Immigration Policy

Immigration Policy

Ready to Stay: A Comprehensive Analysis of the US Foreign-Born Populations Eligible for Special Legal Status Programs and for Legalization under Pending Bills

This report offers estimates of US foreign-born populations that are eligible for special legal status programs and those that would be eligible for permanent residence (legalization) under pending bills. It seeks to provide policymakers, government agencies, community-based organizations (CBOs), researchers, and others with a unique tool to assess the potential impact, implement, and analyze the success of these programs. The report views timely, comprehensive data on targeted immigrant populations as an essential pillar of legalization preparedness, implementation, and evaluation. The report and the exhaustive estimates that underlie it, represent a first attempt to provide a detailed statistical profile of beneficiaries of proposed major US legalization programs and special, large-scale legal status programs.

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Can You Hear Me Now? Attorney Perceptions of Interpretation, Technology, and Power in Immigration Court

The Executive Office for Immigration Review houses America’s trial-level immigration courts, which adjudicate hundreds of thousands of cases annually, many resulting in deportations. Most proceedings require interpretation and all rely heavily upon technology. Yet, we know little about communication and technology in these hearings, and even less about the views of attorneys who navigate this system daily. I examine the effects courtroom interpretation and technology have on immigrant voices as described in interviews with immigration attorneys representing clients facing deportation. Attorneys overwhelmingly characterize the court as procedurally unjust, pinpointing how flaws in interpretation, telephonic conferencing, and videoconferencing offer the illusion of due process.

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Pope Francis and President Biden Met to Discuss the Climate Crisis, the Pandemic, and Immigration

On Friday, October 29th, President Joe Biden met with Pope Francis in the Vatican during his trip to Europe for the G20 Summit and the UN climate change conference, COP26. According to a Holy See Press Office statement, the leaders discussed “their common commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the health situation, and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the issue of refugees, and how to provide assistance for migrants.”

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Policy Update: Protecting Afghan Allies in the Aftermath of the Longest War in American History

On August 31, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history. By the end of August, the United States completed one of the biggest airlifts to date, evacuating more than 120,000 people out of Afghanistan, including US citizens and permanent residents. As of September 14, 2021, approximately 64,000 Afghan evacuees have arrived in the United States.

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Tax Equality for Immigrants: The Indispensable Ingredient for Remedying Child Poverty in the United States

Both at the federal and state levels, tax credits have proved effective policy instruments to combat poverty, and they are at the heart of President Biden’s massive initiative on childhood poverty. However, about one of every five children suffering poverty in the United States has an unauthorized immigrant parent and thus little or no access to tax credits. That is nearly two million children, and 85 percent of them are US citizens. Achieving historic reductions in childhood poverty thus will be impossible without remedying the eligibility exclusions and bureaucratic impediments that unauthorized immigrants face in the US tax system.

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Making Citizenship an Organizing Principle of the US Immigration System

This paper proposes that the United States treat naturalization not as the culmination of a long and uncertain individual process, but as an organizing principle of the US immigration system and its expectation for new Americans. It comes at a historic inflection point, following the chaotic departure of one of the most nativist administrations in US history and in the early months of a new administration whose executive orders, administrative actions, and legislative proposals augur an entirely different view of immigrants and immigration.

The paper examines two main ways that the Biden-Harris administration’s immigration agenda can be realized – by expanding access to permanent residence and by increasing naturalization numbers and rates. First, it proposes administrative and, to a lesser degree, legislative measures that would expand the pool of eligible-to-naturalize immigrants. Second, it identifies three underlying factors – financial resources, English language proficiency, and education – that strongly influence naturalization rates. It argues that these factors must be addressed, in large part, outside of and prior to the naturalization process. In addition, it provides detailed estimates of populations with large eligible-to-naturalize numbers, populations that naturalize at low rates, and populations with increasing naturalization rates. It argues that the administration’s immigration strategy should prioritize all three groups for naturalization.

The paper endorses the provisions of the US Citizenship Act that would place undocumented and temporary residents on a path to permanent residence and citizenship, would reduce
family- and employment-based visa backlogs, and would eliminate disincentives and barriers to permanent residence. It supports the Biden-Harris administration’s early executive actions and proposes additional measures to increase access to permanent residence and naturalization. It also endorses and seeks to inform the administration’s plan to improve and expedite the naturalization process and to promote naturalization.

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Innovating Inclusion: A New Wave of State Activism to Include Immigrants in Social Safety Nets

States across the country are tackling an equity issue in the tax code by breaking from federal eligibility standards for their state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). Specifically, states are taking it upon themselves to end the exclusion of taxpayers who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are personal tax processing numbers issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number. They are primarily issued to undocumented immigrants, although they are also issued to certain lawfully present immigrants. Millions of people pay taxes with ITINs every year. Together ITIN-filers paid $23.6 billion in taxes in 2015. In less than a year, five states have successfully passed legislation to end the exclusion of these tax filers from their EITCs.

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