Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

US Immigration Policy


Thursday Dec 07, 2023

The U.S. government in 2021 recommitted to the U.S. refugee resettlement program following several years of dismantling and record-low admissions. This reconstruction is taking place even as the resettlement program has been tasked with scaling up to meet the needs of refugees admitted in the wake of emergency resettlement initiatives, Operation Allies Welcome and Uniting for Ukraine, which have brought in more than 200,000 Afghan and Ukrainian refugees since 2021. This rebuilding is also occurring against the backdrop of unprecedented numbers of humanitarian migrants entering the United States through immigration parole pathways or the asylum system. Collectively, these developments have consequences for local capacities, affecting public health systems, schools, and other human services. As a result, coordination and communication among key stakeholders in the resettlement network has never been more critical. 
During this MPI webinar, speakers discuss the importance of community consultation in a rapidly evolving landscape, and explore how consultation supports capacity building and where it can, at times, fall short. Marking the release of a MPI report, The Unmet Potential of Community Consultations in U.S. Refugee Resettlement, this webcast explores key recommendations and actionable steps toward a more inclusive, collaborative, and adaptable consultation proces

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Building on its humanitarian parole programs for the admission of Afghan and Ukrainian nationals, the Biden administration established such a program for Venezuelans in October 2022 and expanded it to include Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan nationals in January 2023.  The “CHNV” humanitarian parole program requires a sponsor in the United States, such as a citizen or lawful permanent resident, and enables the United States to admit up to 30,000 nationals from those four countries every month. The White House announced that it is encouraging individuals “to seek orderly and lawful pathways to migration and reduce overcrowding along the southwest border and the strain on the immigration system.” Due to very high interest in the program, a significant backlog of CHNV applications developed by May 2023. According to one study, the CHNV program has already prevented the entry of hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants along the southern border with Mexico. Among other important issues, the panelists will discuss: What are the successes and challenges of these programs? What will happen to those admitted after the two years of humanitarian parole status expires? To what extent are such parolees applying for asylum or other legal immigration statuses? How are these new lawful pathways affecting the number of arrivals from these countries at the southern border with Mexico? 
Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law; Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies; Faculty Director, Human Rights Institute, Georgetown Law
David J. Bier, Associate Director, Immigration Studies, CATO Institute
Dara Lind, Senior Fellow, American Immigration Council
Royce Bernstein Murray, Senior Counselor, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Full and fair access to immigration legal services is vital to ensure justice for asylum seekers and other migrants seeking protection in the immigration courts or immigration status before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Legal representation is also essential to the effective functioning of the immigration court system, improving outcomes and appearances at all levels—an essential element for a body that is facing more than 2 million pending cases. Resolution of affirmative applications before USCIS and immigration court cases takes years, and the waiting times continue to grow. For poor and low-income immigrants, there is an average of only one legal representative for 1,413 unauthorized persons in the United States and this number varies greatly by state. Panelists discuss the current state of immigration legal services and the growing need for representation. They address the importance of investment in universal representation and the use of innovation and technology to ensure access to justice for those seeking status and protection in the United States. Legal services strengthen the integrity of the institutions which implement U.S. immigration laws and uphold due process and international law principles.  
Anna Marie Gallagher, Executive Director, CLINIC
Rodrigo Camarena, Director, Justicia Lab
Annie Chen, Initiative Director, Advancing Universal Representation, Vera Institute
Emmett Soper, Counsel to the Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice
Wendy Young, President, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Since 2010, no world region has experienced a greater relative increase in international migration than Latin America and the Caribbean. While much of that migration, driven in part by political and economic crises or natural disasters, has remained within the region, there has been significant movement northward. Governments, including the U.S. government, increasingly have come to realize that migration management and humanitarian protection require regional approaches, as articulated through the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, and have begun efforts to channel migration into lawful pathways and expand protection mechanisms. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have played a vital role in helping structure these efforts across the hemisphere, working with governments and civil-society organizations to build a new but still quite incipient architecture for migration and protection. This armchair conversation with key international organization leaders offers a big-picture view of the approaches to today’s migration flows and humanitarian imperatives.
Diego Chaves-González, Senior Manager, Latin America and Caribbean Initiative, MPI
Jon Hoisaeter, Deputy Representative to USA & Caribbean, UNHCR – the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Vincent Houver, Chief of Mission in Washington, DC, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

