Spotlight on Immigration

Immigration continues to be a complex issue sparking national debate and discussion in the United States. Foundations have invested over $12.5 billion in supporting causes associated with immigrants, migrants, and refugees in the United States since 2006. To help funders be more strategic and effective, Foundation Center has put together a roundup of some quick facts and resources from organizations that work on this issue every day. This list reflects views on immigration from organizations that are as diverse as the nonprofit sector itself. It is in no way intended to stake a particular policy stance, rather to spark thinking around philanthropy’s role in this landscape. We hope you’ll dig in, find what speaks to you, start a conversation, and continue to share your wisdom so we can all learn and work smarter together.

Immigrants are a key segment of the U.S. workforce, yet 42% fall below the poverty line.


Improving Immigrant Access to Workforce Services: Partnerships, Practices & Policies, Aspen Institute


Immigrants have started more than half of startup companies valued at a billion dollars or more in the U.S.


Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups, National Center for American Policy (NFAP)


Immigrants account for about one-half of workers in the U.S. who have not completed high school.


Securing the Border: Defining the Current Population Living in the Shadows
and Addressing Future Flows
, American Enterprise Institute


Unauthorized immigrants account for one-fourth of the U.S. foreign-born population — and less than three percent of the total U.S. population.


Funders Guide: Grants and Immigration Status, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)


Legal and illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than U.S. natives.


Criminal Immigrants: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin,

Cato Institute


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has increased the capacity of its immigrant detention system to add 45,000 immigrants per day.


Shadow Prisons: Immigrant Detention in the South, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Southern Poverty Law Center, Adelante Alabama Worker Center


Refugee children around the world are five times more likely to be out of school.


Missing Out: Refugee Education in Crisis, The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)


Of an estimated 5.5 million U.S. children of unauthorized immigrant parents, 82% percent were US citizens.


Health and Social Service Needs of US-Citizen Children with Detained or Departed Immigrant Parents, Urban Institute; Migration Policy Institute


Arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased by nearly 40 percent since January 2017.


Funders Taking on Mass Deportation and Mass Incarceration, Philanthropy News Digest


Demand for foreign labor far outstrips the supply of H1-B visas.


Does Immigration Increase Economic Growth? , Manhattan Institute


One million immigrants receive lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. each year that puts them on a path to citizenship.


5 Key Facts About U.S. Lawful Immigrants, Pew Research Center


Have you funded issues related to immigration? Have a report or case study on this topic or itching to write a blog post? Share your wisdom with Foundation Center through GrantCraft, Philanthropy News Digest, or IssueLab

Editor's Note: Total foundation funding for immigrants, migrants, and refugees updated as of June 2018.


About the author(s)

Director of Knowledge Management
Foundation Center

Editorial Director/Publisher of Philanthropy News Digest
Foundation Center

Director of Stakeholder Engagement