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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.

Seeking Safety: Regional Protection Options for Central Americans

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.

Testing Disrupted: Assessment of English Learners Complicated by Pandemic

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by Migration Policy Institute on May 30th, 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.

With Millions of Unfilled U.S. Jobs, What Role Is There for Immigration?

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by Migration Policy Institute on April 21st, 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 ).

A Tribute to the Life of Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou

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. Papademetriou
Read 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.

Speakers: 

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

Moderator: 

Andrew Selee, President, MPI

Bridging the Digital Divide for U.S. Children in Immigrant Families

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by Migration Policy Institute on February 25th, 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.

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.

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