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To assess the feasibility of a large-scale survey of immigrants, the authors conducted a pilot study, the Los Angeles Community Survey of Salvadorans and Filipinos, in 1991. The results are encouraging: The survey was able to obtain useful information from eleven-year-old census data to target high-concentration sample areas; it successfully recruited and trained bilingual staff; it enlisted respondents' cooperation at acceptable rates; and it elicited responses to sensitive questions, including immigration status, that are critical for developing and assessing policy. The authors conclude that costs for a similar survey conducted in selected sites across the country, though substantial, would be low compared with the potential costs that immigration may impose, or even with the costs of programs intended to address immigration issues. Appendixes contain the survey materials.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Policy Context and Data Needs for Assessing the Effects of Immigration

  • Chapter Three

    Pilot Survey Development, Procedures, and Staffing

  • Chapter Four

    Lessons Learned from the Pilot Survey

  • Chapter Five

    Can the Data Collected Inform Policy?

  • Chapter Six

    Benefits and Feasibility of a National Immigrant Survey: Lessons from the LACS

  • Appendix

The project was funded by the Ford Foundation and by the Center for Research on Immigration Policy.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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