The methodology page describes our approach to the research process. The research is a primarily qualitative design relying on interviews and comparative analysis of different immigrant welcoming models. Our data collection centered around three main points: literature review, interviews with community stakeholders, interviews with city officials and research of cities outside of Hartford with municipal programs serving immigrants. The different cities we researched have immigrant welcoming models which can be compared to Hartford, enabling us to identify what other cities with similar demographics are doing to welcome immigrants.

Research Questions

  • What have immigrant organizations in other mid-sized cities done to acclimate immigrants to the city (successful and unsuccessful)? How is it funded/structured? How did they establish a sense of community for them?
  • What do immigrants in the Hartford area need to succeed?
  • What impact does inefficient immigration processes have on immigrant communities in mid-sized cities (of 100,000-200,000)?

Our Approach to Data Collection

  1.  Literature Review

    When compiling sources for our Literature Review we collected peer-reviewed journal articles, research reports from prominent think tanks, and relevant statistical data. After compiling the list of the sources we identified the common themes, best practices, definitions, and theoretical frameworks observed in other research. When identifying sources for our literature review we chose articles that have been peer-reviewed and statistical information from respected sources to ensure that the conclusions and framework guiding our research was well founded and supported. Some limitations of this process was the timeframe in which we had to collect our sources, with more time there could have been even more support for our conclusions.

  2.  Interviewing Hartford Community Stakeholders

We identified prominent organizations that work with the immigrant community in Hartford. After identifying these organizations we invited them to a panel discussion and conducted individual interviews, using the interview protocols we had developed and submitted in our IRB in the fall. After the interview and the panel discussion, we used the transcripts from those conversations to code the main issues and themes brought up. After the coding process, we were able to identify problems that community stakeholders were facing.  A limitation of this data collection method is that our thinking evolved as we conducted and analyzed the data from our interviews, and we did not have time to follow up about possible models or approaches to city involvement in Hartford.

The following immigrant-serving community organizations were interviewed for this project:

      1. Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association (ANHA)
      2. Center for Latino Progress
      3. Commission on Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA)
      4. Greater Hartford Legal Aid
      5. Hartford Deportation Defense
      6. Hartford Public Library (HPL)
      7. Hartford Public Schools (HPS)
      8. Hispanic Health Council
      9. Husky 4 Immigrants
      10. Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)
      11. Make the Road CT
      12. Strengthening, Assisting, Welcoming, and Advocating for Refugees (SAWA)
      13. Swahili Community Center

    Note: Two representatives from ANHA, HPL, and Swahili Community Center were individually interviewed. Some stakeholders were representatives of multiple organizations.

Map of Organizations Interviewed

    1. Note: Only organizations with a physical center are represented in the map above.

3. Interviewing City Officials Outside of Hartford and City Comparisons

For this part of the process we identified like cities due to the following criteria:

  • State-level Democratic partisanship
  • Population 80-300k (Hartford is about 122,000)
  • %FB 10-40% (Hartford is about 21% foreign-born)
  • %NH White 10-40% (Hartford is about 17%)
  • %NH Black 15-55%  (Hartford is about 35%)
  • % Hisp 20-60% (Hartford is about 43%)
  • % Unemp 10-30%
  • Median HH Income 25-50k (Hartford is $29,430)
  • Median House Value 100-250k (Hartford is about $168,700)
  • Northeast region
  • Minor continuous gateway by Audrey Singer’s designation ( Brookings Gateway Breakdown )

The minor continuous gateway is a designation given by Singer who assesses how different urban areas across the nation are receiving immigrants. The designations take into account historical context, size,  and amount of immigration, among other factors to sort cities and metro areas into these designations.

We then summarized the main findings and themes from the city official interviews and used them as anecdotal support when crafting our policy recommendations. We chose these cities and interview summaries to see comparable models in cities that are similar to Hartford and that have achievable models. A limitation of this model is the feedback from city officials, though we were able to reach most, there were some like city representatives we were not able to speak with.

Despite this limitation, researching all the like cities we identified allowed us to compare and analyze different welcoming models. These cities served as different models of welcoming approaches in urban areas which have similar characteristics to Hartford, providing us more insights into what model would be most applicable and feasible to implement in Hartford.

Our Analysis of the Data

We used a coding scheme consisting of twenty-two codes to analyze the interviews with community stakeholders and the panel discussion. When reviewing interviews with our city officials, we compiled summaries of the main recommendations, advantages, and barriers the city official was experiencing in their office. In the research process, we also compiled a literature review which was used when finalizing our recommendations, highlighting the scholarly research that backed up our data collected through interviews.

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