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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.

Biden at One: Assessing the Administration’s Immigration Record

On his inauguration day one year ago, President Joe Biden proposed a sweeping list of immigration policy priorities, including advancing legislation legalizing millions of unauthorized immigrants and rolling back key executive actions taken by his predecessor. Now at its first anniversary, the administration has advanced numerous further immigration actions that range widely across the immigration system.

Migration surges at the U.S.-Mexico border and partisan deadlock on Capitol Hill have complicated moving forward on legislation that would revamp the U.S. immigration system. Courts and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic have stymied some of the administration’s other efforts. Yet, while less noted, the Biden administration has pursued a broad agenda that encompasses immigration changes in the U.S. interior—including overhauling immigration enforcement priorities, humanitarian relief by extending temporary protection to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans and others from troubled countries, and administrative measures affecting important legal immigration processes.

This discussion with MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner, the White House's Deputy Director for Immigration Esther Olavarria, former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention Elizabeth Neumann, and Community Change Co-President Lorella Praeli examines the Biden track record on immigration and what lays ahead. The conversation draws from an article published in MPI's online journal, by Jessica Bolter and Muzaffar Chishti, detailing the administration’s first-year actions on immigration.

The Importance of Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care for Immigrant and Dual Language Learner Families

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by Migration Policy Institute on December 2nd, 2021

Child care provided by family, friends, and neighbors (FFN) has long been critical in supporting immigrant and Dual Language Learner (DLL) families who are seeking to find safe, affordable, and culturally and linguistically relevant child-care options for their young children. While FFN caregivers offer important and resource-intensive services to these families, these types of care continue to be left out of policy conversations, professional development efforts, and funding considerations. With FFN care providers and the families that depend on them already significantly underserved by child-care and other systems, efforts to expand and improve child care that fail to take account of their needs may ultimately exacerbate gaps in quality and equity.
 
In this webinar, MPI Senior Policy Analyst Maki Park provides an overview of a policy brief she coauthored that discusses the importance of FFN care for immigrant and DLL families as well as barriers that immigrant-serving FFN caregivers face in accessing subsidies and other public supports. Lorena Garcia, Executive Director of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition (CSPC), spoke about program and policy approaches to more equitably serve FFN caregivers that CSPC has supported in Colorado. Natalie Renew, Director of Home Grown, discusses opportunities to leverage historic new investments contemplated for child-care systems to better support FFN care providers and the families in their care.

How the Child Welfare System Can Better Respond to Needs of Children from Immigrant Families

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by Migration Policy Institute on December 1st, 2021

One out of four children in the United States has an immigrant parent, and while the great majority of those parents are in the United States lawfully, 5 million children live with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. These families face many of the same issues and needs as other families and some have contact with state and local child welfare systems. Families with immigrant members interacting with state and local child welfare systems may face distinctive issues and challenges relating to a child or parent’s immigration status, barriers to service access resulting from linguistic and cultural differences, and fear or distrust toward public systems.

All child welfare agencies can take important steps to improve their responsiveness to the needs of these families and promote the well-being of these children. On this webinar, speakers will explore considerations for the child welfare field, along with promising state and local practices, and recommendations for staff training, procedures, child placement, and child welfare intersections with the immigration system.

The conversation draws on findings from Immigrant Families and Child Welfare Systems: Emerging Needs and Promising Policies, an MPI report done in collaboration with the American Public Human Services Association that explores recent developments and issues arising in states and local communities.

Effects of the Pandemic on High School English Learners and Ways to Help Them Recover

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by Migration Policy Institute on December 1st, 2021

It is well established that the pandemic has upended the rhythms of school life, perhaps most acutely for high school English Learners (ELs) who are already racing to complete graduation requirements before aging out of the K-12 system. For many, the responsibility to care for family members or to earn family income took precedence over school, and for others, lack of digital access hampered regular attendance while most schools were engaged in distance learning. Beyond these major obstacles, students coped with disruptions to college and career planning, and missed out on academic, linguistic, and social-emotional supports, and the many extracurricular and community-based activities that often deepen and add meaning to students’ high school years. 

This webinar illuminates these and other challenges experienced over the last two years. Speakers describe state- and district-level efforts to help ELs re-engage in high school, recover academically, and address mental health needs. Participants also hear the results of new research on the postsecondary aspirations of immigrant-background Latina/o students and how the pandemic may have helped shape their decisionmaking.

World of Migration: Leveraging the Benefits That Immigration Can Bring

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, World of Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 12th, 2021

Is immigration a net positive or negative for societies? It’s one of the key questions that underpins the debate over immigration levels, whether asked directly or tacitly underlying the conversation. And what policy levers exist to ensure that immigration is leveraged to bring the greatest benefits possible and blunt any downsides? In this conversation, Migration Policy Institute Senior Fellow and former President Michael Fix takes on the big questions with Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt, examining the fiscal impacts of immigration, the importance of immigrant integration, how a greater focus on credential recognition could allow immigrants to more fully utilize the academic and professional skills they bring with them, and much more.

