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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.

16th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference- State of Play: Central to the Trump Administration’s Record, Immigration Looms as the Major 2020 Issue

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on November 4th, 2019

From Donald Trump’s first utterances as a presidential candidate in 2015 to the hundreds of policy actions undertaken during his administration, immigration has loomed as the major touchstone for his political base. It is the issue to which the president and his administration return again and again. Chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border resulted from a sharp uptick in flows, as well as outmatched policies, infrastructure, and resources. Now, a growing number of Americans cite immigration as one of the most crucial national issues. Yet Congress remains incapable of even small-bore fixes, continuing its nearly two-decade inability to undertake substantive immigration legislation. Vast differences exist among Republican and Democratic politicians and other stakeholders—from “build the wall” and narrowing humanitarian protections on one side, to #AbolishICE and pressing to decriminalize illegal crossings on the other.

Whither immigration as high-stakes elections approach in 2020? In this lively State of Play conversation, political and policy experts will explore the politics of immigration, the pitfalls for both political parties, and the potential for a post-election pause in the brinkmanship, along with what other pressing challenges may converge to force action in Washington.

Speakers included:

  • Casey Christine Higgins, Former Assistant to the Speaker for Policy and Trade Counsel for former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI); Senior Policy Advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP
  • Lomi Kriel, Immigration Correspondent, Houston Chronicle
  • Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action and Vice President of Community Change
  • Julia Preston, Contributing Writer, The Marshall Project
  • Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI

Panel: La Respuesta Internacional ante las Crisis Humanitarias Migratorias de Venezuela y Nicaragua

La respuesta internacional ante las crisis humanitarias migratorias de Venezuela y Nicaragua (Panel 3)

  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, Representante Regional Adjunto del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados para los Estados Unidos de América y el Caribe (UNHCR)
  • Luca Dall’Oglio, Jefe de Misión, Organización Internacional para la Migraciones (OIM) de EE. UU.
  • Dana Francis, Directora, Oficina de Asistencia para Europa, Asia Central, y las Américas, Oficina de Población, Refugiados y Migración, Departamento de Estado de EE. UU.
  • Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Directora, Departamento de Inclusión Social, Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA)
  • Moderador: Juan F. Jiménez Mayor, Ex Primer Ministro y Ex Ministro de Justicia de los Derechos Humanos del Perú

¿Nuevos enfoques hacia la protección y la integración de migrantes y refugiados en la región?

  • Diego Chaves, Investigador Visitante, MPI
  • Jessica Bolter, Analista de Políticas Públicas, MPI

Mientras las crisis continúan desarrollándose en Venezuela y Nicaragua, más de 4,5 millones de personas han dejado a esos países, con la mayoría instalándose en países vecinos en la región. Hasta la fecha, los países latinoamericanos generalmente han respondido por buscar maneras pragmáticas para recibir e integrar migrantes y refugiados de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Esta serie de debates en panel examina los desafíos futuros mientras países de la región busca establecer estrategias futuras para responder a flujos migratorios a gran escala. Responsables políticos y principales interesados de la región, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales destacadas involucradas en la respuesta regional, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre requisitos de entrada cambiantes; vías legales y proceso de asilo; acceso a la educación, servicios de salud y servicios públicos; y las oportunidades y retos que esos flujos migratorios exponen por el futuro de la región.

Las observaciones dadas en inglés fueron traducidas al español en esta grabación.

