60 Resources for Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Communities
Immigration and refugee resettlement are ubiquitous subjects, but too often, people think of them in the abstract. Headlines and sound bites about policy can dehumanize the people involved. Immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees are just like everyone else, with needs ranging from education to housing to employment.
Unfortunately, these communities face legal and cultural hurdles that prevent them from accessing necessary support. That’s where people working in helping professions, such as social work, step in to address the challenges facing those who have left sometimes dire situations in their homelands with the hope of improving their lives or their children’s lives. Many organizations throughout the country provide expertise and resources tailored to these communities. These resources can be invaluable assets for social workers engaging with immigrant and refugee clients.
If you are working with clients from immigrant or refugee communities, consider using the following resources, which include toolkits, informational pages, guides, and organizational websites, broken down by issue area:
This guide from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) highlights ways to implement “safe space” policies to protect early childhood programs against immigration enforcement, such as educating staff about who is authorized to speak with an agent of authority and about storing and releasing private information about parents and children.
Developed by the National Immigration Law Center, this toolkit includes background information on tuition equity measures, an overview of state laws and policies related to higher education for immigrants, and messaging for organizers who seek to improve access for these communities.
The U.S. Department of Education has created a comprehensive resource page for immigrant, refugee, and asylee students and families that includes a number of fact sheets and guides on topics such as the rights of unaccompanied youth and youth protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The American Federation of Teachers published this report in 2017 for educators, support staff and service providers who teach, mentor and help immigrant and refugee children. It has tools and resources to protect and prepare youth and families in the event of a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
This issue brief, created by the Migration Policy Institute, examines how trauma affects children in immigrant families and what can be done to protect them, highlighting a number of culturally appropriate tactics that schools and educators can use.
This toolkit is designed to help teachers, principals, and other staff make schools welcoming for newcomers and their families, provide students with academic support to attain English language proficiency, and meet college- and career-readiness standards.
This publication from the Council of Chief State School Officers examines the school-, district- and state-level policies and practices that are being implemented to support English language learners; it also provides guidance for local education agencies on how to design and adapt their programs.
Developed by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and the National Immigration Law Center, this toolkit was designed for organizations in an emergency setting where they are required to respond to a raid in the moment. It lays out clear instructions on how to organize an effective response and delegate responsibilities and roles.
This publication from the National Skills Coalition outlines the immigrant skill-building policies being implemented by states and localities that provide a pathway to middle-skill jobs. The brief includes recommendations for advocates interested in advancing effective skills policies and strengthening collaborations between workforce and education officials.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provide an action plan for employers, refugees and governments aimed at assessing and utilizing the skills of refugees, preparing work environments for this workforce, and ensuring the long-term employability of these communities.
IMPRINT—which works with business, government, higher education and other partners to raise awareness about the talents and contributions of immigrant professionals—provides an interactive map highlighting more than 100 programs and services in the United States that are designed to help immigrant and refugee professionals.
This webpage from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is dedicated to workers’ rights and provides know-your-rights trainings, policy analysis, and response toolkits on a number of issues including worksite immigration enforcement, workers’ rights, Social Security numbers, employment eligibility verification, discrimination, and electronic employment eligibility verification.
Created by Legal Aid at Work, this program is designed to protect the employment rights of undocumented workers as well as workers who may face discrimination based on their ethnicity or country of origin. The program offers a Language Rights Helpline, detailed fact sheets with legal information, and sample letters for workers who would like to communicate with their employers about workplace rights.
This guide from Welcoming America provides local leaders with strategies on how to create policies related to workforce development, entrepreneurship, agriculture, and home ownership that can create an inclusive economy.
In this report, the Urban Institute explores opportunities for educating and training untapped immigrant workers and highlights strategies that organizations across the country are using to support advancement of immigrants in the workforce.
The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) under the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department enforces the anti-discrimination provisions that protect U.S. citizens and certain other work-authorized individuals from employment discrimination based upon citizenship or immigration status. The IER webpage provides an overview of workers’ rights, allows workers to file charges, and includes a number of webinars on employee rights.
This organization offers resources to job seekers, employers and supporters to help immigrants translate their education, skills and professional experience abroad to integrate into the U.S. workforce.
This publication from the Aspen Institute explores the value of partnerships between immigrant-serving organizations and community colleges to help expand immigrants’ access to skill-building and career-advancement opportunities.
This organization’s site, which explores the age-specific effects of exposure to traumatic events, offers screening resources and intervention strategies for medical, school and mental health professionals addressing refugee trauma.
This toolkit created by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) includes information on how to support legislation to protect migrant children, as well as a list of NASW resources related to the topic.
This webinar and accompanying materials provide information on government-funded programs that provide emergency shelter and assisted housing to immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, including which programs are open to all without regard to immigration status.
The Refugee Center Online offers resources that have been curated by resettled refugees and immigrants. The site has free GED and U.S. Citizenship Test classes, provides help with resumes, and offers information on how to obtain a driver’s license.
This coalition of U.S.-based non-governmental organizations is dedicated to refugee protection and resettlement. The coalition’s website offers comprehensive overviews of the resettlement process and provides refugee policy updates.
UnidosUS and the Immigration Advocates Network partnered to offer this free app, available for Android and iOS, which gives access to a directory of more than 1,000 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal service providers.
Immigrant Connection Project (ICON), a partnership between the Vera Institute of Justice and New America, is a resource for parents who have been separated from their children to connect with legal service providers.
The Forum offers fact sheets online about various topics, including information on the origin countries from which immigrants are eligible for temporary protected status, the asylum process, and essentials for naturalization for military personnel and veterans.
This Chicago-based human rights organization with offices in Phoenix; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; New York; and Houston, San Antonio and Harlingen, Texas, accepts referrals for the appointment of independent child advocates who work with Young Center attorneys and social workers to make recommendations in the immigrant child’s best interest.
Developed by the Battered Women’s Justice Project, this guide explores how to respond to immigrant women who have experienced domestic violence and touches on how immigration status can be used against survivors in domestic violence cases.
This toolkit from the Women’s Refugee Commission provides critical information on how to protect parental rights when detained or deported and make well-informed decisions regarding the care of children.
This publication, developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, gives an overview of the prevalence of intimate partner violence among immigrants and refugees, with recommendations for nonprofits, police departments and the courts on how best to address the issue.