PRESS RELEASE | New Article and Event on Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief

PRESS RELEASE | New Article and Event on Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief

Center for Migration Studies Publishes New Report
“Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief: 2014 and Beyond”

New York, NY – On August 10, 2015, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) released “Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief: 2014 and Beyond,” published in Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS) by CMS. 

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of unprecedented Executive actions to reform the US immigration system, including the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the establishment of the Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The announcement of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs mobilized a large, nationally coordinated initiative, under the rubric of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI), to plan for these programs and (ultimately) for a broader legalization program. The CIRI initiative has sought to expand the capacity of community-based immigrant service agencies, to maximize the use of technology to educate the public, to provide the tools to allow unauthorized immigrants to assess their eligibility for relief, to combat the exploitation of immigrants by unscrupulous notarios and to strengthen partnerships in communities nationwide.

Authored by CIRI Human Resources Working Group members Charles Kamasaki (National Council of La Raza), Susan Timmons (American Immigration Lawyers Association) and Courtney Tudi (World Relief), the new report describes the human and financial resources that will be needed to build community capacity in order to coordinate the successful implementation of a large-scale legalization program. Drawing on lessons from the Immigrant Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), DACA and other initiatives, the paper provides a roadmap for implementation of administrative and legislative immigration reform. Jeanne Atkinson, a CIRI co-chair and Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), stated:

“The report is groundbreaking in both the scope and depth of its analysis of how to implement a large-scale change in immigration law and policy.If executed, the recommendations in this report, which both document and guide CIRI’s work, will ensure that millions of people eligible for new immigration programs will be able to access the information and services they need to secure status and to participate more fully as members of our communities.”

Significant findings of the report include:

  • 1.08 million individuals of the total of 5.4 million eligible for DACA and DAPA will require extensive application assistance, generating the need for approximately three times more full-time staff than are currently in the field; 
  • “Up front” funding is needed for early outreach, public education, combating notario fraud, advocacy and assistance to self-filers;
  • An estimated $83 million, net after collection of fees, is required to finance the potential nonprofit sector “funding gap” to assure effective application assistance services to eligible low-income people and
  • Front-loaded investments can help maximize coordination and minimize duplication, ensure education and outreach and channel applicants to the most appropriate sources of assistance. 

CMS Executive Director Donald Kerwin stated:

“This report sheds light on the pressing need for a more robust infrastructure of community-based services for immigrants. Substantial investment in the capacity of nonprofit legal services and immigrant-serving sectors is essential to maximize coordination among agencies and civil society partners, to provide efficient, quality service to immigrants and to allow eligible immigrants to obtain benefits under our laws.”

“Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief: 2014 and Beyond” is available free online at https://doi.org/10.1177/233150241500300303

The lead authors will discuss their research and key findings on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 from 2pm-5pm at CMS offices (307 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022). They will also discuss next steps for the CIRI network and describe the substantial populations of unauthorized immigrants that the CIRI network can serve, notwithstanding delays in implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA and the absence of Congressional action on immigration. Space is limited. To register, visit http://goo.gl/forms/8CKlQHS4JN.