US Immigration Reform Initiative
Strengthening US Immigration and Refugee Protection Policies: Research, Analysis and Policy Proposals
Since 2014, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has published reports, articles, and papers devoted to reform of the US immigration and refugee protection systems. Each publication concludes with policy recommendations – legislative, administrative, and programmatic – directed at federal, state, local and non-governmental organizations. These papers can serve as a valuable resource to public officials, policy influencers, and advocates for more effective, inclusive, and rights-respecting immigration and refugee policies. These papers cover:
- The national interests served by immigration and refugee protection.
- Citizenship and immigrant integration.
- Migration management and governance.
- Family-based immigration.
- US residents without status, including those brought to the US as children.
- The US refugee resettlement program.
- Temporary protection.
- Central American migration, including of unaccompanied children.
- US enforcement and border enforcement policies.
- Immigrant detention.
- Legal representation, due process and the rule of law.
- Immigrants and public safety.
- Public charge grounds of inadmissibility.
- Immigrant laborers, including essential workers, and labor standards enforcement.
An indexed summary of select papers can be found here. Many of these papers were originally published in special collections of CMS’s Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS), which cover the US immigration system, immigration enforcement, refugee protection, and a collection honoring former Department of Justice official Juan Osuna on access to justice, the rule of law, and due process. These collections also include articles that analyze the provisions of comprehensive bills, and the causes of migration. Many of the papers profile particular populations of US noncitizens. The papers typically illustrate the long tenure, family ties, work, and other contributions of these groups to US society.
Most recently, CMS has published a report in collaboration with the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility that sets forth 40 administrative actions that the new administration can take to strengthen and revitalize the US immigration and refugee protection systems. It has also published an exhaustive study and report, in collaboration with Refugee Council USA, on rebuilding and strengthening the US refugee resettlement system.
All of these sources seek to outline a flexible, secure, and evidence-based immigration system that would serve the nation’s interests, reflect its liberal democratic ideals, meet its international commitments, and maximize the benefits from talented, hardworking immigrants from throughout the world. It will soon initiate a series of interviews and conversations with select authors on their policy recommendations and what they see as opportunities and challenges to achieving them.
- Reframe the discourse on refugee resettlement to emphasize its central importance to the nation’s identity and the way it serves the national interest.
- Rebuild the capacity of the federal government to administer the program and the badly depleted community-based resettlement infrastructure that is central to the program’s success.
- Hold emergency consultations with Congress to increase refugee admissions in Fiscal Year 2021, and consult soon after the inauguration with international, state and local, and non-governmental partners to plan FY 2022 resettlement goals, including a robust admissions ceiling and budget.
- Reform and reinvigorate federal consultations with states and localities to ensure their receptivity, capacity and support for refugees, and eliminate the current veto power of states and municipalities over resettlement in their jurisdictions.
- Explore legislative fixes to the refugee admissions process and attempt to depoliticize the process by setting a “normal flow level” that does not require an annual Presidential determination.
- Join the Global Compact on Refugees, which seeks to expand the availability of durable solutions for refugees, and encourage other nations to follow the U.S. example of resettling larger numbers of refugees.
- Improve the ability of immigrants to identify and articulate their claims in removal proceedings and produce better-informed case outcomes.
- Increase the efficiency and contribute to the integrity of the removal adjudication system.
- Lead to better-prepared applications for immigration benefits, and thus a more just and efficient legal immigration system.
- Place more non-citizens on a path to permanent residence and naturalization by identifying their potential eligibility for immigration benefits or relief, and, in some cases, their existing US citizenship.