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Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Welcoming Cities: Lessons from Chicago, Dayton, and Nashville

In the face of America’s changing demographics, future prosperity depends in part upon the ability of local communities to attract and retain a diverse population with diverse sets of skills. In the native-born population, there are fewer births and more retirements. That demographic fact has been compounded by the decline of large manufacturing companies that metropolitan areas relied upon in the past to grow their populations and economies. Increasingly, cities and regions looking to stem population decline and stimulate economic growth are seeking to attract immigrants and encourage immigrant entrepreneurship. Immigrants play an outsize role in establishing “main street” businesses (retail, accommodation and food services, and neighborhood services), which are important for generating neighborhood-level economic growth and revitalization. This propensity to start businesses that revitalize neighborhoods makes immigrants attractive to city leaders. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Feb 03, 2016 | Download File

The EB-5 Visa Program: What It Is and How It Works

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” has become an increasingly important source of investment for development projects in the United States, attracting billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. However, the program is unlike any other managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in that it is the only visa program whose stated purpose is to create jobs and growth. This mandate creates special challenges and opportunities. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Feb 02, 2016 | Download File

Hieleras (Iceboxes) in the Rio Grande Valley Sector

Each year, the Border Patrol—a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—holds hundreds of thousands of individuals in detention facilities near the U.S. southern border. These facilities are not designed for overnight custody, and yet they are routinely used in this way. Until recently, CBP policy was clear that these facilities were to serve exclusively as short-term holding cells—meaning that a person should be held there less than 12 hours. Evidence presented in this report, which pertains to Border Patrol holding cells in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector, reveals that, instead, individuals are routinely held for days.

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Published On: Thu, Dec 17, 2015 | Download File

Learning from Our Past: The Refugee Experience in the United States

Today there is much public discussion, both in the United States and abroad, about the worldwide refugee crisis. In recent years, the United States has welcomed 70,000 refugees per year. The President has indicated he intends to admit 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2016, including 10,000 from Syria, an increase which has been criticized by some lawmakers and politicians. In considering the appropriate U.S. response to the refugee crisis, it is important to remember the central role of refugees in the American experience. This Perspective provides background on the refugee experience in the United States, including welcoming and exclusionary responses, the impacts of these disparate reactions, and lessons to consider in determining our response to the current refugee crisis.

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Published On: Wed, Nov 25, 2015 | Download File

An Overview of U.S. Refugee Law and Policy

The United States passed its first official refugee legislation to address the plight of displaced Europeans following World War II.  Most refugees are displaced from their country of origin to a neighboring country, and then resettled to a third country through international organizations. The United States resettles more refugees than any other country, refugees who go on to contribute to our communities and our economy.  

What is a refugee?

A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. This definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968. Following the Vietnam War and the country’s experience resettling Indochinese refugees, Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which incorporated the Convention’s definition into U.S. law and provides the legal basis for today’s U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).Read more...

Published On: Wed, Nov 18, 2015 | Download File

Enforcement Overdrive: A Comprehensive Assessment of ICE’s Criminal Alien Program

The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a massive enforcement program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has become the primary channel through which interior immigration enforcement takes place. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of individuals removed from the interior of the United States are removed through CAP. Each year, Congress allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to fund this program. Until now, however, little has been known about how CAP works, whom CAP deports, and whether CAP has been effective in meeting its goals.

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Published On: Mon, Nov 02, 2015 | Download File

“Sanctuary Cities,” Trust Acts, and Community Policing Explained

The term “sanctuary city” is often used incorrectly to describe trust acts or community policing policies that limit entanglement between local police and federal immigration authorities. These policies make communities safer and increase communication between police and their residents without imposing any restrictions on federal law enforcement activities.

1. What is a “sanctuary city” and where did the term come from?

Currently there are 326 counties, 32 cities and four states which limit local law enforcement's involvement in federal immigration enforcement.Read more...

Published On: Sat, Oct 10, 2015 | Download File

A Humane Approach Can Work: The Effectiveness of Alternatives to Detention for Asylum Seekers

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), asylum seekers arriving at the United States-Mexico border have been subject to mandatory detention and summary deportation processes, resulting in the deportation of countless persons in need of protection. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 22, 2015 | Download File

The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States

For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. In other words, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term. For this reason, harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 08, 2015 | Download File