How rules and regulation can  shape opportunity.

kids on merry-go-round
guilherme jofili / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

More than one in five children in the U.S. lives in poverty. That's nearly 16 million kids.

And nearly twice as many experience poverty at some point during childhood.

Research shows poverty is the greatest threat to a child's well-being, and childhood poverty can have lifelong consequences.

Voting sign
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This presidential campaign cycle has been nothing short of...interesting. And here we are, just 28 days from election day.

But on November 8, nearly 6 million Americans won't be allowed to cast a ballot. The reason why? Felony disenfranchisement laws.

jail cells
miss_millions / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Holding people in jail because they are too poor to make bail is unconstitutional, the U.S. Department of Justice declared in a court filing last week.

The filing came in support of the case of Maurice Walker of Calhoun, Georgia, who was kept in jail six nights because he could not pay the fixed bail amount of $160.

President Bill Clinton
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Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton signed a welfare reform bill he said would "end welfare as we know it."

The goal of the bill was to get poor families off welfare and into the workforce.

Families caught in middle of "broken" immigration system

Aug 10, 2016
woman in blue shirt
Courtesy of Susan Reed

Politicians proclaim it. People argue about it. We hear it often:  "Our immigration system is broken."

But what exactly does that mean?

That’s a tough question to answer.

The U.S. immigration system is a complex and often confusing web of policies. Those policies touch everyone from the migrant farm worker to international Ph.D students. For years now, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for an overhaul of our immigration system.

collage of three photos
Flickr CC


Throughout your day, you’re likely meeting undocumented workers everywhere you go: the server at a restaurant.The stylist at the salon.The yard worker cutting your lawn.


“You can’t really go a single day without encountering one of them,” said Teresa Hendricks, the director and senior litigator for Migrant Legal Aid in Grand Rapids. “Although you wouldn’t know it because they’re living under the radar.”


headshot of Tel Ganesan
Courtesy of Tel Ganesan

Much of the national debate about immigration reform focuses on unskilled foreign-born workers.

But there’s another side: the highly-skilled foreign-born worker who has the knowledge and skills that businesses so badly need.

Tel Ganesan is the CEO and president of Kyyba, Incorporated. It’s an engineering services and software product company based in Farmington Hills.

Two undocumented students discuss their diverging fates

Aug 10, 2016

Two young immigrants in Michigan caught in the middle of an immigration stalemate are Daniel Lopez and Sendy Lopez.

The two friends are not related. Daniel came to the United States from Guatemala when he was seven. Thanks to the 2012 executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Daniel is now among some 700,000 young people who are protected from being deported.

Flazingo Photos / flickr cc / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you follow State of Opportunity regularly, you make have noticed us talk before about "ban the box" policies.

The "box" is the question that asks about a job applicant's criminal history. These policies are designed to prohibit employers from inquiring about this until later in the hiring process, so that people with records aren't automatically shut out of the job market.

Affordable housing under construction
Mark Hogan / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For every 100 extremely low-income households in the U.S., there are only 29 adequate, affordable, and available rental units, according to The Urban Institute.

So you would think with such high demand the solution would be simple. Just build more low-income housing, right?

Well, it turns out building affordable housing is not so affordable.