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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has long been examining the importance of immigration in our city, region, and nation. The following reports have been published in recent years.
Growing the Heartland

Immigration is a demographic lifeline for metropolitan areas throughout the 12-state Midwest region, according to a report, “Growing the Heartland: How Immigrants Offset Population Decline and an Aging Workforce in Midwest Metropolitan Areas.” Over the past 50 years, the Midwest population has been growing more slowly than the national average. The arrival of nearly one million more immigrants to the region over the past decade has helped to reverse this trend.

Business Leaders on Immigration: The View from the Midwest

A report released by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows bipartisan support among Midwestern business leaders to pass immigration reform. The report comes days after President Obama urged Congress to move on reforms in his State of the Union address and the House GOP unveiled their immigration principles. Seventy-five percent of republican, 63 percent of democrat and 55 percent of independent Midwest business leaders surveyed favor the Senate bill on comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship combined with stricter border control. While majorities across political lines support the outlines of the Senate bill, there is less support for legislation that would tackle individual issues incrementally. Generous support for this survey was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust.

US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform

An independent task force of 53 leaders released a report, “US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform”, which analyzes the role of immigration in ensuring the Midwest’s future competitiveness and prosperity and identifies necessary policy directions or interventions.  It argues immigrants are essential to the region’s and the nation’s future prosperity and key to economic revitalization.

Foreign Policy in the New Millenium

The 2012 Chicago Council Survey reveals that over the last decade Americans have grown less concerned about large numbers of immigrants—legal or illegal—coming to live and work in the United States. According to the report from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a growing number of Americans support keeping legal immigration at its current level or increasing it. Fewer now than ever recorded in Chicago Council Survey history (53%) say that “controlling and reducing illegal immigration” is a very important foreign policy goal for the United States. The recently released 2012 Chicago Council Survey results show that concern about many threats has lessened, including terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. However, immigration has seen the greatest decline of all threats currently asked about

Moving Forward: The Immigration Debate and Chicago’s Experience

The report is a volume of seven essays by The Chicago Council’s 2009 Class of Emerging Leaders. It identifies the leading dimensions that make the immigration debate so challenging to resolve and provides a framework for understanding this critical policy issue. The report explored the economic, security, and moral arguments for and against immigration, how immigration has impacted the city of Chicago, and the growing tension between local, state, and federal decision makers over who is responsible for immigration policy and enforcement.

Mexican Immigration in the Midwest: Meaning and Implications

On April 28, 2009, The Chicago Council released a report, “Mexican Immigration in the Midwest: Meanings and Implications,” the first issue in its Heartland Paper series. The report, authored by Rob Paral of Rob Paral & Associates, explains that the Midwest region’s future economic growth may greatly depend on immigration reform. Mexican immigrants contribute significantly to population growth in many Midwestern locations currently suffering population loss and are an important source for an increasing number of job openings for unskilled workers. The report describes major demographic and socioeconomic features of Mexican immigration across the eight-state Midwest region and reveals a wide range of information on Midwestern Mexican immigrants that has never before been published.

Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans

The Chicago Council convened the task force of thirty-two distinguished Muslim and non-Muslim leaders in February 2006 to examine the Muslim American experience and provide a roadmap for accelerating Muslim American engagement. The group found that Muslim Americans are a well-educated, diverse group and concluded that their talents and contributions are needed to help address critical domestic and foreign policy challenges related to homeland security and U.S. relations with Muslim countries and peoples. The Task Force report calls for Muslims and non-Muslims to work together to create full and equal opportunities for Muslim Americans to participate in American civic and political life.

A Shared Future: The Economic Engagement of Greater Chicago and its Mexican Community

The Chicago Council convened the task force of forty-five prominent Chicago business and civic leaders in October 2005 to examine critical issues related to the integration of the Mexican community into Chicago’s economic, social, and political life. The report concludes that the Chicago’s future economic growth and status as a first-tier global city will greatly depend on how well it integrates its growing Mexican community. To do this, the task force advocates for a comprehensive set of policies that promote the economic development, educational advancement, political and civic participation, and health of the Mexican community in the Chicago region. 

Keeping the Promise: Immigration Proposals from the Heartland

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs convened the independent task force of twenty-nine leaders from the Midwest and beyond in September 2003 to examine the opportunities and challenges posed by immigration in the U.S. and develop a set of recommendations for national policy reform. In addition to regular meetings in Chicago, task force cochairs visited Washington D.C., Ottawa, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico, to hear views from government officials and policy experts. The report concludes that immigrants play a vital role in health and prosperity of the country, and that comprehensive reform of current U.S. immigration laws and policies are urgently needed to ensure the growth, success, and safety of U.S. society in the future.