Panel: Respuestas Regionales a Migrantes y Refugiados Nicaragüenses

Respuestas regionales a flujos migratorios nicaragüenses (Panel 2)

  • Carlos Andrés Torres Salas, Viceministro de Gobernación y Policía, Ministro de Gobernación y Policía de Costa Rica
  • Harold Villegas-Román, Asesor al Viceministro del Interior y la Policía; y Comisionado, Comisión de Visas Restringidas y Refugio del Estado de Costa
  • Alberto Cortés Ramos, Profesor, Departamento de Ciencias Políticas, Universidad de Costa Rica
  • Manuel Orozco, Director del Programa de Migración, Remesas y Desarrollo, Diálogo Interamericano

Mientras las crisis continúan desarrollándose en Venezuela y Nicaragua, más de 4,5 millones de personas han dejado a esos países, con la mayoría instalándose en países vecinos en la región. Hasta la fecha, los países latinoamericanos generalmente han respondido por buscar maneras pragmáticas para recibir e integrar migrantes y refugiados de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Esta serie de debates en panel examina los desafíos futuros mientras países de la región busca establecer estrategias futuras para responder a flujos migratorios a gran escala. Responsables políticos y principales interesados de la región, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales destacadas involucradas en la respuesta regional, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre requisitos de entrada cambiantes; vías legales y proceso de asilo; acceso a la educación, servicios de salud y servicios públicos; y las oportunidades y retos que esos flujos migratorios exponen por el futuro de la región.

Las observaciones dadas en inglés fueron traducidas al español en esta grabación.

Panel: Respuestas Regionales a Migrantes y Refugiados Venezolanos

Palabras de bienvenida y descripción general: Andrew Selee, Presidente, Instituto de Políticas Migratorios (MPI)

Respuestas regionales a la migración venezolano (Panel 1)

  • Frieda Roxana Del Águila Tuesta, Superintendente Nacional de Migraciones, Perú
  • Christian Krüger Sarmiento, Director General, Migración Colombia
  • Andrés Alfonso Ramírez Silva, Coordinador General, Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados (COMAR)
  • Hernán Yánez González, Subsecretario de Protección Internacional y Atención a Inmigrantes, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana del Ecuador
  • José Tomás Vicuña, Director Nacional, Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, Chile  
  • Raísa Ortiz Cetra, Miembro, Equipo Internacional, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales en Argentina
  • Moderador: Andrew Selee, Presidente, MPI

Mientras las crisis continúan desarrollándose en Venezuela y Nicaragua, más de 4,5 millones de personas han dejado a esos países, con la mayoría instalándose en países vecinos en la región. Hasta la fecha, los países latinoamericanos generalmente han respondido por buscar maneras pragmáticas para recibir e integrar migrantes y refugiados de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Esta serie de debates en panel examina los desafíos futuros mientras países de la región busca establecer estrategias futuras para responder a flujos migratorios a gran escala. Responsables políticos y principales interesados de la región, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales destacadas involucradas en la respuesta regional, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre requisitos de entrada cambiantes; vías legales y proceso de asilo; acceso a la educación, servicios de salud y servicios públicos; y las oportunidades y retos que esos flujos migratorios exponen por el futuro de la región.

Las observaciones dadas en inglés fueron traducidas al español en esta grabación.

The International Response to the Venezuelan & Nicaraguan Humanitarian Crises (Panel 3) & New Approaches (Conclusion) - Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan & Nicaraguan Migration Crises

The International Response to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Humanitarian Crises (Panel 3)

  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, Deputy Regional Representative for the United States and the Caribbean, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Luca Dall’Oglio, Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM) USA
  • Dana Francis, Director, Office of Assistance for Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
  • Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Director, Department of Social Inclusion, Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Moderator: Juan F. Jiménez Mayor, former Prime Minister and former Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Peru

New Approaches toward Protection and Integration in the Region?

  • Diego Chaves, Visiting Fellow, MPI
  • Jessica Bolter, Associate Policy Analyst, MPI

 

As crises continue to unfold in Venezuela and Nicaragua, more than 4.5 million people have left both of those countries, with most settling in neighboring countries in the region. To date, Latin American countries have generally responded by finding pragmatic ways to receive and integrate migrants and refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This series of panel discussions examines the challenges ahead as countries in the region seek to chart future strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows. Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from the region, as well as representatives of major international institutions involved with the regional response, offer their views on changing entry requirements; legal pathways and asylum processes; access to education, health care, and public services; and the opportunities and challenges that these migration flows present for the future of the region.