A new era of state policymaking and operational action on immigration has begun, led by Texas and Florida, which set off tensions with state and local officials elsewhere by busing and flying asylum seekers and other migrants from the Texas-Mexico border into the U.S. interior. While state-level involvement in immigration policymaking is not new, the Florida and Texas decisions to drop off migrants in other jurisdictions, often with little to no notice, has raised new tensions between states and city leaders. This panel, moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Muzaffar Chishti and featuring city and NGO leaders and other experts, examines the diverse directions states are going in. Some are advancing immigrants’ rights even as Texas installs buoys on the Rio Grande and encourages other states to send their National Guards to the border. The panel also focuses on how cities such as Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York have addressed the arrivals of tens of thousands of migrants; the provision of services to these newcomers; and the fiscal impacts.
Muzaffar Chishti, MPI Senior Fellow and Director of the MPI office at New York University School of Law
Miriam Jordan, National Immigration Correspondent, The New York Times
Abel Nuñez, Executive Director, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
Beatriz Ponce de León, Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights, Office of the Mayor of Chicago
Michael J. Wishnie, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School www.migrationpolicy.org

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

The U.S. immigration policy space has seen a high degree of dynamism—and disorder—over the past year. A raft of new humanitarian and legal immigration policies has been advanced amid record unauthorized arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, a growing recognition that migration is increasingly hemispheric in nature, the end of a pandemic-era expulsions policy that the government had come to rely upon, and continued congressional inaction on immigration. The courts have been active players, in some cases blocking prominent executive-branch policies. And some states, led by Texas and Florida, have noisily entered the arena. Where is this turbulent period headed? How is the Biden administration executing on its vision for a new post-pandemic strategy at the border and beyond? Is long-standing executive branch pre-eminence on immigration eroding as the courts and states assume greater roles? And where is immigration likely to stand as an issue in upcoming national elections? MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner leads a panel of experts in tackling these and other issues.
Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director of U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI
Ronald Brownstein, Senior Editor, The Atlantic, and Senior Political Analyst, CNN
Linda Chavez, Senior Fellow, Open Society, Niskanen Center, and President, Becoming American Initiative
Angela Maria Kelley, Chief Advisor, Policy and Partnerships, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Blas Nuñez-Neto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Thursday Oct 12, 2023

Providing meaningful access to public services for individuals with limited proficiency in English is both a longstanding civil-rights requirement for federal programs and an important policy consideration given growing linguistic diversity in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought language access to the forefront by demonstrating the necessity of providing critical government services and information to individuals who speak languages other than English. Hand in hand with this growing visibility, recent years have also seen the expansion of federal, state, and local government efforts to develop and improve language access policies and programs. The Biden administration has engaged in a number of efforts to foster greater language access across federal programs. This has involved government-wide initiatives that include language access as part of advancing equity for underserved populations, supporting newcomers’ integration, and better addressing the needs of ethnic or immigrant communities with large numbers of speakers of languages other than English. Individual federal agencies also have expanded their efforts to improve language access in their services and ensure state and local programs receiving federal funding do so as well. This webinar from MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy explores executive-branch efforts related to language access provision. White House and Department of Health and Human Services officials and a leading language access advocate provide an overview of the various strands of the administration’s work and discuss former, current, and upcoming actions connected to language access. The webinar provides insights into the challenges and opportunities in this area and explore options to foster greater language access in federal programs.
MPI's Language Access Work 
Recommendations for the Task Force on New Americans on Language Access 

Tuesday Sep 26, 2023

What does the future of refugee resettlement look like? In this World of Migration episode, MPI Senior Policy Analyst Susan Fratzke leads an insightful conversation about sponsorship of refugees by private individuals and community groups. With humanitarian protection systems struggling to address record needs, more countries—including the United States—are turning to private or community sponsorship. Tune in to hear from Erin Schutte Wadzinski, who leads one of the pioneering sponsorship groups in Worthington, Minnesota. She discusses the Welcome Corps program launched by the U.S. government in January 2023. What does it mean to be a sponsor? How much responsibility do sponsors take on? What is the private sponsorship experience for refugees? Is this model working well? The conversation offers answers to these and other questions.

