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U.S. Immigration Policy in the 21st Century

In an attempt to overhaul and modernize the U.S. immigration system, the U.S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, or S. 744, in 2013. Despite optimism that it would become law, S.744 ultimately died when the U.S. House failed to vote on the bill. As the need for comprehensive immigration reform persists, and as immigration policy continues to be a highly salient political issue, the USIPC will be at the center of conversations about how to create a new U.S. immigration policy system that meets the demands of the 21st century. To do this, the USIPC will undertake and support research across the four main pillars of U.S. immigration policy: admissions; border security, interior immigration enforcement, and immigrant integration.


Undocumented in America

What does it mean to be an undocumented immigrant in America? How do the experiences of undocumented immigrants change as immigration policies and the broader political context surrounding immigration change? Approximately one-quarter of all immigrants in the U.S. are undocumented yet there remain significant research gaps when it comes to the day-to-day experiences of undocumented immigrants, as well as when it comes to the attitudes and preferences that undocumented immigrants have about the policies and politics that so directly impacts their lives. The USIPC will collect and analyze original survey data on undocumented populations, which includes large-scale, probability-based samples of undocumented immigrants, five consecutive years of surveying DACA recipients, and other projects.


Civic Engagement

Why are some immigrants more civically and politically engaged than others? What can be done to increase immigrant civic and political participation, including naturalization, registering to vote, and voting and non-voting forms of political participation, among other indicators? In addition to ongoing analyses of voter files, survey data, and field observations, the USIPC will design, implement, and evaluate voter mobilization experiments targeted at naturalized citizen voters, voters who live with naturalized citizen voters, and voters who live in mixed-immigration status households.


Diversity Lab

There is a growing literature in the social sciences on the determinants of anti-immigrant sentiment. However, existing academic research is not often designed with interventions in mind that can be applied in the real world. What can be done to attenuate the cultural and economic anxieties that, for some, have become synonymous with the issue of immigration? The USIPC’s Diversity Lab will use survey, field, lab, and other experimental methods to not only better understand the causes and consequences of anti-immigrant sentiment, but what we can do about it.