BIMI Policy Briefs
BIMI Policy Briefs capture the latest research of BIMI affiliates and highlight the implications of their research for policymakers, service providers, activists, and concerned community members.
A new presidential administration has moved into the White House, but the legacies of the previous administration continue through the court system. Over a quarter of active federal judges today were appointed during the Trump administration. What does this mean for immigrants' rights? Scholarship by BIMI-affiliated Professor of Law and Political Science Sarah Song crafts a convincing normative argument as to why our country should expand immigrants' civil and political rights. This BIMI Policy Brief explores a legal argument that may appeal to conservative judges by applying Dr. Song's theory to pressing Constitutional questions. Read Dr. Song's article here.
COVID-19 disproportionately impacts foreign-born communities due to the overlapping issues of poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and legal vulnerabilities among immigrants. Where can immigrants turn to for help during an emergency like the pandemic? What barriers do they face in accessing necessary services? This brief summarizes key issues around immigrant service provision in the San Francisco Bay Area in the context of an emergency such as COVID-19 or wildfires, from economic aid to food assistance. It shines a light on the structural inequities that immigrants face, especially those who are low-income. In particular, the brief highlights best practices to tackle seven key challenges: barriers to accessible healthcare, employment and housing vulnerabilities, obstacles to obtaining economic assistance, fear over using public benefits (even when eligible), going hungry, language barriers, and the digital divide.
California is home to approximately one-third of the Cambodian American population, many of whom came to the United States as refugees. In a chapter from her book, Southeast Asian Migration: People on the Move in Search of Work, Refuge and Belonging, BIMI-affiliate and Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies Khatharya Um, explores how Cambodian American youth participate in artistic expression and political engagement to navigate the burdens of transgenerational trauma and forced migration. Drawing on Prof. Um’s research, this policy brief makes recommendations for activists, educators, policymakers, and service providers to support the empowerment of young Cambodian Americans and other refugee communities.
As communities, public institutions, and all levels of government respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration authorities have continued to conduct immigration raids, detentions, and deportations. In a recent article "Raids on Immigrant Communities During the Pandemic Threaten the Country’s Public Health", BIMI affiliate Seth Holmes and Miriam Magaña Lopez present findings on how immigration enforcement is undermining public health for immigrants, as well as society as a whole. Holmes and Magaña Lopez also discuss how COVID-19 offers a historic opportunity to consider how we can transform our immigration system to better support the health of all communities.
As countries around the globe grapple with COVID-19, they are presented with policy decisions regarding the movement of migrant healthcare workers into and out of their borders. In her recent essay, "Why are there so many Filipino nurses in California?", historian and BIMI-affiliate Prof. Catherine Ceniza Choy describes the historical precedent and contemporary impact of one particular group of migrant healthcare workers: Filipino nurses in California. This policy brief describes Dr. Choy's research and contextualizes her findings in the present moment, in light of policy responses to COVID-19 that threaten the mobility of Filipino nurses and other healthcare workers.
This Data Brief summarizes key findings from the Mapping Spatial Inequality Project, as it relates to health services. Many immigrants in the Central Valley live in the region’s suburbs, bedroom communities, and mid-size cities. Yet immigrant-focused health clinics remain concentrated in the historic ‘immigrant gateway’ cities. With research and data briefs like this, BIMI aims to make the service landscape more equitable by combining location and service information with targeted demographic data, such as language needs, to shine a light on service gaps for funders, policymakers, and service providers.
This Data Brief breaks down key findings from BIMI's investigation of spatial mismatch in legal services in the Central Valley. This investigation merges Census data on the region’s immigrant population with a unique database of immigrant legal services. This database is available to the public and researchers through an innovative service-locator app, helping hundreds of thousands of people connect to services. BIMI also aims to make the service landscape more equitable by combining location and service information with targeted demographic data, such as language needs, to shine a light on service gaps for funders, policymakers and service providers.
California is known for its progressive politics and diverse constituency, but a statewide survey shows that bias against immigrants still exists. BIMI-affiliate Dr. G. Cristina Mora's and Dr. Tianna Paschel's analysis of the survey data reveals a complicated relationship between race, racism, and xenophobia. Applying this new information about the intertwined nature of anti-immigrant and anti-Black attitudes, this Policy Brief makes recommendations for activists and educators interested in reducing the prevalence of prejudice.
This Data Brief breaks down key findings from BIMI's investigation of spatial mismatch in legal services. This investigation merges Census data on the region’s immigrant population with a unique database of immigrant legal services. This database is available to the public and researchers through an innovative service-locator app, helping hundreds of thousands of people connect to services. BIMI also aims to make the service landscape more equitable by combining location and service information with targeted demographic data, such as language needs, to shine a light on service gaps for funders, policymakers and service providers.
This Data Brief summarizes key findings from the BIMI project "Mapping Spatial Inequality," as it relates to health services. There are over one million noncitizens and close to 2.4 million foreign-born residents living in the 9-county Bay Area. Many of these immigrants live in the region’s suburbs, bedroom communities, and mid-size cities. Yet immigrant-focused health clinics remain concentrated in the historic ‘immigrant gateway’ cities, such as San Francisco and Oakland. With research and data briefs like this, BIMI aims to make the service landscape more equitable by combining location and service information with targeted demographic data, such as language needs, to shine a light on service gaps for funders, policymakers and service providers.
