Welcoming communities provide a sense of security and stability that allows immigrant families to make good decisions for their wellbeing, while creating a supportive environment to seek help from service organizations they can use to create a better future. But because of increasing antiimmigrant sentiment, discrimination, confusion over public charge and the threat of detention and deportation for some noncitizens, immigrant families may be less willing or able to access supports available to them by law. Immigrant families are more likely to be low-income than native born ones, and when they can reliably access relevant public supports, it benefits the entire community. What does it take to deliver 2Gen services to families, youth and children whose variety of immigrant statuses (naturalized citizen, legal permanent resident, refugee, noncitizen and unauthorized, among them) may dictate different access to benefits, and to make sure all family members are supported, healthy and feel welcome and safe in their place?

In 2021, a project team from the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, the Migration Policy Institute and Higher Heights Consulting set out to lift up 2Gen practices that work to help immigrant families by listening to the direct service organizations doing this work. There’s no doubt that supporting families whose members may encompass a mix of different immigration statuses is challenging and must be done intentionally, but two broad strategies arose from our survey, interviews, webinars, and peer advising and learning convenings: Take time to educate staff, clients and community members about how different immigration statuses can affect eligibility for supports and the design of services, and build partnerships that can provide a continuum of services for mixed-status families.

Read the full article about immigration status by Chris Estes, Devin Deaton, Aparna Jayashankar and Margie McHugh at Migration Policy Institute.