WES Mariam Assefa Fund Grantee Partners

Urban Institute

Category: Equitable, resilient, & participatory systems

Amount: USD$71,120

Term: May 2021 – November 2021

Focus: The Urban Institute is bringing together policy researchers, advocates, and scholars to discuss strategies to better center racial equity in immigrant integration research and policy analysis and deepen understanding of how structural racism shapes and informs immigrant experiences in the United States.

About the Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the social and economic policy debate. For nearly five decades, Urban Institute scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based practices that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly changing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.

What type of work will the grant enable?

The Urban Institute is convening a small group of policy researchers, advocates, and scholars for a focused series of workshops to discuss the importance of centering race in immigrant integration research and policy, and to share effective strategies to accomplish this goal. The Urban Institute will develop a public brief summarizing lessons and insights from these workshops to help inform practices in the field.

Why is this work important?

While academic literature documents the racialized history of immigration policy, less is known about how race shapes immigrant experiences and opportunities today, especially as immigrant families face structural racism in their communities, schools, and jobs. Many immigrants are people of color, yet immigration and integration research often disaggregates by nativity status, language, or region of origin (for example, Latin American) rather than analysis or interpretation by race.

Today, racial equity has acquired urgency in the immigrant and refugee rights community. The COVID-19 crisis illuminated racial and ethnic disparities and the challenges faced by immigrant workers in essential industries, as well as the potential to advance immigration reform at the federal level. The Fund’s work with the Urban Institute also responds to the need to include a broader range of perspectives and backgrounds in immigration policy. This project brings researchers and advocates together to identify opportunities in and challenges to centering race in immigration policy, research, and data collection, and to share findings with the field.

This work is helping to inform the Fund’s grantmaking strategy on data for an equitable recovery and ensure that larger research and policy work supported by the Fund effectively captures and reflects the experiences of immigrants who have varied lived experiences in the U.S. economy.