Central American migrants have long hopped freight trains known as "La Bestia," or the beast, to get through Mexico en route to the United States. While Mexico has been accused of turning a blind eye to this traffic, U.S. outcry over the surge of unaccompanied child migrants has drawn new attention to the use of the trains. This article highlights the journey aboard the trains, the dangers faced by migrants, and responses by the Mexican government and others.
Turkey’s migration identity has shifted from being principally a country of emigration and transit to becoming a destination for immigrants and people fleeing conflict. In response, Turkish policymakers recently enacted a comprehensive migration and asylum law that took effect in April 2014. This article examines the new law, which is intended as a significant step toward managing both legal and irregular migration to Turkey, including humanitarian migration.
From a massive typhoon in the Philippines last November to the ongoing civil war in Syria, recent global events demonstrate that natural disasters and political strife occur suddenly and often without warning. This article examines the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that grants humanitarian relief to nationals of certain countries embroiled in violent conflict or recovering from natural disaster.
The humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Central African Republic (CAR) has received scant world attention, even as more than 20 percent of the population of 4.25 million has been displaced as a result of deadly sectarian violence. This article examines the causes of the violence, the international community response, and the impacts of large-scale displacement within the country and beyond its borders.
Approximately one-third of the population of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a series of islands and atolls in the Pacific, has relocated to the United States, with Hawaii, Guam, and Arkansas key destinations. Lack of economic and employment opportunities are among the leading factors that have prompted this migration. Access to education and health care, which are critically important for a population that has reduced life expectancy and significant negative health indicators, also represent key factors.
As Qatar races to build its infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup, international civil-society actors increasingly are highlighting the harsh conditions under which temporary labor migrants often work in Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This article examines the emerging roles, challenges, and opportunities that civil-society groups face in the region; it also analyzes the prevailing legal and political structures where civil society operates in the Gulf.
Internal migration spurred primarily by employment and marriage helps shape the economic, social, and political life of India’s sending and receiving regions. Labor migrants face myriad challenges, including restricted access to basic needs such as identity documentation and social entitlements. This article describes the barriers to integration that labor migrants face, and details the policy environment surrounding their integration challenges.
This article explores the underlying causes of the May 2013 riots across several Stockholm suburbs that have high proportions of foreign-born residents, and asks whether rapid increases in the size of Sweden's immigrant population or the government's integration efforts played a central role.
United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff talks to MPI about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and the role of UNHCR in assisting countries that have taken in large numbers of Syrian refugees. One looming concern: how will UNHCR and other actors change their refugee crisis-response models and mechanisms to adapt to this and future emergencies?
The recent special session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, labeled the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD), was the UN's second-ever discussion devoted solely to international migration. This article examines the implications and outcomes of the HLD, identifies some of the issues that garnered widespread support, and assesses whether the international community is inching toward greater multilateral engagement on migration.
Land is the basis of nearly all economic activities from farming to financial speculation on cotton production — in and along the periphery of an internationally protected park that spans parts of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Recognized as the "W" Transboundary Biosphere Reserve in 2002, this vast territory and surrounding areas are experiencing a land-management crisis in which seasonal and long-term migration has played a major role. This article examines these challenges through the use of reflexive maps, which capture data relating not only to migrants' paths and motivations, but also the social values and knowledge that they carry with them.
The United Arab Emirates has the fifth-largest international migrant stock in the world, with 7.8 million migrants out of a total population of 9.2 million. Heavily reliant on foreign labor to sustain economic growth, the UAE government in 1971 introduced a temporary guest worker program. This article examines the economic, social, and political challenges and implications of the program for the government, Emirati nationals, and migrant workers in the UAE.
Having entered a country before or during a global economic crisis that remains acute in many areas, millions of young immigrants around the world face long-lasting setbacks in launching their careers and reaching their potential. Discrimination in the job market remains a major obstacle in many parts of Europe and the United States, affecting both immigrant youth and young people with an immigrant background. This article examines common challenges and factors influencing the development of local labor-market integration initiatives targeting immigrant youth, based on four city case studies conducted in the United States and the European Union.
