Margie McHugh is Director of the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. Her work focuses on education quality and access issues for immigrants and their children from early childhood through K-12 and adult, postsecondary, and workforce skills programs. She also leads the Center’s work seeking a more coordinated federal response to immigrant integration needs and impacts, and more workable systems for recognition of the education and work experience immigrants bring with them to the United States.
Prior to joining MPI, Ms. McHugh served for 15 years as Executive Director of The New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella organization for over 150 groups in New York that uses research, policy development, and community mobilization efforts to achieve landmark integration policy and program initiatives. Prior to joining NYIC, she served as Deputy Director of New York City’s 1990 Census Project and as Executive Assistant to New York Mayor Ed Koch’s chief of staff.
The National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is a crossroads for elected officials, grassroots and nonprofit leaders, educators, journalists, researchers, local service providers, state and local agency managers, and others who seek to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities today’s high rates of immigration create in local communities.
Key services the Center provides include policy-focused research, policy design, leadership development, technical assistance and training for government officials and community leaders, and an electronic resource center on immigrant integration issues with a special focus on state and local policies and data. MPI’s primary reasons for creating the Center are to:
Shine a spotlight on these hugely important but generally neglected issues. Immigrant integration issues are among the most overlooked set of issues in U.S. public policy today. The Center seeks to bring this neglected set of issues to the fore of national and local debates and promote constructive solutions that will advance the economic mobility and social inclusion of immigrants in the United States.
Set the record straight. MPI’s Center provides an unbiased look at the needs, costs, and contributions of immigrants, as well as balanced analysis of the integration policy options facing local communities and the nation.
Organize and strengthen a nascent field. Many officials in state and local government, as well as researchers and community activists, have begun to tackle integration issues in areas such as PreK-12 education, workforce development, adult literacy, and health access. However, they often work in isolation, unaware of one another’s efforts and unable to leverage their expertise and energy into more systemic and powerful outcomes. MPI's Center provides a hub that allows these stakeholders to connect with one another, inform and nurture their efforts, and facilitate the entry of new actors into integration and its various subfields.
Identify and promote effective policies and practices. Those working on these issues at the local, state, and national levels need research and data that will guide them toward effective policies and practices. The need for such knowledge and expertise will only grow as migration to “new-destination” states continues, as the question of legal status for the country’s nearly 12 million unauthorized immigrants is decided, and as concerns about the competitiveness of U.S. workers and products in a globalized economy become more urgent.
MPI has created the Center to focus attention on this neglected set of policy issues and to build a more coherent and knowledge-driven field of researchers, community leaders, government officials, and other stakeholders who have the knowledge and skills to effectively address them. The Center thus seeks to not only expand the knowledge base in the field of immigrant integration, but the field itself.