Remarks given in Spanish have been translated into English in this recording.

Regional Responses to Nicaraguan Outflows (Panel 2) - Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises

Regional Responses to Nicaraguan Outflows (Panel 2)

  • Carlos Andrés Torres Salas, Vice Minister of the Interior and Police, Costa Rica
  • Harold Villegas-Román, Advisor to the Vice Minister of the Interior and Police; and Commissioner, Restricted Visa and Refugee Commission, Costa Rica
  • Alberto Cortés Ramos, Professor, Political Science Department, University of Costa Rica
  • Moderator: Manuel Orozco, Director, Migration, Remittances, and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue

As crises continue to unfold in Venezuela and Nicaragua, more than 4.5 million people have left both of those countries, with most settling in neighboring countries in the region. To date, Latin American countries have generally responded by finding pragmatic ways to receive and integrate migrants and refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This series of panel discussions examines the challenges ahead as countries in the region seek to chart future strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows. Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from the region, as well as representatives of major international institutions involved with the regional response, offer their views on changing entry requirements; legal pathways and asylum processes; access to education, health care, and public services; and the opportunities and challenges that these migration flows present for the future of the region.

Remarks given in Spanish have been translated into English in this recording.

Regional Responses to Venezuelan Migration (Panel 1) - Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises

Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises

Welcome Remarks and Overview: Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

Regional Responses to Venezuelan Migration (Panel 1)

  • Frieda Roxana Del Águila Tuesta, Superintendent of Migration, Peru
  • Christian Krüger Sarmiento, Director, Migration Colombia
  • Andrés Alfonso Ramírez Silva, Director, Mexican Refugee Commission (COMAR)
  • Hernán Yánez González, Under Secretary of International Protection and Assistance for Immigrants, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador
  • Jose Tomás Vicuña, National Director, Servicio Jesuita de Migrantes, Chile
  • Raísa Ortiz Cetra, Member, International Team, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Argentina
  • Moderator: Andrew Selee, President, MPI

As crises continue to unfold in Venezuela and Nicaragua, more than 4.5 million people have left both of those countries, with most settling in neighboring countries in the region. To date, Latin American countries have generally responded by finding pragmatic ways to receive and integrate migrants and refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This series of panel discussions examines the challenges ahead as countries in the region seek to chart future strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows. Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from the region, as well as representatives of major international institutions involved with the regional response, offer their views on changing entry requirements; legal pathways and asylum processes; access to education, health care, and public services; and the opportunities and challenges that these migration flows present for the future of the region.

Remarks given in Spanish have been translated in this recording.

Legal Migration Pathways to Europe for Low- and Middle-Skilled Migrants

Against a backdrop of large-scale spontaneous migration flows towards Europe, facilitating legal migration is often called for as an alternative to irregular migration for individuals and groups not in need of international protection. Moreover, with populations aging and workforces slated to shrink over the next few decades in many European countries, policies that can efficiently recruit migrants to meet labor and skills shortages will be at a premium. While the conversation to date has focused on high-skilled migrants, short-to-medium term projections suggest that demand may also grow for low- and middle-skilled workers in sectors such as health and elder care, manufacturing, and construction. But the changing political environment around migration means that the space for reforms to legal migration policies has narrowed in many countries. At the national level, for example, policymakers must strike a fine balance between accommodating employer demand for more flexible and responsive selection policies and meeting their obligations to protect and promote the labor market participation of local populations. And while expanding legal migration pathways is a common theme of negotiations with third countries, both political and practical considerations (such as how to test demand and scale up initiatives) have stymied efforts to deliver on this pledge.

This event hosted by MPI Europe and the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration includes a discussion of research into legal migration pathways for work and training for low- and middle-skilled migrants not in need of protection.

