American Immigrant Policy Portal
Click here to visit the Portal June/2018
In This Issue

Research to Inform Policy and Practice   
on Migration-Related Issues
Policy-related reports, studies, and information about the challenge and promise of immigrant integration. Materials organized by collection topic.

Despite a no-holds-barred deportation policy, resistance from local authorities is limiting the effectiveness of the Trump approach to immigration enforcement
Migration Policy Institute, May 2018, 110 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et al

This report results from a year-long study into how immigration enforcement has been handled by the Trump administration. The enforcement environment, the report finds, has changed in two different ways. The administration has become much more aggressive in seeking to remove any unauthorized immigrant - regardless of whether a crime has been committed. However, the report finds that arrests and deportations are about at half the level during their peak (2008-2011). The chief cause is the increasing resistance of state and local jurisdictions that are reducing their cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In the first year of the Trump administration, the number of ICE arrests at homes and in communities has increased; the share of arrests of immigrants with no criminal record has increased; there have been many more "collateral arrests" (arrests of others in addition to the intended target); low-priority immigrants are now routinely arrested during scheduled "check-ins" with ICE. These new policies, however, are not producing the expected results because jurisdictions are limiting their cooperation with ICE by, for example, refusing to honor ICE detainers, not entering into 287(g) agreements, and enacting other "sanctuary" policies. Some jurisdictions have taken other steps to reduce the likelihood that immigrants will be put into a situation where ICE might discover them, e.g. by decriminalizing certain minor offenses and providing alternative IDs for drivers. Some jurisdictions have provided funds for deportation defense. Advocates for immigrants have stepped up "know-your-rights" trainings and are monitoring ICE activities. Regardless of how a jurisdiction is treating its immigrant residents, however, there is widespread fear in immigrant communities, and that has resulted in a measurable decline in business in immigrant communities. Public safety has been affected, as police report a decline in reporting of crimes, including domestic violence. The report concludes with the observation that arrests and deportations will probably never achieve the level seen during the Obama administration, due to the resistance of jurisdictions with large immigrant populations. Rather, there are growing disparities among jurisdictions depending on how they view immigration enforcement. These growing disparities are eroding federal pre-eminence in immigration. This report is accompanied by a "report in brief," which you can find here (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).

ACLU study finds that immigration enforcement activities at courthouses are "freezing out justice" in the U.S., leading to a decline in cooperation from immigrant victims and difficulties in investigating crimes
American Civil Liberties Union, 2018, 8 pp.

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, immigration authorities have significantly increased their enforcement activities at courthouses - by 1,200 percent in New York in 2017 alone. Surveyed police officials, prosecutors, defenders and judges across the country believe that this practice has led to a decline in cooperation from immigrant victims and increased difficulties in investigating crimes and administering justice. This report utilizes 2016 and 2017 survey data from the National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project and the ACLU on crime survivor participation in investigations and court proceedings to show how the increased enforcement undermines public safety and the judicial process. Twenty-two percent of police officers, for example, reported that immigrant communities were less willing to file police reports in 2017 than in 2016. According to the Denver City Attorney, 13 women dropped their domestic abuse cases due to fear of deportation after a video was released showing immigration enforcement officers in a courthouse waiting to make an arrest. Despite concerns from law enforcement and judicial officials, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directed in 2017 and 2018 to arrest immigrants at court houses with a vague description of when to avoid making arrests there. To safeguard the fundamental rights of access to courts, due process and equal protection, the authors recommend adding courts to the list of sensitive locations exempt from immigration enforcement, passing federal legislation to limit and control arrests by ICE and Customs and Border Patrol at courthouses, and directing court personnel to facilitate enforcement only when required by a judicial order (Jasmina Popaja for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute).

Paper traces the influence of corporate interests in expanding immigrant detention in the U.S. and in "distorting democracy" through the greater political power exercised by communities with detention facilities
Authors: Melina Juárez et al

This paper argues that corporate interests, specifically CoreCivic and the GEO group - two companies that operate nine out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers in the U.S. housing 45 percent of all detained immigrants in 2014 -- "have helped to fuel the growth of immigration detention and to convert the criminalization of immigrants into a profitable industry." Both groups have spent large amounts of money lobbying federal officials for increases in detention budgets, including the "bed mandate" passed in 2009 that requires ICE to hold a minimum of 34,000 immigrants per night in detention. As a result, their profits have soared in recent years, at a time when the undocumented population has decreased. The authors also contend that federal officials have "applied a double standard" when it comes to the detention system, often locking people up and potentially banishing them from the country for minor offenses, such as traffic violations or possession of marijuana. Moreover, mandatory detention tends to distort democracy as immigrant detainees are counted by the Census as residents of the community in which the detention facility is located, not their home communities, thereby sending more federal dollars to the detention communities and increasing their representation in Congress. The authors also cite studies showing how the "effects of deportation and ultimately deportation start at the individual level but reverberate to the family and community levels." The paper includes a time series regression analysis tracing the influence of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 and other developments since 1996 on the "criminalization of immigrants," measured through the ratio of the average daily population of detained immigrants divided by the total number of noncitizens residing in the United States. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations, including the repeal of all mandatory detention legislation and the repeal of the bed mandate, as well as greater transparency and more effective data management from Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( Nicholas V. Montalto, Diversity Dynamics ).
NewResearchNew Public Policy Research and Reports
Click on headlines for abstracts and links

Adult Education and Workforce Development

Education (Pre-K to 12)

Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration

I mmigrant Communities

Intergroup Relations

Law Enforcement

National Perspectives/Immigration Policy

Global Perspectives

lcLatest Commentary
A selection of recent Op-Eds from immigration researchers and major opinion leaders

June 21, 2018
Return of the Blood Libel
Paul Krugman, The New York Times

June 21, 2019
Our Real Immigration Problem
Bret Stephens, The New York Times

June 18, 2018
The Rise of the Amnesty Thugs
David Brooks, The New York Times

June 14, 2018
How Much Can Democrats Count on Suburban Liberals?
Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times

June 4, 2018
The Long History of Child-Snatching
Tera W. Hunter, The New York Times

June 1-7, 2018
How to convince skeptics of the value of immigration?
Philippe Legrain, The Economist

June 1, 2018
Another cruel and dehumanizing presidential tirade on immigration
Vicki Gass, Oxfam America

May 30, 2018
Trump Immigration Policy Veers From Abhorrent to Evil
Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

May 30, 2018
Donald Trump's Anti-Immigrant Army
Julissa Arce, Crooked Media

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The Portal is a project of Diversity Dynamics, LLC, in association with the Center for International Social Work, School of Social Work, Rutgers University, and the Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., Public Education Institute, Malden, MA. Please send content suggestions for the Portal, including events of interest, to: No endorsements implied for research, opinions, resources or events featured on the Portal.