothing to stop illegal migration, while the Mexican government is emphasizing the need to address root causes in Central America driving human movement. After President Trump’s threat to “close the border” if the Mexican government did not do more, tensions between the two countries appeared to subside. However, these tensions—and the rising number of unauthorized crossings at the border and of asylum seekers in both countries—has put the issue of migration front and center in the relationship between the two countries again.

In fact, migration patterns between the two countries have changed dramatically over the past decade. While there is still considerable legal migration from Mexico to the United States, illegal immigration has dropped to a fraction of what it was only 15 years ago, and the overall number of Mexicans living in the United States is actually dropping. Meanwhile, the number of Americans living in Mexico continues to rise and may well be over 1 million, making it by far the largest U.S.-citizen community anywhere in the world. The two countries face shared migration flows from Central America, Venezuela, and other parts of the world, which they increasingly need to find ways of managing in collaborative ways, and both face important challenges for integrating immigrants into the labor market, schools, and society at large.

Can Mexico and the United States find common cause around migration or are the perspectives and interests of the two countries too different to make cooperation possible? How will the two governments respond to the current change in migration flows from Central America? And what creative thinking is possible in the future?

This discussion of the current trends and future possibilities—with experts from a Study Group on U.S.-Mexico Migration convened by El Colegio de México and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI)—examines migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America and other regions, as well as ways to improve U.S. and Mexican asylum systems, create new approaches to labor migration, address smuggling networks, and modernize border management.

Speakers: 

Alan Bersin, former Assistant Secretary for Policy and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Policy Consultant, Covington

Silvia Giorguli, President, El Colegio de México

Carlos Heredia, former Mexican Congressman, and Associate Professor, Department of International Studies, Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE)

Roberta Jacobson, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Claudia Masferrer León, Professor, Center for Demographic, Urban, and Environmental Studies, El Colegio de México 

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Policy Program, MPI

Gustavo Mohar, former Mexican Undersecretary of Migration, Population, and Religious Affairs

Andrés Rozental, former Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister and founding President, Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (Comexi) 

Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute    

International vs. National Protection for Refugees: Diverging Trends?

The global response to the rising challenge of refugee displacement has been marked by two contradictory trends. First, at the international level there has been a recognition of the gravity of the problem and a move toward responsibility sharing and global governance of refugee situations—most notably through the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees in December 2018. At the same time, a very different trend is emerging among countries in the Global North as a number of governments have actively narrowed their protection frameworks, tightened asylum policies, and limited the rights of refugees through laws and policies, effectively strengthening barriers to movement for those who are seeking refuge or asylum.

This conversation explores the factors behind this divergence between the international community and national policies and what it means for cooperation at the international level.  MPI’s Kathleen Newland discusses what has been accomplished through the Global Compact on Refugees and what its implementation is likely to accomplish. Mary Giovagnoli, of Refugee Council USA, examines how protection policy has shifted in the United States and the implications this has for the ability of the international community to respond to global refugee needs. David Scott FitzGerald shares insights from his book, Refuge beyond Reach, regarding how asylum policies in high-income democracies have been adapted to shut down most legal paths to safety for refugees through a range of deterrence methods that, while complying with the letter of their international commitments to refugees, do not adhere to them in spirit.      

Addressing Trauma in Young Children in Immigrant and Refugee Families through Early Childhood Programs

Posted in Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on April 3rd, 2019

Many young children of immigrants and refugees are affected by trauma, whether directly or through their parents or other family members. Early childhood programs have the potential to play an important role in identifying and addressing infant and early childhood mental-health challenges for immigrant families that may result from exposure to trauma and other stressors. However, their capacity to take a trauma-informed approach in their services and provide appropriate support and referrals—especially with regard to immigrant, refugee, and other culturally and linguistically diverse families—is limited.

During this webinar, speakers discuss the intersection of trauma and early childhood development, exploring how migration-related trauma and stressors can influence the wellbeing of young children of immigrants. Researchers, Maki Park and Caitlin Katsiaficas, from MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy provide an overview of a MPI policy brief that seeks to raise awareness of this issue and points to key opportunities for states to support, through early childhood and other programs, the healthy socioemotional development of young children of immigrants and refugees who have experienced trauma. Jessica Dym Bartlett, Co-Director of Early Childhood Research at Child Trends, discussed efforts to integrate trauma-informed approaches into early childhood systems, with a focus on opportunities to expand access and quality of these services specifically for immigrant and refugee families with young children. Aimee Hilado, Wellness Program Senior Manager at RefugeeOne, the largest refugee resettlement agency in Illinois, discusses how home visiting services can effectively address trauma and mental health through a two-generation approach.

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