The Americas Policy Program works with immigrant groups and hometown federations in the United
States, and with nongovernmental organizations and experts throughout the hemisphere to analyze the
trends and root causes of immigration in the hemisphere and offer alternative policy options. We
provide a forum for discussion and a platform for disseminating policy proposals and analysis to
a broader audience in both receiving and sending countries and across language barriers.
We are committed to promoting development policies that make emigration a choice, not an imperative.
We support immigration policy reforms that facilitate the integration of immigrants into their new
societies, while controlling the flow of new immigrants.
Throughout the world and throughout history, immigrants have played an inspiring role in building
nations, contributing to communities, and spearheading campaigns for social justice in their new countries.
They have often been the backbone of movements for labor rights and better working standards.
Over the past two decades immigration flows have increased due to the rapid pace of economic integration,
new patterns of demand for labor, easy global communication, widespread displacement of unskilled workers
and peasants, and environmental deterioration. From the poverty and unemployment that force many to
leave their home communities, to the lack of essential guarantees in their new communities, the immigrant
path commonly traces globalization through the labyrinth of its own contradictions.
Anti-immigration sentiment is on the rise in the United States, as many politicians and pressure groups
blame immigrants for increased social and economic insecurities at home. In response to their plight
as unauthorized residents and to the threat of restrictionist policies, immigrants are organizing in
new ways to decrease their isolation, build ties with their communities of origin, and reform immigration
laws that deny them basic civil and human rights.
We believe that immigration reform policy in the United States should be closely linked to 1) a foreign
policy that fosters broadly shared development abroad, and 2) to a domestic policy that aims for full
employment and economic security.
A comprehensive immigration policy should prioritize the legalization of immigrants living and working
in the United States, and restrict new immigration to sustainable levels—levels that do not create
downward pressure on wages, unionization, and employment opportunities for citizen and resident workers;
or overburden infrastructure.
The immigration debate has deep roots and no easy solutions. Both national and international solutions
are needed. Sending nations, in cooperation with receiving nations and international agencies, need
to adopt new economic policies specifically designed to keep their citizens at home with jobs and income.
The failed attempt of the U.S. government to reform immigration law reveals the deep divisions, the
complex emotions, and the legal vacuum surrounding the issue, and has left millions of U.S. residents
Immigrants will continue to leave their homes in search of a better life, in the absence of governmental
commitments to environmentally sustainable and equitable development. While the U.S.-Mexico border
wall has become the physical symbol of the problem, many other countries in the region—notably Chile,
Brazil, Argentina, and Costa Rica—are also magnet nations for immigrants, and social tension and human
rights abuses have begun to surface in these countries as well.
Reframing the Immigration Debate: The Actors and the Issues
Inmigrantes Sin Fronteras
Latin America Working Group
Mexico Solidarity Network
Southwest Organizing Project