World of Migration: Immigrant Integration: Essential to the Success of Immigration Policy

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Language Access, World of Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 5th, 2021

Immigrant integration is the domestic policy side of the immigration debate: The secret sauce as to whether immigration policy is successful or not. Yet the issue of how immigrants and their children fare and the integration policies and programs that help ease their incorporation into society often receive far less attention, certainly in the U.S. context, than questions around immigration levels, border security, and the unauthorized population. Some countries are quite intentional about their immigrant integration programming, while the United States has a more decentralized approach, even as immigrants have moved beyond the handful of traditional destinations in recent decades. In this conversation, Margie McHugh, director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, chats with Ivana Tú Nhi Giang about why integration is important not just for immigrants and their families but for the broader society as well.

World of Migration: Immigration Reform Denied: Destined to Repeat the Cycle of Failure?

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigration Enforcement, World of Migration by Migration Policy Institute on October 29th, 2021

The architecture of the U.S. legal immigration system rests on a 1965 law and was last significantly updated in 1990. While there is widespread agreement that the existing framework does not align with the national needs and realities of the 21st century, Congress has proven unable to enact significant legislative reform over the past two decades. How have congressional and public debates on immigration changed and is achieving bipartisan consensus on this highly charged issue possible today? In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Senior Fellow Muzaffar Chishti discusses this and more with colleague Jessica Bolter.

World of Migration: Building a Modern U.S. Immigration and Asylum System in the National Interest

People on all sides of the policy debate largely agree that the current U.S. immigration system is broken. What should a 21st century immigration system that works in the national interest look like? And is this vision achievable amid current political realities? In this conversation, Migration Policy Institute Senior Fellow Doris Meissner speaks with Policy Analyst Ariel Ruiz Soto about how to build an immigration system that reflects today’s realities and builds in the flexibility to adapt to future developments.

2021 Immigration Law & Policy Conference Keynote: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas

The 18th Annual Immigration Law and Policy conference opened with welcoming remarks from: Anna Gallagher, Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.; MPI President Andrew Selee; and William M. Treanor, Dean and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University Law Center,

Following introductory remarks, MPI Senior Fellow and Director of the U.S. Immigration Policy program Doris Meissner engaged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas in the keynote conversation.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Retreating from Climate Disaster in the United States

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Migration and Development, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on September 30th, 2021

In Western countries, a common narrative has developed that only poor or developing nations will have to confront human displacement caused by climate change. But communities in the United States and elsewhere have repeatedly moved because of environmental disasters such as flooding. This episode features a discussion on the U.S. government’s responses to internal displacement, with Kavi Chintam and Chris Jackson, co-authors of an Issues in Science and Technology article analyzing the approach to managed retreat.

Immigrant Detention to a More Effective U.S. Immigration Custody System

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigration Enforcement by Migration Policy Institute on September 9th, 2021

The sprawling U.S. immigration detention system has long been controversial for its conditions of care, number of immigrants and asylum seekers detained, and costs. Prioritizing detention also has distorted the broader immigration enforcement system by causing a backlog in the immigration courts that must handle cases of detained migrants over those of the 3 million-plus nondetained people who then wait years for decisions, including those with compelling claims for asylum and other forms of relief. Responding to these conditions and likely future immigration realities both at U.S. borders and the interior necessitates rethinking the role and nature of the immigration custody system, steering it away from a punitive, detention-centered approach towards a more effective and fair approach. This represents an opportune moment for action given the substantial reduction of individuals in detention due to COVID-19, coupled with the Biden administration’s pledge to reimagine the custody system. This discussion focuses on a report - https://bit.ly/2WhJy52 - from its Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy initiative that examines how the U.S. government can shift from jailers to case managers in ways that serve the national interest. Report authors lay out current conditions and costs in the system, along with their vision for a reimagined immigration custody system, including areas for congressional action and change in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The conversation covers priorities for custody determinations in a redesigned system, alternatives to detention, and how deterrence can ultimately be achieved when the immigration system’s border and interior enforcement, custody, supervision, and asylum adjudication measures are all effectively working together.

A First Step Towards Equity for Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Systems: Identifying Their Language Needs and Characteristics

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by Migration Policy Institute on June 22nd, 2021

MPI research shows that one third of children ages 5 and under in the United States are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) who live with at least one parent who speaks a language other than English at home; over 80 percent are racial or ethnic minorities and 95 percent are U.S. citizens. These DLLs have the potential to become bilingual and biliterate, given appropriate home language and other supports. They also disproportionately face challenges including lower levels of family income, parental educational attainment, and access to the internet and digital devices.

