E.g., 02/21/2024
E.g., 02/21/2024
Human Services Initiative

Human Services Initiative

MPI’s Human Services Initiative focuses on a range of immigration issues affecting children, families, and health- and human services programs and policies in the United States. The Initiative produces research, policy analysis, private convenings, public events, and technical assistance to inform federal, state, and local policies and practice. Current areas of work include:

  • Refugee Resettlement. The initiative conducts research and delivers technical assistance to strengthen refugee resettlement services, with particular attention to underserved groups such as women, children and youth, and individuals with disabilities. The initiative engages in comparative studies to identify promising models that suit refugee resettlement in different national or regional contexts.
  • Unaccompanied Children. MPI analyzes policies and programs that affect unaccompanied minors while they are in government custody, transitioning to local communities, or re-entering their countries of origin. The initiative engages providers, governments, community-based organizations, and others to improve services to these children based on child development and child welfare principles.
  • Access to Benefits and Services. The initiative examines the legal and policy frameworks set by governments to determine immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits and services such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also focuses attention on systemic challenges in connecting asylees, children of immigrants and other eligible groups to available benefits and services.

Recent Activity

Cover image for Immigrants’ Eligibility for U.S. Public Benefits: A Primer
Reports
January 2024
By  Valerie Lacarte, Julia Gelatt and Ashley Podplesky
Cover image for the brief Understanding Poverty Declines
Policy Briefs
May 2023
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for SNAP Access and Participation brief
Policy Briefs
March 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Lillie Hinkle and Briana L. Broberg
Cover image for Four Strategies to Improve Community Services for Unaccompanied Children in the Unit
Policy Briefs
December 2022
By  Jonathan Beier, Lauren Farwell, Rhonda Fleischer and Essey Workie
Cover image for A Profile of Low-Income Immigrants in the United States
Fact Sheets
November 2022
By  Julia Gelatt, Valerie Lacarte and Joshua Rodriguez
Image of the hands of two people at a desk going over paperwork
Commentaries
September 2022
By  Jonathan Beier and Essey Workie

Pages

Cover image for Immigrants’ Eligibility for U.S. Public Benefits: A Primer
Reports
January 2024
By  Valerie Lacarte, Julia Gelatt and Ashley Podplesky
Cover image for the brief Understanding Poverty Declines
Policy Briefs
May 2023
By  Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Cover image for SNAP Access and Participation brief
Policy Briefs
March 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Lillie Hinkle and Briana L. Broberg
Cover image for Four Strategies to Improve Community Services for Unaccompanied Children in the Unit
Policy Briefs
December 2022
By  Jonathan Beier, Lauren Farwell, Rhonda Fleischer and Essey Workie
Cover image for A Profile of Low-Income Immigrants in the United States
Fact Sheets
November 2022
By  Julia Gelatt, Valerie Lacarte and Joshua Rodriguez
Cover image for The Missing Link
Reports
July 2022
By  Essey Workie, Lillie Hinkle and Stephanie Heredia

Pages

Image of the hands of two people at a desk going over paperwork
Commentaries
September 2022
By  Jonathan Beier and Essey Workie
Photo of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meeting with Afghan evacuees in Germany
Commentaries
September 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
Bhutanese refugee sits on bed in family's apartment in New York
Commentaries
June 2021
By  Essey Workie, Mark Greenberg and Lillie Hinkle
_DoctorsOfficePublicCharge
Commentaries
March 2020
By  Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
medical insurance
Commentaries
October 2019
By  Julia Gelatt and Mark Greenberg
SNAP commentary USDA Flickr
Commentaries
August 2019
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg

Pages

Video, Audio
February 24, 2022

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar takes stock of lessons learned about remote learning during the pandemic and examines how governments, schools, and service providers can advance digital equity for children in immigrant families.

Video, Audio
July 21, 2021

Featuring findings from a recent MPI report, speakers examined the process of releasing unaccompanied children to sponsors, the current structure of federal post-release services, and the most significant needs these children and their U.S. sponsors experience. The discussion also explored efforts by philanthropic, state, and local actors to address the needs of this population and their communities, what service gaps exist, and key recommendations to improve access to services.

Greencard US government
Video, Audio
March 5, 2020

On this webinar, MPI experts discussed the public-charge rule and released estimates of the populations that could be deemed ineligible for a green card based on existing benefits use. They examined the far larger consequences of the rule, through its "chilling effects" and imposition of a test aimed at assessing whether green-card applicants are likely to ever use a public benefit in the future. And they discussed how the latter holds the potential to reshape legal immigration to the United States. 

flickr Seattle OIRA August 2015 Ready to Work Graduation Celebration Credit Nate Gowdy Photography
Video, Audio
January 23, 2020

On this webinar, experts and state refugee resettlement program leaders discuss activities that can be key parts of a broader strategy for sustaining and improving employment services for refugees, including partnerships with experts in workforce development strategies, access to federal workforce development funding, and other policies and resources.

Expert talks about child abuse prevention airforce
Video, Audio
April 23, 2019

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar examines what the growing intersection between U.S. immigration and child welfare systems means for protection agencies. Speakers also discuss promising child welfare policies and agency approaches to address the needs of children of immigrants and their families amid demographic change and rising immigration enforcement.

Pages

Recent Activity

Reports
January 2024

Immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits in the United States is governed by a complex patchwork of rules that make many groups of noncitizens eligible for some benefits but not others, while other noncitizens are excluded completely. This report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, driver’s licenses, and more.

Reports
November 2023

As humanitarian migrant arrivals in the United States increase, via refugee resettlement and channels such as temporary parole, communication between the national, state, and local actors involved in supporting their reception and integration is critical. This report examines the goals and design of quarterly resettlement consultations, as well as opportunities to refine these processes to boost their impact and relevance in a changing policy landscape.

Policy Briefs
May 2023

The United States has seen notable declines in overall and child poverty since 2009, continuing even into the period of pandemic-driven economic upheaval. This issue brief takes a closer look at how these trends have played out for immigrants and their children, by citizenship status and race/ethnicity. It also explores factors that have contributed to these poverty declines.

Reports
April 2023

As the number of unaccompanied children entering U.S. communities has increased, many have faced barriers to accessing critical medical and mental health services. This report explores common barriers to care, promising practices for overcoming them, and strategies for strengthening services. It draws on interviews and focus groups with clinicians, social workers, and others working with this population as well as one-time unaccompanied children themselves.

Policy Briefs
March 2023

The U.S. government created the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, to combat food insecurity. Under federal law, many lawfully present noncitizens in poor households are ineligible. This issue brief examines the size and characteristics of the population of immigrants with incomes low enough to qualify for SNAP and their eligibility for and participation in the program, at U.S. and state levels.  

Policy Briefs
December 2022

For unaccompanied children leaving federal custody to live with parents or other sponsors, the transition into U.S. communities can be a difficult one. And although a patchwork of services exist to help these children and to address medical, mental health, and other needs, their capacity varies widely by location. This issue brief explores promising practices for improving these critical forms of support.  

Fact Sheets
November 2022

Immigrants in the United States experience strong economic mobility overall. But for some, limited educational attainment and English proficiency, and the challenges of restarting life in a new country, can result in low incomes and economic hardship. This fact sheet looks at the origins, states of residence, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and employment of low-income immigrants.

Commentaries
September 2022

The Biden administration public-charge final rule undoes deep restrictions imposed during the Trump era, codifying much of the policy in place from 1999 to 2019. Yet confusion and fear over triggering negative immigration consequences will continue to keep many immigrants and their U.S.-born relatives from accessing benefits and services for which they are eligible absent a robust educational campaign, this commentary explains.

Pages