Speakers consider several questions:
• What opportunities for work or training in Europe can low- and middle-skilled third-country nationals access? What policies and programs have been tried and tested at EU and Member State levels and how successful have they been?
• What practical reforms can governments consider to their selection policies to ensure they are primed to assess and respond to fast-changing labor market needs? What lessons can we learn from bilateral partnerships on legal migration in this regard?
• What role can the European Union play in supporting efforts by Member States to reform or expand their legal migration channels? Where is the European Union’s added value most keenly felt?

“Legal migration for work and training: Mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection” is a project of the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration in cooperation with MPI Europe, and is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

The Colombian Response to the Venezuelan Migration Crisis: A Dialogue with Colombia’s Migration Czar

The political and economic unraveling of Venezuela has sparked the flight of more than 4 million people in what now stands as the largest exodus of migrants in the western hemisphere—a number that could exceed 5 million by year’s end. More than 1.4 million Venezuelans have settled in Colombia, which has generously opened its doors.

As the primary destination for Venezuelans, Colombia is providing a variety of legal pathways through temporary programs that allow the new arrivals access to work permits, public services, and protection from possible exploitation. And in September 2018, Colombia joined other countries in adopting the Declaration of Quito on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Region and launched an action plan emphasizing regularization and integration for migrants.

However, Colombia’s capacity to continue to host further arrivals is being stretched amid increasing pressure on public services and local economies, the growing recognition these arrivals will be more than short-term guests, and the strong possibility of additional inflows. Also at play is the slow arrival of international assistance. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has deemed the Venezuelan crisis one of the most underfunded humanitarian appeals in the world.

As the crisis continues to unfold, the Migration Policy Institute and Inter-American Dialogue hosted a conversation--with Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border; Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, MPI's International Program Associate Director;Michael Camilleri, Director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program at the Inter-American Dialogue; and MPI's President Andrew Selee--on how Colombia is coping with this influx, plans for future policy decisions, and developments in regional and international cooperation, including with the United States.

Effectively Serving Immigrant and Dual Language Learner Families through Home Visiting Programs

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

Home visiting, a two-generation program model that serves young children alongside parents and caretakers to promote their healthy physical, socioemotional, and cognitive development, has the potential to promote improved outcomes for children and families alike.

Young children of immigrants and Dual Language Learners (DLLs), who make up one in four and nearly one in three young children in the United States, respectively, are important targets for home visiting programs as they are disproportionately more likely to face risk factors such as poverty and low parental education levels.

This webinar marks the release of a policy brief that explores program and policy opportunities to improve home visiting services for immigrant and DLL families currently underparticipating in these programs due to a lack of culturally and linguistically responsive programming and other barriers. On the webinar, MPI's Maki Park, Jamie Colvard of Zero to Three, and ParentChild+'s Pamela Williams provide an overview of the home visiting services landscape in the United States and discuss promising strategies to build effective partnerships with immigrant parents to support their young children’s school readiness and success. The conversation also examines opportunities for states to expand the participation of immigrant and DLL families in home visiting services.  

Chronicling Migration in the 21st Century Through One Family’s Journey

The story of global migration as a force shaping economies, politics, and cultures around the world is typically told via analysis of data and policies, with a focus on trends rather than individuals. Yet at the end of the day, migration is the most human of phenomena, and one that has been around as long as humans have been on the planet. This discussion with award-winning New York Times reporter Jason DeParle traces the arc of migration and its impacts through the life of an extended family of Filipino migrants that he has followed from the slums of Manila to the Houston suburbs over three decades.

Marking the launch of DeParle's new book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century, this conversation with MPI's Andrew Selee and the World Bank's Dilip Ratha explores migration at both a global and very personal level.

As he chronicles the story of three generations of a Filipino family, DeParle documents the personal, cultural, and economic challenges and opportunities the family faces, whether as migrants or those remaining behind. His reporting and analysis on immigration trends, the costs and rewards of migration to both sending and receiving communities, and examination of the political and economic questions surrounding migration offer the opportunity for a rich discussion. 

Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy: Building a Responsive, Effective Immigration System

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security by migrationpolicy on August 15th, 2019

The U.S. immigration system is widely acknowledged as being broken. Despite multiple attempts, solutions have proven elusive for administrations and Congress for more than two decades. The evidence of dysfunction is in every direction: Vastly oversubscribed categories for employment visas, deep disagreement between Washington and many state and local governments about immigration enforcement and policy priorities, political paralysis over what to do about a long-settled unauthorized population, years-long caseloads tied up in the immigration court system, sharp pullbacks in refugee admissions and other humanitarian programs, and, most recently, a protracted migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

As the United States is mired in inaction, its legal immigration system resting on laws dating back to 1965 and 1990, other major immigrant-destination countries have created flexible, modernized immigration systems. What changes are needed to overcome the failings of the current system and meet U.S. economic and security interests in the decades ahead? What values and principles should guide future immigration policymaking?

To answer these and similar questions, the Migration Policy Institute is launching a major new initiative—Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy—that aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration can and should play in America’s future. This multi-year initiative will provide research, analysis, and policy ideas and proposals—both administrative and legislative—that reflect new realities and needs if immigration is to continue to be a comparative advantage for the United States as a society. Key topics will include employment based-immigration, humanitarian programs, and immigration enforcement.  

Historically, immigration policymaking and legislation have only succeeded through across-the-aisle cooperation and consensus-building. This initiative is animated by a commitment to re-energizing such bipartisanship in shaping and advancing feasible solutions.

At this event, marking the initiative's launch, MPI's Doris Meissner is joined in a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Cecilia Muñoz, former Director of White House Domestic Policy Council.

On the Wrong Path? Protecting the European Union’s External Border in the Western Balkans

The European Union’s more stringent controls on its external border are having serious effects for its near neighbors. In Bosnia, thousands of people trying to make their way to EU Member States last year had their paths blocked at the Croatian border. Many spent the winter in Bosnia, a country ill-equipped to deal with their needs. Bosnian authorities have struggled to adapt, even with help from international agencies and the European Union, with whom they signed an agreement in January to facilitate joint operations and so-called "rapid border interventions."

With thousands more migrants potentially traveling through the Western Balkans this year, this MPI Europe webinar explores the implications of the buttressed EU border on the bloc’s neighbors. Is this another example of the European Union outsourcing its toughest political issues on migration control? How can the European Union support efforts to address irregular migration in neighboring countries, many of which are already struggling with complex economic and political challenges? If the incoming crop of EU leaders continues these policies, what are the tradeoffs and considerations that they must weigh? In a conversation led by MPI Europe Acting Director Hanne Beirens, Save the Children International Senior Advocacy Adviser Karen Mets, Central European Initiative Project Manager Ugo Poli, and Peter Van der Auweraert, International Organization for Migration Western Balkans Coordinator, address these and other questions on this webinar.

Will Immigration Reform Ever Succeed Again? The Legacy of IRCA & Its Enduring Lessons

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Immigration Enforcement by migrationpolicy on June 26th, 2019

Over the past two decades, efforts at immigration reform have failed again and again in Congress, leaving the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), together with its “follow-on” bill, the Immigration Act of 1990, as the most recent comprehensive immigration reforms to have made their way into law. And it appears that, at least for the foreseeable future, IRCA may retain that title amid vast partisan and ideological gulfs over immigration that seem unbridgeable despite near-universal recognition that the current system is badly broken.

So what happened in the politics of the 1980s that enabled passage of a major reform to the country’s enforcement, legal immigration, and employment systems? Is it possible to reconstruct the political conditions and coalitions that permitted the law’s passage, or has too much changed?

And what is IRCA’s real legacy: Did its passage mark the beginning of the potent pro- and anti-immigration movements that are central actors in today’s politics?  Did it, as some argue, poison the well for future immigration reform, or, conversely, did it represent sound policy? And what lessons do IRCA’s enactment and implementation offer today’s policymakers, scholars, and advocates?

