The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is a think tank and an educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees, and newcomers.
CMS carries out its mission by:
Conducting person-centered research and evidence-based policy analysis.
Hosting strategic conferences, symposia, meetings, and webinars.
Providing expert support to faith-based organizations (FBOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and policymakers.
Maintaining an extensive archive with collections spanning the history of immigration to the United States.
CMS works with policymakers at all levels; the press; scholars, researchers, and students; CBOs, FBOs, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
A Leader in International Migration Research and Evidence-Based Public Policy Analysis
CMS has developed a robust research portfolio in partnership with a range of community partners focused on refugee protection, forced displacement, immigration policy, and immigrant integration. CMS has also produced dozens of data-driven, policy-oriented articles and reports on diverse immigrant populations. Research published in the International Migration Review both addresses societal debates on international migration and pushes understandings of international migration in new methodological, empirical, and conceptual directions. Its Journal on Migration and Human Security cross-walks research and public policy proposals under the rubric of human security, dignity, and rights.
CMS participates in a variety of research, academic, and policy fora and dialogues. It enjoys consultative status at the United Nations (UN) and regularly participates and intervenes in UN processes. It is also a member of the International Organization on Migration’s (IOM’s) Research Partners Panel. It regularly hosts both large signature events and smaller strategic gatherings that lift up research as a tool that can inform public policy, litigation, and service-delivery to immigrants and refugees.
Since 2013, CMS’s Democratizing Data Initiative has produced publicly accessible estimates based on the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) of the US undocumented, eligible-to-naturalize, and many other immigrant populations. CMS provides exhaustive estimates on a national, state, and sub-state level. Its data has been broadly used by scholars, researchers, students, the press, government officials, policymakers, and CBOs of all kinds.
In recent years, CMS has expanded its community-based research portfolio, including in New York City. The CMS research team designs its studies in collaboration with local and national experts, including community-based partners that affected immigrant communities know and trust.
Catholic Identity and Commitment to Human Dignity
CMS was established in 1964 and formally incorporated in 1969 by the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, Scalabrinians, which is dedicated to serving migrants and refugees throughout the world. CMS continues to live out the mission of its founders by producing research and policy proposals centered on the experience of migrants.
Since 2014, CMS has organized the Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative (CIII), an innovative project, culminating in a (near) yearly event, that connects diverse Catholic immigrant-serving institutions, programs, and ministries. Participants include health care, legal immigration, refugee resettlement, social service, ministerial, school, university, parish-based, and many other institutions. In recent years, this event has become international in scope. Representatives from 37 nations, for example, participated in its three-day, virtual event with the University of Notre Dame in October of 2020.
In its short life, CIII has become an important venue for dialogue, sharing best practices, creating partnerships, and lifting up research, with the goal of strengthening the individual and collective work of participating Catholic agencies with immigrants. The initiative regularly discusses how to operationalize the Catholic vision of immigrant integration and offers the annual Lydio F. Tomasi, c.s. theological lecture, named after CMS’s co-founder and longtime director.
Organizational Structure and Affiliations
CMS operates as a legally distinct, tax-exempt agency, with an independent board of trustees. View Tax Exempt Documents & Recent Form 990s.
CMS is a member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), a global network of migrant shelters, service centers, and other institutions. SIMN is active in 34 countries in North, Central, and South America; Africa; Europe; Australia; and Asia. CMS is also one of seven Scalabrini Migration Study Centers (SMSC), a network of think tanks on international migration and refugee protection. CMS has collaborated with its sister study centers, for example, on two global policy reports and on research on the future of work and international migration through the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).