Although many observers point out that China's dealings in Africa are driven by natural resources, since the mid-2000s Beijing has also shown interest in Senegal, which does not sit on major deposits of oil, gold, diamonds, or timber. This West African nation — a strategic ally for China, a reliable partner in the area of development cooperation, and above all, a promising market for selling made-in-China goods — has a rapidly growing Chinese migrant community. This article explores the growing presence of Chinese traders in Dakar's Centenaire neighborhood, investigating their backgrounds and motives for migrating. It also discusses how the decision to migrate affects their families, hometowns, and the local community in Dakar.
The region encompassing Central and Eastern Europe as well as the former Soviet Union is the source of a sizeable share of international migrants today, yet many of these countries' development efforts do not benefit from strong diaspora ties. With the addition of several new countries in this region since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s, the notions of nationality and belonging—central to any diaspora engagement in home-country development—have become particularly complex and delicate. This article provides an overview of migration and demographic changes in this region from the 1990s forward, and also examines government approaches and attitudes toward diasporas and development.
The expansion of access to credit through microfinance—now a multibillion-dollar sector—has resulted in profound shifts across the developing world. This article, using Cambodia as its example, discusses the ways in which households are using microcredit in coordination with migration, and addresses critical questions about who benefits from these linkages—and what vulnerabilities they might create for migrants.
The Tuareg, a nomadic group of Berber origin located in several countries across North and West Africa, have been enmeshed in a complicated struggle against the Malian state since January 2012. This article explores the unique role that migration plays in shaping Tuareg grievances in the context of this crisis.
The immigration debate in the United States often focuses on how many foreign born enter and reside in the country. Much less attention is paid to Americans who live abroad—a population estimated at anywhere from 2 million to 7 million. This article examines the challenges of enumerating this population and also explores top destinations for American expats, their livelihoods, and motivations for leaving the United States.
Muslim integration is one of the most contentious issues in the immigration debate in Europe, and one that gets to the heart of public anxieties about immigration. This article explores public perception toward Muslims in Western Europe and the array of integration policies that countries in the region have adopted during the past several years.
This article provides a comparative analysis of health outcomes of Mexican immigrant women in the United States, assessing the results against what is known as the immigrant paradox—the idea that these women enjoy a better state of health overall than might be expected, given their socioeconomic status and very limited health insurance coverage.
El Salvador's lengthy civil war crushed diasporas' opportunities for political or civic engagement in this small, densely-populated Central American nation. However, hometown associations—diaspora organizations that contribute to the development needs of their members' hometowns—represent a modern-day venue for civil society participation. This article explores how diasporas are contributing to development in more ways than just cash flows and projects by transforming the governance landscape.
Burma, a resources-rich yet impoverished nation also known as Myanmar, rejoined the international community in 2011 after a military junta loosened its grip. Before the Southeast Asian nation opened its borders, Burmese migrated primarily for low-paid, clandestine work in Thailand but also as a result of violence and natural disasters. This article explores how the country’s recent transition has impacted Burmese migration flows.
Several international initiatives were launched in the 1990s and 2000s in response to the steady development of migration policy and governance in the international arena. One such initiative, the Global Migration Group, an inter-agency group, has received scant attention from scholars. This article provides a critical analysis of its genesis, functioning, and future.
This Q&A explores the dire medical emergency and refugee health concerns resulting from the ongoing Syrian crisis. Source Editor Amber French conducts a Q&A with Dr. Fadi Al Khankan of the Syrian Expatriates Organization and MPI's Kathleen Newland, both panelists at the January 14, 2013 MPI event unveiling the International Rescue Committee's report, Syria: A Regional Crisis.
Many countries, and in particular the United States, have begun granting asylum claims filed on the basis of sexual orientation in the past few decades. Despite the efforts by U.S. and other governments to reinforce protection for LGBT refugees, this community remains a marginalized group.