Wednesday Jul 26, 2023

The U.S. immigration court system is struggling with backlogs that have swelled to a record 1.9 million cases—with more than 700,000 added last year alone. The result is that cases, more than 40 percent of which are claims for asylum, take years to adjudicate—depriving people eligible for relief of decisions, undermining the effectiveness of immigration enforcement, and incentivizing unauthorized arrivals.
What factors have brought the court system to the breaking point? What technological and other changes are being implemented to improve the judicial process? And, recognizing that Congress is unlikely to overhaul the immigration courts any time soon, what steps can be taken administratively to strengthen the system?
This conversation marks the launch of a major report (available at: https://bit.ly/immcourtsreport) examining the status of the court system, the factors that have driven it to a state of crisis, and recommendations that would enable the courts to more reliably deliver decisions that are both timely and fair.
Speakers include: Jojo Annobil, Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps; Muzaffar Chishti, MPI Senior Fellow and Director, MPI office at NYU School of Law; David L. Neal, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Justice Department; Blas Nuñez-Neto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy and Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and the moderator Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI.

Thursday May 18, 2023

The U.S.-Mexico border is one of the busiest in the world, with hundreds of thousands of vehicles and pedestrians–and hundreds of millions of dollars in trade—crossing legally through ports of entry each day. In addition, the ports of entry receive some of the asylum seekers and other migrants who are seeking to enter the United States. How have policies, procedures, and operations around would-be migrants evolved, in particular as migration to the border has increased and the nationalities diversified greatly? Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee and two colleagues who were at the border examining U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations discuss.

Tuesday Apr 25, 2023

The number of migrant children entering the United States without a parent or legal guardian reached a record high last year. Most unaccompanied children temporarily enter the care of the U.S. government before joining parents or other sponsors in U.S. communities to await the outcome of their immigration proceedings. Once they have made this transition, the services and supports that are critical to their ability to thrive—medical and mental health care key among them—can be difficult to access. This 60-minute conversation marks the conclusion of a research project undertaken in 2022 by MPI and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to study unaccompanied children’s access to medical and mental health services after release from federal custody.
AAP and MPI launched their report, A Path to Meeting the Medical and Mental Health Needs of Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities, and discussed its findings and recommendations during this webinar, including insights from field visits in Houston, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, where researchers spoke with more than 100 professionals working with unaccompanied children. The conversation featured a walk-through of the report’s findings around barriers to care for unaccompanied children and promising community practices to strengthen medical and mental health services. It also focused on the report’s recommendations on steps that governments, health systems, schools, and communities can take to improve access to medical and mental health care, for the benefit of the children and broader society.

Monday Apr 24, 2023

Migration to the U.S.-Mexico border, once overwhelmingly a Mexican phenomenon, has diversified and become increasingly hemispheric in nature. As the immigration flows become more complex and the encounters of arriving asylum seekers and other migrants surge to record levels, how are U.S. border operations and policies evolving? And what is driving rising immigration from across Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond? Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee speaks with two colleagues who traveled from one end of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary to the other, touring U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and interviewing U.S. and Mexican officials, NGO leaders, and others.

Thursday Apr 13, 2023

Marking the launch of MPI’s Global Skills and Talent Initiative, this webcast features senior policymakers and other experts discussing the extent to which labor market needs should shape future immigration policy decisions, and how countries are adjusting—and could adjust—their immigration systems to meet human capital and competitiveness needs. We were delighted to have remarks from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou; the Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Christiane Fox; the Director of the Migration and Asylum Directorate at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Michael Shotter; and Patrick Hallinan, Minister Counsellor Home Affairs and Regional Director - Americas, Department of Home Affairs, Australia.

