With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Now that a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and the president have made specific proposals to reform immigration law, you’ll see months of controversy. As is frequent in politics, the most controversial policy step will be among the least important.
In 2008, when I returned from trips abroad at Boston’s Logan International Airport, I was greeted by pictures of the president and the regional director for Homeland Security, Lorraine Henderson, who had the responsibility for the enforcement of immigration law in the northeastern US. In December of 2008, Lorraine Henderson was arrested. Her crime? She employed Fabiana Bitencourt to clean her house. The rub: Fabiana was a Brazilian national who didn’t have authorization to work in the United States. When Fabiana suggested she might return to Brazil for a visit, Lorraine advised that since enforcement was based only on border interdiction, Fabiana ran risks crossing the border but almost no risk in staying put. Lorraine Henderson was charged with “encouraging” and “inducing” an alien to remain in the country illegally.
Republicans in the US House of Representatives have proposed a step toward immigration reform. The bill would change who can receive an annual block of 55,000 US permanent resident visas. Currently those visas go to people from countries with relatively low rates of immigration to the US via a lottery system. The new bill would close that program and reallocate the visas toward people earning doctorates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Not surprisingly, development issues played no role in the recent US presidential election. Perhaps surprisingly, immigration reform is now a major second term agenda. CGD has been promoting migration as not just a domestic but also a development issue for some time, with my Let Their People Come, the Place Premium, new empirical research that shows the massive gains to unskilled labor mobility, the inclusion of mig
locked in a toxic and inaccurate paradigm, described through an increasingly outmoded core “charity” story that is unrepresentative of the reality of global development and that restricts their appeal to the public.
Some myths leave us to wonder who dreamed them up. Other myths we can observe as they are born. Last week a UK minister created an economic myth about immigration to his country, and it’s useful to watch how and why it arose.
How does a great think tank idea become a law? Filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini set out to document this process. The result: a twelve-part series, How Democracy Works Now, that puts U.S. immigration policy in the limelight but tells a broader story of how people shape U.S. policy and social change.