Two significant migration shifts at the U.S.-Mexico border have been obscured by talk of walls and further border security: Mexicans no longer represent the top unauthorized crossers, replaced by Central Americans seeking protection, and flows are diversifying with increased arrivals of Cubans, Haitians, Asians, and Africans. This article sketches the evolving trends, which have key implications for U.S. and regional migration policy.
Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.
As Europe begins to move beyond the overwhelming flows of asylum seekers and other migrants it experienced starting in 2015, policymakers are paying significant focus to integration coupled with stepped-up enforcement. 2016 saw a wave of policy innovations facilitating integration as well as returns and deterrence, but it remains to be seen whether Europe will be able to continue and scale up this work in 2017 and beyond, as this Top 10 article explores.
The United Kingdom's stunning decision to leave the European Union in June 2016, intertwined with rising concerns over migration, marked a significant setback to key objectives of the European project, including the right to free movement. Amid growing euroskepticism across the continent, it remains to be seen if the European Union will be able to reassert leadership to address migration and other issues in 2017 and beyond.
With global displacement at a post-World War II high, the international community made some advances on refugee protection in 2016, but there were also steps backward. The United Nations held the first-ever refugee summit and some countries, including the United States and Canada, increased their resettlement commitments. Meanwhile, conflict intensified in some hotspots and publics turned against refugees, as this Top 10 article explores.
2016 saw the emergence of a "whole-of-society" approach to the refugee crisis, with a number of new actors, including many from the private sector, engaging with humanitarian protection issues in creative ways. This engagement and the energy and diversity of these partners, in the tech sector and beyond, creates both opportunities and challenges for governments and more traditional civil-society organizations.
In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.
Two years on, the Australia-Cambodia refugee relocation agreement—the first of its kind involving a traditional resettlement country relocating refugees to a country with no resettlement track record—has proven to be underwhelming in its outcomes. Only five refugees have been voluntarily relocated under the deal, of whom just one remains in Cambodia. This article explores where the deal went wrong and what lies ahead for Australia’s detained asylum seekers.
In contrast to increasingly restrictive approaches to migration in the global North—and recent skepticism towards Europe's free mobility project—South America is taking steps in the other direction, toward free movement for regional migrants. This article examines the emerging South American model and discusses its implications for migration in the region and for free movement in general.
News of the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America has raised alarm bells, resulting in scattered calls for tighter restrictions on international entries to the United States. Evidence shows, however, that closing borders and restrictions on international travel tend to have little impact on the spread of infectious diseases. This feature article explores the linkages between public health and migration in the Americas.
Movements of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean have shown to be highly fluid, adapting quickly to changing conditions at origin, transit, and destination. This article examines the shifts in flows across the three major Mediterranean routes since 2008 and the complex web of often interconnected factors underpinning these movements.
While Poland held a generally positive opinion of immigration throughout the early 2000s, public attitudes toward refugees have shifted decidedly rightward since the onset of Europe's migration and refugee crisis. This article explores the complex, intersecting anxieties at play in Poland and the role of political rhetoric in stoking these sentiments
Kenyan migration to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been on the rise over the last few decades, spurred by rising unemployment and instability in Kenya combined with the GCC region's economic growth and proximity. While both sending and origin countries benefit economically from this new migration, it presents significant challenges for these governments, particularly in the area of labor rights, as this feature article explores.
Against a backdrop of anxieties about migration, the United Kingdom's government set a referendum for June 2016 on whether to withdraw from the European Union. This article explores the role played by migration in the decision to call the referendum, how immigration might influence the result, and finally the implications of both referendum outcomes (Leave and Remain) in terms of migration policy and regulation.
At least 10 million people worldwide are stateless, including 1 million in West Africa, though experts believe the true number may be much higher. West Africa's colonial heritage and nationality laws have increased the risk of statelessness, particularly for vulnerable social groups including migrants and their descendants, refugees, and children. Governments across the region have recently initiated action plans to eradicate statelessness, as this feature explores.
In August 2015, India and Bangladesh officially exchanged 162 enclaves, marking the end of a 300-year old anomaly that saw the fragmented territory of one sovereign power located inside another sovereign territory. Enclave residents have lived in virtual statelessness since partition in 1947, without identity documents or access to essential services. As part of the deal, India and Bangladesh allowed residents to choose their country of citizenship.
Afghanistan, once the world's largest origin of refugees, is increasingly experiencing mixed migration, including seasonal and permanent outflows for both economic and humanitarian reasons, internal displacement, and refugee returns. This feature article examines the current trends with a focus on return migration and the development impacts at the intersection of displacement and urbanization.
Lesvos became a major focal point in Europe's migration crisis as more than half a million migrants and asylum seekers transited the Greek island in 2015. Describing the work of ad hoc volunteer-led efforts and professional aid organizations, this article delves into the evolution of the aid response across the island and the challenges of integrating humanitarian operations.
Signed more than 30 years ago, the Cartagena Declaration sought to address rising flows of refugees and establish regional solidarity in refugee protection in Latin America. This article explores the evolution of refugee and asylum policies in Latin America amid the long-running Colombian civil war, as well as the region's response to the current global refugee crisis.
Europe's defining challenge in 2015 was the exponential growth in the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving on its shores. The European Union and its Member States were slow to respond, and reactive when they did. As trust among Member States and between national and EU-level authorities began to erode, the European Union has found its ability to implement a comprehensive response severely handicapped.