This provocative, thoughtful discussion featured Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Resident Fellow Charles Kamasaki's book, Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die. Kamasaki is joined by other veterans of the IRCA debate, MPI's Doris Meissner and Muzaffar Chishti, for a conversation on these questions, the lessons that can be learned, the intended and unintended consequences, and how the 1986 law’s legacy has shaped contemporary politics surrounding immigration.

Embarking on the Next Journey: Innovations in Predeparture Orientation Programs for Refugees

As the number of resettlement countries grows across Europe, Latin America, and Asia, the question of how to better prepare resettling refugees, as well as receiving communities, for what lies ahead is more pressing than ever. For resettling refugees, adjusting to their new lives can be particularly difficult. Often, they have lived for long periods in remote regions or refugee camps, with no or little formal education and limited knowledge of how to navigate bureaucracies. Equally, receiving communities may lack the information and support they need to welcome new neighbors. While predeparture orientation alone can neither guarantee a smooth transition nor expedite integration, it holds the potential to increase refugees’ confidence in their decision to resettle and to improve their ability to start life anew in an unfamiliar place. If done effectively, orientation can make a difference for refugees’ well-being and be an investment in receiving-community social cohesion.

While the potential benefits of such preparation are clear, it is far less obvious how exactly to make the most out of the limited time at hand before refugees depart. It can be challenging to strike a delicate balance between conveying key messages and skills for the next steps ahead while meeting refugees’ own information needs. What do resettling refugees need to learn before departure, and what information can wait until after arrival? Who is best placed to deliver predeparture orientation, and how can information be shared in the most accessible and credible way? And how can receiving communities best be supported in welcoming newcomers? To answer these questions, this Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines concrete and innovative practices of how to better design and implement predeparture orientation programs from the perspective of a diverse range of actors.

This webinar draws from the report, Preparing for the Unknown: Designing Effective Predeparture Orientation for Resettling Refugees and features remarks from the report authors, a refugee who went through resettlement process and now serves as a mentor for those being resettled in The Netherlands, and the head of the resettlement and integration support unit at IOM Norway. The report was produced in the framework of the European Union Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) project and lays out guiding principles for effective orientation programs for Member States as they decide or rethink what support they offer to refugees before arrival.

“Merit-Based” Immigration: Designing Successful Selection Systems

The U.S. administration is calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, looking to Canada and Australia as potential models. An immigration proposal under consideration by the administration would adjust the composition of legal immigration, giving greater preference to skills over family ties. Much of the advanced industrial world—from Germany and the European Union to China and other Asian states—is also grappling with how best to attract and retain highly skilled immigrant workers as a means of enhancing human capital and economic competitiveness.

The conversation between Jean-Christophe Dumont, Head of the International Migration Division at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change. The discussion relied on recent MPI and OECD research on this topic, focusing primarily on the Canadian and Australian selection systems. MPI’s Julia Gelatt commented on the conversation from a U.S. policy perspective, discussing how lessons from abroad could apply to the United States.

A Mirror for the Nation? The Changing Profile of Mexican Immigrants in Texas

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on May 9th, 2019

While much of the U.S. debate on immigration from Mexico has focused on low-skilled immigrants, recent data suggest that the share of college-educated immigrants among recent Mexican arrivals is rising considerably. Texas is home to the second-largest U.S. population of highly skilled Mexican immigrants, a reflection of its proximity and deep economic ties to Mexico.

At this discussion experts from MPI and Southern Methodist University’s Texas-Mexico Center offer an overview of trends and key characteristics of highly skilled Mexican adults at the national level and for Texas, including educational levels by legal status and demographic differences and top industries of employment across Texas metro areas. The panelists engaged in a discussion on what these findings mean for Texas and its metro areas, causes behind the changing trends, and implications for immigration policy. They also examine the opportunities that addressing “brain waste”—the underutilization of college graduates’ skills—presents for the Texas economy and more broadly for the nation.         

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    

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