Monday Oct 17, 2022

One in three young children in the United States is a Dual Language Learner (DLL), and nearly half of these children have at least one parent who is Limited English Proficient (LEP). Language access policies and services are critical to promoting the equitable participation of these families in early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs, yet persisting gaps in participation for DLL children in many public ECEC programs demonstrate the need for improved language services to support this population. Amid this reality, the needs for even basic translation and interpretation for children and parents and relevant language skills among early childhood staff are often overlooked. Indeed, many early childhood services lack the necessary data and accountability measures to demonstrate equal access for DLL families, despite civil-rights requirements that they do so.
In this webinar, MPI experts provide an overview of a policy brief outlining federal and state efforts to implement language access policies in the early childhood field. The conversation examines the right to language access in federally funded services and the application of this right to early childhood programs. It also focuses on the language and other barriers that immigrant and DLL families face in accessing early childhood programs despite existing language access requirements, as well as opportunities to improve language services. It also marked the release of factsheets by state.

Thursday Aug 11, 2022

August 2022 marks the one-year withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. While the world watched the chaotic evacuation of Afghans via airlift, the suspension of aid and diplomatic relations and rise of new leadership further drove Afghanistan into a massive social and economic crisis where women and minorities became especially vulnerable. Humanitarian and development organizations have had to revisit their operations and approach while the needs of vulnerable Afghans grew even more pressing. A year on, what is the status of Afghans who made it to the United States and Europe, what pathways are there for those who remain behind and are in peril given their past work with U.S. and allied forces, have the United States and other governments delivered on their promise to assist these individuals, and what opportunities exist to improve the humanitarian situation for Afghans abroad and in Afghanistan?
This two-panel webinar reflects on the humanitarian and development challenges in Afghanistan and for neighboring countries, the difficult choices facing aid donors and their partners, and what needs to be done to ensure still at-risk Afghans are able to reach safety. The first panel addresses the humanitarian and development situation in Afghanistan and the region, and the second panel discusses ongoing efforts to secure safe pathways and prospects for innovations and further international coordination.

Thursday Jul 14, 2022

Fleeing gang-related and gender-based violence, human-rights violations, and socioeconomic problems exacerbated by natural disasters in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, hundreds of thousands of Central American asylum seekers have arrived at the Mexican and U.S. borders, straining these governments’ asylum systems and processing capacities. As a result, thousands of asylum seekers have been left in limbo while they await the resolution of their cases. While refugee resettlement programs are an option to avoid undertaking dangerous journeys, they have been deployed on a very limited basis in the region to date.
Seeking a solution to this growing challenge, policymakers in Canada and the United States have begun to reconsider whether resettlement should play a larger role in addressing regional protection needs, and how resettlement and humanitarian pathways could be scaled up.
Marking the release of a Migration Policy Institute report on possible protection pathways for Central Americans, this webcast offers analysis on resettlement and humanitarian channels already utilized the region—including in-country processing, the Protection Transfer Arrangement, and third-country refugee resettlement—and the opportunities and obstacles to expanding these programs. Speakers will also provide recommendations for specific actions that the United States and Canada could take, given their well-established humanitarian protection systems.

Monday May 30, 2022

In fall 2021, the educational experience for children changed dramatically, with many returning to the classroom for the first time in more than a year and a half. The nation’s 5 million English Learners (ELs) endured disproportionate impacts during this pandemic-induced period of distance learning due to a range of reasons, including gaps in digital access and inadequate support in languages other than English. The COVID-19 pandemic also challenged statewide assessment systems, in a year when many students were not attending school in person and instruction was of variable quality.
Unsurprisingly, there were downward trends in student performance visible across all students in English language arts, math, and among ELs, English language development. But what have state policymakers and school leaders learned from the 2020–21 state assessment data? How are they coupling assessment data with other metrics to inform investments and interventions that are personalized for ELs?
In a webinar marking the release of a report ( https://bit.ly/517ELtest ) that examines ELs’ learning experiences during the 2020-21 academic year and their performance and participation in statewide testing, experts offer their analysis of states’ assessment data and how instructional challenges and the pandemic affected the interpretation of these data. Speakers also explore challenges states faced and lessons learned in administering assessments and how schools are using data to inform interventions and instruction this year. Finally, they share their perspective of how the pandemic might change the approach states and districts take to measuring academic growth and success.

