While scholars have long sought to understand how immigrants adapt to their new homes and to a new way of living, immigration policy has become increasingly consequential in recent years in shaping how immigrants and their children experience life in the United States and abroad.

The Immigration Initiative at Harvard (IIH) advances interdisciplinary scholarship, original research, and intellectual exchange on issues related to the nature, effects, and implications of immigration on children, youth, families, and communities, with a special focus on the intersection of immigration with education. The IIH serves as a place of convening for scholars, students, policymakers, community leaders, and practitioners, and we are a clearinghouse for the translation of rigorous research into promising, evidence-based practices. 

Much of the work of IIH focuses on the children of immigrants - the fastest growing child and youth population in our country. Currently, the children of immigrants account for 27% of children and 33% of all young adults. 

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In keeping with these emphases, our major lines of inquiry currently consist of:

  • Research that focuses on the impacts of immigration enforcement on the everyday lives of immigrant children and their families
  • Research that explores policies affecting the educational experiences and trajectories of immigrant students
  • Scholarship addressing the intersection of immigration policy, place and educational supports
  • Research that seeks to understand the relationships between immigration policy, health care and children’s development

In carrying out and disseminating research relevant to policy and practice, the goals of IIH are:

  • To understand the complex ways in which immigration policy affects the everyday lives and future trajectories of immigrants and their children
  • To create an action-based research agenda
  • To inform multiple stakeholders (scholars, policy leaders, educators, and community practitioners)
  • To train the next generation of immigration experts
  • To utilize an interdisciplinary approach in HII’s work

We will actualize the goals of IIH through the following activities:

  • Research briefs that distill current and new research into short, accessible pieces aimed to identify policy and practice relevance
  • Dissemination plan to bring IIH sponsored research to the widest possible audience of policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels
  • A yearly cohort of advanced-level Harvard doctoral students across disciplines and schools who are studying immigration issues related to the mission of IIH
  • Ongoing seminar series featuring highly regarded and influential  immigration experts
  • Interdisciplinary research and training opportunities for undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and postdoctoral scholars across the University
  • An interdisciplinary course on immigration and public policy for graduate students and advanced undergraduates
students walking Harvard campus


The Immigration Initiative at Harvard Issue Briefs series offers cutting-edge research that brings background and recommendations to policy makers, practitioners, journalists, and researchers.

Learn more about our research


Immigration Fellows Program

The Harvard Immigration Project Fellows Program offers advanced level doctoral students at Harvard University the opportunity to receive additional training and support for one academic year.

Learn more about the Program



IIH works with other campus groups and organizations working on issues related to immigration to create a vibrant space on campus for intellectual exchange, community support, and action.

Learn more about our partners