Democratizing Data

Democratizing Data

Successful implementation of any broad-scale immigrant legalization program requires an adequately funded infrastructure of immigrant-serving organizations. As the initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted in 2012 has already stretched the capacity of immigrant-serving organizations to their limits or even beyond them, the possibility of full implementation of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents) and the expanded DACA programs presents a formidable challenge for these organizations. In this paper, the Human Resources Working Group of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI) draws on the lessons of the Immigrant Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), DACA, and other initiatives to provide a roadmap for immigrant service delivery agencies and their partners in planning for implementation of the expanded DACA and the DAPA programs, with an eye (ultimately) to broad legislative reform. In particular, this paper focuses on the funding and human resources that the immigrant service delivery field, writ large, would require to implement these programs.

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This paper offers a statistical portrait of the intended direct beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the DACA expansion (DACA-plus) programs. It finds that potential DAPA, DACA, and DACA-plus recipients are deeply embedded in US society, with high employment rates, extensive US family ties, long tenure, and substantial rates of English-language proficiency. The paper also notes various groups that would benefit indirectly from the full implementation of DAPA and DACA or, conversely, would suffer from the removal of potential beneficiaries of these programs. The authors find these populations have become embedded in US society and that an unknown, albeit not insubstantial percentage of both the DAPA- and DACA-eligible may already qualify for an immigration benefit or relief that would put them on a path to permanent residency and US citizenship.

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Undocumented immigration has been a significant political issue in recent years, and is likely to remain so throughout and beyond the presidential election year of 2016. One reason for the high and sustained level of interest in undocumented immigration is the widespread belief that the trend in the undocumented population is ever upward. This paper shows that this belief is mistaken and that, in fact, the undocumented population has been decreasing for more than a half a decade. Other findings of the paper that should inform the immigration debate are the growing naturalized citizen populations in almost every US state and the fact that, since 1980, the legally resident foreign-born population from Mexico has grown faster than the undocumented population from Mexico.

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Naturalization is a crucial step in the full integration of immigrants into US society. However, sufficient information has not been available on the naturalization-eligible that would allow the federal government, states, localities, and non-governmental service providers to develop targeted strategies on a local level to assist this population to naturalize and to overcome barriers to eligibility. This paper offers detailed estimates of the eligible-to-naturalize based on data collected in the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The data can be used to identify naturalization-eligible populations by geographic area, source country, and a variety of demographic criteria. The findings detailed in this Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) paper show that high percentages of the 8.6 million potentially eligible immigrants are well-situated to naturalize. However, others may have difficulty meeting the naturalization requirements without extensive support, including the 1.16 million who do not speak English; 3.0 million with less than a high school education; and the 1.8 million with incomes below the poverty level. This study can help focus resources where they are most needed to reach and support naturalization-eligible residents interested in naturalizing, as well as provide a factual basis for reforming naturalization policies.

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This paper documents dramatic changes in unauthorized immigration to the United States in the past two decades. It presents estimates of the unauthorized resident population derived from American Community Survey data, supplemented by recent estimates produced by Warren and Warren (2013), and statistics from IPUMS-USA. The paper highlights several trends that emerge from this data, including the precipitous decline in arrivals into this population since 2000 (particularly from Mexico), the rapidly increasing average length of residence of unauthorized residents, and the growing salience of visa overstays in constituting this population. The paper provides estimates of those who would be eligible for the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. However it also looks beyond these programs to make the case that substantial declines in the unauthorized population — a goal shared by partisans on both sides of the immigration reform debate — will require legislation that reforms the legal immigration system, legalizes a large percentage of the unauthorized, and effectively responds to nonimmigrant visa overstays.

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In this article, authors Robert Warren and John Robert Warren describe a method for producing annual estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population in the United Sates and components of population change, for each state and DC, for 1990–2010. The authors quantify a sharp drop in the number of unauthorized immigrants arriving since 2000, and they demonstrate the role of departures from the population (emigration, adjustment to legal status, removal by the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], and deaths) in reducing population growth from one million in 2000 to population losses in 2008 and 2009. The number arriving in the U.S. peaked at more than one million in 1999–2001 and then declined rapidly through 2009. The authors provide evidence that population growth stopped after 2007 primarily because entries declined and not because emigration increased during the economic crisis. The authors’ estimates of the total unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S. and in the top ten states are comparable to those produced by DHS and the Pew Hispanic Center. However, their data and methods produce estimates with smaller ranges of sampling error.

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The relationship between states, localities and the federal government on immigration matters began to undergo a dramatic shift with the passage of Proposition 187 in California in 1994. This has led to the development of a new dynamism in immigration federalism over the last twenty years, particularly in the absence of federal legislation on several pressing immigration challenges. This paper concludes that immigration policymaking and implementation is increasingly characterized by the distribution of power across all levels of government, leading to divergent and varied outcomes. Some states and localities have adopted enforcement regimes meant to heighten the impact of federal exclusion. Others have created conditions and policies that seek to welcome and incorporate unauthorized immigrants as residents. While the federal government retains the authority to determine an individual’s immigration status, sub-federal initiatives that aim at mitigation and inclusion for unauthorized immigrants are strongly shaping the practical consequences of immigration status. Moreover, diverse immigration policies on a state and local basis are likely to increase in the future, particularly in the absence of federal immigration reform.

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