Thursday Apr 21, 2022

The U.S. government in March 2022 announced record job vacancies, with 11.3 million unfilled positions. With an aging population, declining fertility, shifting skills needs, and the Great Resignation underway in part as baby boomers retire, the United States is experiencing a major labor market transformation that will challenge the country’s economic growth and competitiveness.
How these mega forces play out is yet to be seen. As a policy option, immigration has always been one of the levers available to address labor shortages or skills gaps. But beyond recruiting workers from abroad, developing and leveraging the skills of immigrants already in the United States represents a smart policy option. What role could underutilized high-skilled immigrant workers occupy in the changing labor market, especially in high-demand sectors such as health and education? What national and state policy options exist to maximize immigrants’ economic contributions by more fully tapping their talents and potential?During this webcast, experts -- including MPI's Jeanne Batalova and Muzaffar Chishti, former U.S. Labor Department Chief Economist Harry J. Holzer, Upwardly Global's Jina Krause-Vilmar, and Alexandra Manuel -- highlighted the latest demographic and labor market trends shaped by growing automation and the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed the merits of three policy approaches that leverage immigrants’ talents to address labor and skills shortages: tapping the existing skills of underemployed college-educated immigrants, increasing immigrant adults’ access to postsecondary credentials, and attracting new talent through the immigration system. The webinar featured the launch of an MPI issue brief on the underemployment of skilled health-care workers in Illinois and Chicago ( https://bit.ly/immskills22 ).

Thursday Mar 31, 2022

This event celebrated the remarkable legacy of MPI's first president and MPI Europe's founder, Demetrios G. Papademetriou. One of the world's pre-eminent scholars and lecturers on international migration, he developed a rich body of scholarship shared in more than 275 books, research reports, articles, and other publications. He also advised numerous governments, international organizations, civil-society groups, and philanthropic organizations around the world on immigration and immigrant integration issues.
Read the event program and select writings from Dr. PapademetriouRead MPI's press release on his passing.For his obituary or to leave any memories for his family, click here.Read a collection of tributes to his life and legacy.Listen to his thoughts on this World of Migration podcast episode.
Sir Trevor Phillips, OBE, Co-Founder, Webber Phillips Ltd.; former Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission, England, Scotland, and Wales; Founding Member, MPI Transatlantic Council on Migration
Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI; former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
Ulrich Weinbrenner, Director-General for Migration, Refugees, and Return Policy, Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, Federal Republic of Germany
Michael Fix, Senior Fellow and former President, MPI
Gustavo Mohar, MPI Board Member; former Under Secretary for Migration, Population, and Religious Affairs, Ministry of Governance, Government of Mexico
Brenda Dann Messier, Senior Advisor, Education Strategy Group; former Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
Malcolm Brown, MPI Board Member; former Deputy Minister of Public Safety; former Executive Vice President, Canada Border Services Agency, Government of Canada
Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director, America's Voice
Andrew Selee, President, MPI

Friday Feb 25, 2022

The Omicron surge caused many U.S. schools to return to remote learning, an all-too-familiar status since the sudden shift to virtual learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The public-health crisis has tested school systems across the country and continues to pose operational challenges as schools transition between in-person, remote, and hybrid instruction. 
Remote learning has become a controversial tool and now is often considered a last-resort pandemic response. One reason is the digital divide in who can access computers, high-speed internet, and digital skills training. Children in immigrant families often have disproportionately less access to digital tools and training than their peers, which can lead to knowledge gaps, lower grades, chronic absenteeism, and disenrollment.
This webinar features findings from an MPI report that takes stock of lessons and promising practices from the pandemic, with insights from educators, community leaders, and other stakeholders on how to support immigrant children and U.S.-born children with immigrant parents during remote learning. Speakers from MPI, Internationals Network for Public Schools, Office of Global Michigan, and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, examine related parts of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and how federal, state, and local governments; school districts; schools; libraries; and service providers can advance digital equity for children in immigrant families.

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