E.g., 09/26/2021
E.g., 09/26/2021
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. MPI conducts research and delivers technical assistance to strengthen family-focused refugee resettlement services. These efforts include a national policy academy that supports state efforts to advance two-generation strategies in refugee resettlement, with particular attention to services for young children, supports for youth transitioning to adulthood, and better job strategies for adults.
  • Unaccompanied Children. MPI analyzes policies and programs that affect unaccompanied minors while they are in federal custody and after they have been released to parents or other sponsors in local communities. MPI engages providers, governments, community-based organizations, and others to improve services to unaccompanied children based on child development and child welfare principles.
  • Access to Benefits and Services. In the context of public-charge requirements and fears of engaging with public systems, MPI partners with governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders to address challenges in connecting individuals and families with benefits and services. This aspect of MPI’s work includes attention to linkages to benefits and services for asylees, asylum seekers, and children of immigrants.

Recent Activity

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Cover image for Strengthening Services for Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities
Reports
June 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Kylie Grow, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin and Essey Workie
Coverthumb ImmigrantFamiliesChildWelfare
Reports
April 2019
By  Mark Greenberg, Randy Capps, Andrew Kalweit, Jennifer Grishkin and Ann Flagg
Coverthumb TwoGen RefugeeIntegration
Reports
December 2018
By  Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter, Essey Workie and Isabelle Charo
Coverthumb MPI PublicChargeImmigrationImpact
Policy Briefs
November 2018
By  Randy Capps, Mark Greenberg, Michael Fix and Jie Zong
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
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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
FamilySnapBenefits
Commentaries
August 2018
By  Jeanne Batalova, Michael Fix and Mark Greenberg

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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.

flickr   25944533204_cb4e9bcf7c_z (1)  United Way of the Lower Mainland
Video, Audio
December 13, 2018

On this webinar, MPI researchers and Utah and Colorado refugee coordinators explore promising practices to better serve refugee families, including education services for refugee youth, innovative efforts to secure better jobs for adult refugees, and other services designed to aid integration over time. They also discuss the potential for implementing and supporting two-generation approaches to refugee integration at a time when the system’s funding and capacity are in peril.  

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
September 2021

Afghans evacuated to the United States are entering with a range of legal statuses, with important implications for their ability to access benefits and services that will help them settle into their new communities. This commentary outlines the different statuses and resulting consequences for eligibility for assistance, based on whether the arrivals are recognized as refugees, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, or parolees.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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.

Commentaries
June 2021

While asylees are eligible for many of the same public benefits and services as resettled refugees, including health care and employment assistance, there is no system to inform them of their eligibility and to help connect them to resources. MPI estimates that fewer than 20 percent of those granted asylum in recent years received Office of Refugee Resettlement benefits during their first year. The U.S. government could address this gap with a few simple measures.

Reports
June 2021

While record monthly arrivals of unaccompanied minors in early 2021 have drawn considerable attention, important questions surround what happens once the children are released from federal custody to parents or other sponsors. This report examines federal post-release services, support needs among children and sponsors, how service providers are meeting these needs, and ways to improve services—to the benefit of the children and the communities in which they live.

Commentaries
May 2021

The federal government has made notable progress since March 2021 in getting unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border out of Border Patrol facilities and into Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, and then releasing them to parents or other sponsors. Yet there are serious concerns about standards of care and conditions in a new type of ORR facility: emergency intake sites, as this commentary explores.

Commentaries
March 2021

The increase in unaccompanied child arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border in February and March has led to backups and overcrowding at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities ill-suited to house children, in part due to earlier significant reductions in Office of Refugee Resettlement shelter capacity during 2020. This commentary explores preparedness shortfalls and the options the Biden administration has moving forward.

Commentaries
January 2021

The pandemic-recovery stimulus package that passed Congress in December rectified what many had viewed as a significant oversight in the earlier CARES Act: Its exclusion of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants in mixed-status families. MPI researchers estimate nearly 3 million U.S. citizens and legal immigrants excluded from the earlier legislation can receive the later relief, as well as qualify retroactively for the CARES Act payment, as this commentary explores.

Commentaries
December 2020

Researchers, service providers, and others have long predicted that sweeping revisions by the Trump administration to the definition of who constitutes a public charge would deter large numbers of immigrant-led households from using federal means-tested public benefits for which they are eligible. Recently released Census Bureau data show they were right: During the administration's first three years, program participation declined twice as fast among noncitizens as citizens.

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