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Research Roundup: Principles for Immigration Policy, Ballot Integrity, the Federal Poverty Measure, and More

Principles for an Immigration Policy to Strengthen and Expand the American Middle Class: 2009 Edition - This Drum Major Institute report reveals not only that the American middle class relies on the economic contributions of undocumented immigrants, but also that the exploitation of undocumented immigrants threatens to drive down wages, benefits, and labor standards for all low-income and middle-income workers.  The report emphasizes that any immigration policy must 1) bolster the economic contributions of immigrants as workers, entrepreneurs, taxpayers and consumers; 2) strengthen immigrants’ workplace rights.

Trendlines: Ballot Integrity: A Broken System in Need of Solutions - This brief survey and analysis of ballot initiative activity around the country by the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center addresses the ballot initiative abuse, fraud, and deception that continues to plague our direct democracy system.  The report outlines solutions that states can implement to provide people with a ballot measure process that works for voters instead of against them.

It’s Time for a Better Poverty Measure - This Center for American Progress memo details how the federal poverty measure, which is used in numerous ways to set policy for low-income families, is deeply flawed. The dollar figures used to determine if families are in poverty are low and in many ways arbitrary.  It needs to be updated and improved.  The memo highlights alternative approaches that policymakers should begin to use in official measures.

More Guidance, Better Results? Three-Year Effects of an Enhanced Student Services Program at Two Community Colleges - A new report from MDRC finds that low-income students who were provided with more support services and modest stipends improved their academic achievement-- emphasizing that access to affordable and accessible education has limited results without counseling services and other support.