With extensive research in recent decades demonstrating the disparities and language learning challenges and opportunities DLLs face, calls for adoption of early childhood policies and programs that are equitable and responsive to these children’s needs are longstanding. Yet, nearly all state early childhood systems currently lack standardized definitions and policies to identify DLL children, which means that these systems lack information critical to understanding whether DLLs are being effectively and equitably served. However, as new investments and substantial relief funds for early childhood services begin to flow to states, leaders and stakeholders both inside and outside government have a rare opportunity to develop processes to identify DLLs across early childhood systems—an essential step in promoting equitable services and outcomes for this large and growing population.

In this webinar, MPI experts Margie McHugh, Delia Pompa, and Maki Park discuss a framework describing the most critical elements that should be included in standardized, comprehensive DLL identification and tracking processes for early childhood systems, based on program and policy needs. They also explore promising approaches from across the United States as identified in an accompanying report and provide an analysis of state and national DLL data. The Executive Director of Early Edge spoke about the legislative efforts to effectively define and identify DLLs across the state of California through a strengths-based approach.

Disparities Facing U.S. Children in Immigrant Families: New Data and Ideas for Indicators to Promote Equity

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by Migration Policy Institute on April 22nd, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has inarguably exacerbated longstanding disparities that undermine the economic mobility and integration of immigrant parents in the United States and their children’s prospects for success in school and beyond. These include critical two-generational barriers disproportionately experienced by immigrant families, such as poverty, limited English proficiency, digital access and device challenges, linguistic isolation, and low levels of parental formal education. These disparities sit at the intersection of K-12, early childhood, adult education, and social services systems where they are largely unaddressed, despite expectations that each system play a major role in addressing them.

This webcast explores findings from an analysis conducted by the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, which compares key sociodemographic characteristics of immigrant and U.S.-born parents of young and school-age children and underscores their two-generational implications. Speakers examine disparities evident in the analysis and discuss potential ways to incorporate equity-sensitive measures associated with them in the policy and program frameworks of key systems, with an eye to achieving more responsive and effective service designs and improving equity and access more generally for families facing multiple disparities.

A Year of Pandemic: The State of Global Human Mobility & What Is on the Horizon

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on April 11th, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed mobility and cross-border movement in 2020, decimating tourism and business travel, severely curtailing labor migration, and dampening all forms of migration, including refugee resettlement. Since the onset of the public-health crisis, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has tracked the hundreds of travel restrictions, border closures, and health-related travel requirements imposed by governments globally. An IOM-Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report draws from the IOM database to sketch the state of mobility across world regions in 2020, and the range of mobility-related strategies used to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.
 

This two-panel discussion, featuring introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino, examines how the pandemic reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond. The first panel examines the government actions and regional and international coordination undertaken in 2020, including “travel bubbles” and immunity passports, along with how policymakers balanced health and economic concerns and the needs of vulnerable populations and unprecedented logistical issues in their responses. The second panel explored what policymakers should consider as the world enters into a new, uneven phase marked on the one hand by rising vaccinations, but on the other by the spread of new COVID-19 variants and additional mobility restrictions as caseloads rise in some regions. Speakers discussed what it may take to reopen fully, a possible new border infrastructure focused on public health, what regional and international coordination efforts are showing promise, and a look ahead to major decisions that will need to be made in 2021.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Is Climate Change Driving Migration from Central America?

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.

Prospects for a U.S. Legalization Program and the Unauthorized Immigrant Groups that Could Factor in the Debate

Posted in US Immigration Policy by Migration Policy Institute on February 8th, 2021

Sixty percent of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States have lived in the country for a decade or more, becoming an enduring part of its workforce, economy, and communities. While the resource requirements for deporting this entire group would be insurmountable, there has been sparse serious congressional action to provide any path to legalization for the last 20 years. Dogged by questions of who should be eligible for legalization and under what conditions as well as the political reactions these questions trigger, lawmakers have repeatedly hit an impasse, inevitably dooming the prospects for urgently needed broader immigration reform.  

On day one of his administration, President Joe Biden called upon Congress to enact a sweeping proposal to give unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship. How will Congress respond to this latest effort? Is it likely to garner bipartisan support?

Marking the release of a report (http://bit.ly/usimmleg) that takes stock of various legalization options, particularly amid growing calls to recognize the role immigrants deemed essential workers have played during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing upon MPI’s unique methodology to provide estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population and study their characteristics, the report examines the composition of the unauthorized population and offers important new data on various subgroups, including DREAMers and essential workers. Beyond unveiling the findings, the discussion features Republican and Democratic perspectives on possible legislative strategies surrounding legalization, the likelihood of achieving bipartisan support, and what has and has not changed in Congress since the last major effort at immigration reform in 2013.

