Social media companies are keenly focused on ridding their platforms of hateful speech and harassment. But content moderation can only capture a small fraction of it, and automatic filters can risk censoring ordinary users. Another approach is to counter these messages with opposing points. IPL researchers tested various kinds of counterspeech on Twitter, and they found that messages invoking empathy worked better than any other—they led authors of hate speech to discontinue their posts and even delete old ones.
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Plenty of media coverage and policymaking in the West has focused on African migration to Europe, fueling a widespread perception that Europe is the destination of choice for Africans seeking economic opportunity. But the reality differs widely from this narrative, according to an IPL analysis of data collected at transit hubs across West and Central Africa. Only a small share of migrants surveyed want to reach Europe, and their motivations are complex.
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Health clinics that serve unauthorized immigrants often see their patients avoid seeking care when immigration enforcement is active nearby. IPL researchers looked for this trend in the San Francisco Bay Area and found no sign that immigrants there reduce their use of health services at times when they might have greater reason to fear deportation. It could be that the city's inclusive health system and welcoming climate act as a buffer against these otherwise threatening events.
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With greater recognition that prenatal care is essential for newborns’ health, more states have expanded coverage to include unauthorized immigrant women. While motivated by concern for future U.S. citizen children, these programs have long-term, life-changing benefits for mothers as well.
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Should unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children be granted permission to live and work in the country? In the heated debate over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it is often overlooked that these young adults are also raising children who are U.S. citizens. IPL examined the intergenerational health effects of DACA to find out how these children's lives change when their parents no longer fear being deported.
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When California moved to make driver’s licenses available to unauthorized residents, critics raised an outcry: the law, they said, would flood the roads with inexperienced, uninsured drivers and lead to more accidents. Two years and more than 800,000 licenses later, those fears are largely unfounded, IPL researchers found. Our study also revealed a 10 percent decrease in the rate of hit-and-run accidents in the law’s first year, which adds up to savings of $3.5 million in out-of-pocket expenses for California drivers.
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As Americans become increasingly anxious about the future of the U.S. health care system, efforts to open services to immigrants have faced fresh opposition. To steer the debate from ideology to evidence, the Lab studied Oregon’s expansion of prenatal care to unauthorized immigrant women. With greater knowledge of the effects on public health, state finances, and individual lives, policymakers around the country can find a way past the political stalemate and design successful reforms.
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