Migration Policy Institute - Refugee & Asylum Policy
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Normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States will have a significant impact on U.S. immigration policy and future Cuban migration to the United States. This Policy Beat explores the U.S.-Cuba migration relationship, as fear of changes to the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy has spurred hundreds of new boat arrivals in recent months.
The number of people around the world forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution reached its highest total since World War II, with more than 51.2 million fleeing their country or displaced within it, the UN refugee agency reported in 2014. An estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq alone, constituting what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees dubbed a mega-crisis.
In 2014 governments in Europe, North America, and Australia reacted to significant mixed flows of humanitarian, economic, and family-stream migrants with a range of new policies. These came as some migrants presented themselves to authorities for processing rather than trying to evade U.S. or European border controls, with the knowledge that backlogs and little political will for the removal of vulnerable populations might allow them to stay for extended periods.
New migration patterns at the U.S. Southwest border, including a shift in border crossers from primarily Mexican men to Central American families, and from the California and Arizona borders to the Rio Grande Valley, have important implications for U.S. border policy and enforcement strategies, raising questions of what consequences might deter unauthorized Central Americans while still meeting international obligations to protect vulnerable migrants.
Driven by rising migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, the Bay of Bengal, the Red Sea, and elsewhere, as well as by the challenges to border-control policies implicit in maritime migration, representatives of states, civil society, and international organizations gathered in December 2014 under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to discuss ways to limit the loss of life and foster international cooperation. This commentary explores the issues and challenges surrounding irregular maritime migration.
This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.
Recent surges in the arrival of unauthorized migrants with possible humanitarian claims have prompted the United States and the European Union to consider in-country and offshore processing for some refugee and asylum applications. As this article explores, some of the questions raised about the feasibility of such programs include their consistency with humanitarian law and their effectiveness in reducing unwanted entries.
Drawing on a case study of two Hmong refugee populations from Laos that were resettled in a major Texas city and a German village, this article explores the different approaches to immigrant integration found in the United States and Germany as well as the outcomes for the Hmong and their sense of belonging in their new communities.
A discussion on possible medium- and long-term solutions to the flows of unaccompanied children migrating from Central America to the United States.
Sweden’s strong economic record continues to be marred by its struggles to integrate immigrants, especially those who come through humanitarian or family channels. This report describes how Sweden is trying to overcome these labor market integration challenges and analyzes how successful its workforce development and integration policies have been in helping immigrants progress from low-skilled work to middle-skilled jobs.
This annual conference offered timely policy and legal analysis and discussion on key immigration topics featuring panels with government officials, researchers, advocates, and other immigration experts
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.
In the coming weeks, the President-Elect of the European Commission and leaders of the European Union will discuss the new institutional map of the European Union, including new portfolios for the incoming college of Commissioners. Despite the fact that immigration is a critical challenge for the European Union, it has become harder for EU institutions to forge a strong policy. Perhaps as a result of this disconnect, one of the key ideas on the table is to create a Commissioner for Migration.
The European Council's new strategic guidelines, which set the pathway for future policy development in the area of Justice and Home Affairs in the coming years, seem unfeasibly insulated from today's migration and asylum realities and challenges confronting the European Union. The draft represents a missed opportunity to lead EU heads of state forward on critical issues in this area, MPI Europe's Director writes in this commentary.
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 flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States has surged 90 percent since last year, with government officials predicting that it might reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September—and perhaps 130,000 next year. This telebriefing discusses factors behind the flows as well as short- and longer-term policy options for improving how the U.S. immigration system interacts with this population with distinct needs.
This telebriefing by Doris Meissner and Marc Rosenblum of MPI examines factors behind the flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States, which has surged 90 percent since last year. The talk also previews a policy brief on unaccompanied minors that MPI will release in July.
This MPI Europe telebriefing, releasing the brief "Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum," examines Europe's current reality with respect to migration and asylum and assesses the possibilities for future development of EU immigration policy.
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.
With the European Council meeting in late June 2014 to adopt strategic guidelines on asylum and migration policy, amid strains resulting from Syrian refugee migration and other flows, this MPI Europe policy brief identifies challenges and proposes a forward course. The brief recommends increased engagement by Member States in practical cooperation as a way to strengthen implementation and consolidation of existing EU laws and achieve more consistent asylum decision-making.