Mission Critical: The Evolution of U.S. Homeland Security in the 21st Century

Posted in US Immigration Policy by Migration Policy Institute on November 18th, 2020

Created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the largest reorganization of the federal government since World War II, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was designed to coordinate and execute a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism. DHS was also tasked with carrying out all functions of the 22 federal agencies and entities that were entirely or partially folded into the new department, ensuring that those not directly related to protection of the homeland were not diminished nor neglected. With a portfolio covering everything from cybersecurity and protection of the nation’s maritime waters to facilitation of trade and emergency management, DHS is arguably the largest federal agency with the most disparate policy goals.

What does it mean to “secure the homeland” in the 21st century? What lessons can be drawn from the U.S. government efforts to do so? And how do DHS work and operations on migration and border security figure into the equation?

With the department well into its second decade and on the precipice of a new presidential term with some of its component agencies pulled into the polarization around immigration and border security, this Migration Policy Institute discussion with the editors and authors of Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century examines these questions. Leading security experts, Juliette Kayyem, Chappell Lawson, Alan Cohn, and Christian Marrone assess the department’s evolution and how it organizes its operations and work on migration and border management. They offer crucial strategic lessons and detailed recommendations on how to improve the U.S. homeland security enterprise.

The Post-Pandemic Ascent: The Role of Migration in Emerging from the Economic and Labor Market Turmoil

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 10th, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, globally interconnected economies and societies are navigating uncharted waters. The pandemic and its aftermath present policymakers with two crucial challenges: how to manage the spread and hopefully eradication of the disease and how to deal with the economic devastation caused by stay-at-home orders, travel bans, and other measures taken to halt the spread of the virus. Currently migration and mobility have come to a relative standstill. Will migration levels return to pre-pandemic levels? And as most countries’ labor systems and economies are linked to immigration, might this public-health crisis result in a fundamental realignment of economic relationships? Will it stimulate a rethink of migration systems, where policymakers seriously re-examine the role and composition of the foreign-born workforce and approaches to immigrant integration? Or post-pandemic, will countries just revert to their previous approaches to migration, or possibly surge further towards protectionism and restrictionism?

This Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) discussion highlights the impact of the coronavirus on migration and mobility systems, and findings from OECD’s International Migration Outlook 2020 on recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and some non-member countries. As policymakers grapple with a way forward, speakers--including Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Jean-Christophe Dumont, and Jonathan Chaloff--share their perspectives on the opportunities for innovation, what labor demands may emerge, the role of migration in North America and Europe at this challenging point in history, and whether this moment can be the catalyst for rebuilding of economies and societies that provide the best outcomes for both the native born and immigrants alike.  MPI's Meghan Benton moderated the discussion. 

What Is Immigration Policy Expected to Look Like in a Biden Administration?

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security, Immigration Enforcement by Migration Policy Institute on November 9th, 2020

What actions might the incoming Biden administration take on immigration, and what challenges and opportunities does it face? Migration Policy Institute experts analyze the campaign pledges and prospects ahead, for everything from unwinding the Remain in Mexico program, ending border wall construction, and reviving DACA, as well as the Biden camp’s affirmative vision for change, including legalization.

The U.S. Immigration Policymaker-in-Chief: The Long History of Executive Authority over Immigration

Posted in US Immigration Policy by Migration Policy Institute on September 12th, 2020

The inability of Congress to enact any meaningful legislation on immigration during the past quarter-century has left the United States with a long-outdated immigration system that works for very few, leaving the president with enormous influence and control over U.S. immigration policy. While President Obama’s decision to protect DREAMers via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was praised by some as an overdue action amid congressional stalemate, it also was the subject of major legal challenge and was criticized as presidential overreach.

Well into its fourth year, the Trump administration has undertaken more than 400 executive actions on immigration. President Trump has been able to dramatically reshape the U.S. immigration system through regulatory, policy, and programmatic changes, and his executive actions have prompted extensive advocacy and litigation in response.

Is executive action on immigration a recent development? And has it always been as controversial as it seems today? Two leading legal scholars, Adam B. Cox and Cristina M. Rodríguez, tackle this question in their book, The President and Immigration Law (Oxford University Press). 

In this webinar, these scholars join Elena Goldstein from the New York State Office of the Attorney General, and MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah Pierce for a discussion that examines the Trump administration’s substantial use of executive power to change the country’s course on immigration, and how the president’s role in immigration policy is a inevitability that should be carefully considered and reimagined in any blueprint for immigration reform or strategy for activism on immigration.

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