About

Our issues

Immigrants and their families are woven into the fabric of communities across the U.S. One quarter of the population are first- or second-generation immigrants. And even those in the third and higher generation very often live with foreign-born family members, or work, study, pray, or parent alongside immigrant community members. One-quarter of children in the country have one or more immigrant parents, and the vast majority of these children are U.S. citizens.

The admission of immigrants is the purview of the federal government and policymakers decide who can come into the country, the rights afforded to those who enter, and what targeted assistance to provide immigrants and refugees as they settle and integrate. But the integration of immigrants largely falls to the local areas where they live, work, commute, attend school, worship, and consume.

A recent shift toward more restrictive federal immigration policies may signal a new era. This changing context has consequences for immigrant integration, as states and localities develop measures to counteract or reinforce federal action. How immigrant populations grow, evolve, and integrate has fundamental social, civic, and economic importance for communities and the nation.

Our approach

The Urban Institute’s research on immigrants and immigration spans four interconnected domains: federal, state, and local immigration and integration policy; refugees and global migration; immigrant children, families, and communities; and the immigrant workforce.

We explore these domains by

  • understanding the quickly changing demographics of immigration and providing tools to allow practitioners and policymakers to find hard-to-access data relevant to their work;

  • studying how to connect low-income immigrant families to vital supports such as human services programs and nonprofit providers, and investigating how to make those systems work better for immigrant families, particularly those with language barriers; and

  • analyzing the impact of local, state, and federal policy and practice on the well-being and integration of communities, immigrant families, and workers.

Our impact

Grounded in a deep understanding of policy, practice, and programming, we provide evidence to inform decisionmaking. We use rigorous data collection and analysis to provide reliable information for policymakers, advocates, and practitioners.