The debate on immigration in the U.S. has become a highly partisan one, with little room for compromise between competing visions of America's national identity and immigration policy. In light of such deep divisions, the prospects for bipartisan immigration reform look bleak. So what does it take to change people's opinions on immigration policy? Political scientist and BIMI-affiliate Dr. Cecilia H. Mo and co-author Dr. Tabitha Bonilla tackle this question in an experimental study that offers promising findings for the future of bipartisan immigration reform. This policy brief relays their findings and how the persuasive tactic of "frame-bridging" is being applied today. Read Dr. Bonilla and Dr. Mo's original research article here.
Many of America's most globally-competitive industries, like the tech industry, recruit a significant portion of their high-skilled workforce from outside the U.S. How do policies governing employment-based migration—like the 2017 "Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American"—affect American businesses? And how do these policies impact states like California that receive thousands of new workers on H-1B visas each year? This policy brief addresses these questions with help from Dr. AnnaLee Saxenian, a BIMI affiliate and UC Berkeley Professor who has spent over twenty years studying high-skilled labor migration and its effects on international trade relations.
How are images used to reveal different perceptions of migrant deservingness and undeservingness? Through an analysis of a California traffic sign and its multiple adaptations, Berkeley law professor Leti Volpp discusses how migrant categories have been constructed. Through this Research Brief, we explore Dr. Volpp's work on the representations of migrants and what these perceptions mean for our understanding of rights and membership. Read the original research article here.
This report examines the implications of recent changes to the federal public charge rule and immigrants’ ability to access human and social services in the urban and suburban communities of the Bay Area. It considers the unique barriers faced by legally precarious immigrants as well as gendered pathways to accessing services. We offer recommendations for responding to the change in the public charge rule and for ensuring immigrant well-being in the region.
How well are mid-sized cities in the Bay area serving their immigrant-origin residents? What are the barriers that immigrants face in accessing services? This report examines 12 Bay Area cities. The research draws on Census Bureau data, interviews with community stakeholders, and data from the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative’s Mapping Spatial Inequality interactive map. We identify and examine three key obstacles to accessing services faced by immigrants, a confluence of geographic distance, language barriers, and lack of trust leaves many immigrants unable to access essential services, especially outside of the region’s biggest cities. The report provides recommendations to improve access to immigrant services.
There are an estimated 117,000 Latino migrant day laborers in the U.S., with about a third residing in California. Migrant day laborers typically perform physically demanding and dangerous work, with little-to-no access to health care or workers' protections. BIMI-affiliate Dr. Kurt Organista (UC Berkeley) and his co-authors Samantha Ngo, Dr. Torsten Neilands (UC San Francisco), and Dr. Alex H. Kral (UC San Francisco) explore how the living conditions experienced by Latino migrant day laborers in the San Francisco Bay Area affect their physical health, their mental health, and their chances of contracting infectious diseases. Their research exposes a public health crisis afflicting a large yet underserved population, and provides evidence-backed recommendations for therapeutic treatments and policy-based cures that could alleviate this public health concern. Read the original research article here.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has granted 800,000 young undocumented immigrants work authorization and protection from deportation, but its impact extends to their overall health and well-being. A recent study by Marie Mallet (Sorbonne) and Lisa García Bedolla (UC Berkeley) demonstrates that the Trump administration's announcement to repeal DACA has had negative health outcomes on DACA recipients. They find that "transitory legality," going in and out of a protected status, can have detrimental mental and psychological health effects. Read the original research article here.
Immigrant rights activists have been trying new strategies to advocate for refugees and undocumented people, including invoking human rights, civil rights, and American values. Berkeley Professors of Sociology Kim Voss and Irene Bloemraad surveyed California voters to find out which framing strategy works best. Contrary to popular logic, they found that the most effective framing strategy is the American values frame, showing a new path forward for pro-immigrant activism. Read the original research article here.
Public Interest Law Organizations (PILOs) have been a major driver of social change and legal reform in the United States in the last century. However, research by University of California-Berkeley Professor of Law and Sociology Catherine Albiston shows that PILOs are not accessible to all those who may need their services, including immigrants and residents of poor counties. This policy brief recommends that the Legal Services Corporation be reformed and that large, privately-funded PILOs partner with PILOs in rural areas to expand affordable legal services to new communities. Read the original research article here.
The 2018 midterm elections represented a significant turning point for Asian Americans. Studies have revealed that Asians are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., but Asian Americans have rarely been the focus in academic or public discourse on political participation. However, this group is a critical untapped voter base. Research by Christian Dyogi Phillips and Taeku Lee shows how the Asian American voting population looks different from the Black, Latino, and White populations, particularly with regards to gender differences in political participation. Looking to the role of the Asian American voting population in future elections, this policy brief highlights various policy recommendations on how to unlock this critical untapped voter base. Read the original research article here.
There is a new geography of poverty and immigration, with more immigrants and poor people living in the suburbs. Els de Graauw, Shannon Gleeson and Irene Bloemraad show that local officials haven't caught up to this new reality and that there is a spatial mismatch between the neighborhoods where immigrants live and the location of community-based organizations that serve low-income and immigrant populations. BIMI is building the 'Mapping Spatial Inequality' web app. This interactive app enables users to visualize the service mismatch across place, time and types of needs. Read the original research article here.
What were the unintended consequences of restricting access to Social Welfare of undocumented immigrants? Cybelle Fox shows how a restrictive policy shift in the 70's resulted in more discriminatory practices, obstacles to social welfare for American-born children, avoidance of care and a disproportionate burden on local governments. Read Dr. Fox original research article here.
How can governments prevent refugees from relying on smugglers and what can we learn from the Greek refugee crisis? Carlson, Jakli and Linos show how governments may prevent information vacuums and contribute to effective crisis management. Read about the policy takeaways of their study and why these findings are relevant for the case of Trump's proposed Muslim travel ban. Read the original research article here.