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Immigrant Inclusion & Racial Justice

May 14, 2018

By Manuel Pastor, Rhonda Ortiz, and Magaly N. López (USC CSII)

Commissioned by The Asset Funders Network (AFN) and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)

Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).

With extreme levels of political polarization and heated rhetoric around immigrants and economic inequality in the U.S., funders working at the intersection of asset building and immigrant integration can play a vital role fostering shared prosperity and mobility for all Americans: native-born residents, long-settled immigrants, and newcomers alike.

To that end, CSII presents Immigrant Lives, American Futures: Linking Asset Building and Immigrant Integration—a research paper synthesizing data, a literature review, and interviews with experts to offer insights and best practices for funders to explore the challenges, opportunities, and trends at the intersections of the immigrant integration and asset building fields.

Immigrant Lives, American Futures highlights key concepts in both fields, as well as the emerging models and best practices to facilitate ongoing discussion among funders, with grantees, and within institutions and communities.

In particular, the paper features key aspects of immigrant integration, including the importance of immigrants to the economy, the impact of varying types of immigration status, and the steps that some communities have taken to actively welcome newcomers. It also outlines the role of asset building through the analytical framework of “the life course” which recognizes that the vast majority of immigrant families are here to stay and that future generations will benefit from stronger financial foundations built today.

While this research paper offers a wide-ranging and in-depth view of the literature and data on asset-building and immigrant communities, it is accompanied by a shorter brief of the same title released by the Asset Funders Network (AFN) and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR). This brief synthesizes the work here, adds in additional insights, and offers a highly accessible look at this topic.

We hope that both this version of Immigrant Lives, American Futures and the related brief can be useful guides for concerted action by practitioners and funders to support and scale effective approaches and emerging models for immigrant asset building and upward mobility.

Webinar recording: Advancing Economic Opportunity for Immigrants and Refugees


Date: March 21, 2018
Host: Asset Funders Network (AFN) and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)
Speakers: Dr. Manuel Pastor, Director of USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration; Paulina Gonzalez, Executive Director, California Reinvestment Coalition; and Chi-mei Lin, Chief Executive Officer, Chinese Community Center of Houston. 

Recent community success to reduce racial inequities reveals the potential of larger-scale collective action and policy change. By connecting people with good jobs, raising the floor for low-wage workers, and building communities of opportunity metro-wide, the region’s leaders can put all residents on the path toward reaching their full potential, and secure a bright economic future for all.

The recording can be viewed down below or on the Asset Funders Network website.


Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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