Project Category: Integration

In a classic immigration debate, one side argues that citizenship should be a reward for integration, available only after many years of residency; the other says it makes immigrants more likely to integrate and should happen soon after they arrive. Three decades of data from Switzerland, IPL researchers found, strongly support the second camp. The earlier one receives citizenship, the greater the benefits for both the immigrant and society—especially for the most marginalized groups.
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When California moved to make driver’s licenses available to unauthorized residents, critics raised an outcry: the law, they said, would flood the roads with inexperienced, uninsured drivers and lead to more accidents. Two years and more than 800,000 licenses later, those fears are largely unfounded, IPL researchers found. Our study also revealed a 10 percent decrease in the rate of hit-and-run accidents in the law’s first year, which adds up to savings of $3.5 million in out-of-pocket expenses for California drivers.
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Gaining citizenship can bring profound, lifelong benefits, but this door to opportunity remains closed to many low-income immigrants. What forms of assistance and encouragement lift the barriers to naturalization? To find out, we’ve partnered with local government in developing an innovative program offering vouchers and other incentives to citizenship-eligible residents of New York, home to the nation’s second-largest immigrant population.
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