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Meghan Benton
Experts & Staff
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Meghan Benton

Director, International Program

202-266-1925

@meghan_benton

Meghan Benton is Director of the International Program at MPI, where her work spans a wide range of areas including labor mobility, immigrant integration, border management, and humanitarian protection. She has a particular interest in the role of technological and social innovation in immigration and integration policy, and in how labor market disruption affects immigration and integration. In 2016, she co-founded MPI Europe’s Integration Futures Working Group, which seeks to develop a forward-looking agenda for integration policy in Europe. Most recently, she has been working on how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped global mobility. She convenes MPI’s Task Force on Borders and Mobility During and After COVID-19.

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Dr. Benton previously was a Senior Researcher at Nesta, the United Kingdom’s innovation body, where she led projects on digital government and the future of local public services. Prior to joining Nesta, she was a Policy Analyst at MPI from 2012-15, where she co-led an MPI-International Labor Organization six-country project on pathways to skilled work for newly arrived immigrants in Europe. She also worked on Project UPSTREAM, a four-country project on mainstreaming immigrant integration in the European Union. Previously, she worked for the Constitution Unit at University College London and the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Dr. Benton received her PhD in political science from University College London in 2010, where her PhD research focused on citizenship and the rights of noncitizens. She also holds a master’s degree in legal and political theory (with distinction) from University College London, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and literature from Warwick University.

Bio Page Tabs

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Reports
January 2019
By  Meghan Benton and Alexandra Embiricos
Integration Futures Final Report
Reports
January 2019
By  Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad
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Reports
November 2018
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper and Meghan Benton
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Reports
October 2018
By  Meghan Benton and Liam Patuzzi
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Reports
October 2018
By  Meghan Benton, Antonio Silva and Will Somerville
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Reports
April 2018
By  Meghan Benton, Aliyyah Ahad, Michaela Benson, Katherine Collins, Helen McCarthy and Karen O’Reilly
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Reports
February 2018
By  Aliyyah Ahad and Meghan Benton

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Digital litter

Several years after a flurry of tech innovations arose to respond to the 2015-16 European migration crisis and assist asylum seekers, "digital litter"—now-dormant websites, broken links, and poor-quality information spread through apps and social media—is floating around. At best, digital litter is a nuisance. At worst, it can place refugees and migrants in harm's way and undermine their decision-making, as this article explores.

Three men pose with guns

Even with the collapse of the Islamic State's "caliphate," thousands of Western foreign fighters are estimated to remain in the Middle East. Deciding how to handle the return of the radicalized—and their dependents—is no easy issue. Some countries seek to revoke their citizenship. Yet citizenship revocation has unclear impact and raises deep questions about the limits of a state’s responsibility to its citizens, as this article explores.

British and EU flags

As Brexit negotiations move forward, the issue of the future rights for EU nationals resident in the United Kingdom and UK nationals living on the continent has emerged as a sticking point. Though negotiators in early December 2017 agreed to a skeletal deal on citizens' rights, countless details remain to be worked out, leaving the future of some 4 million people unresolved—with implications for them, their families, employers, and others.

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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.

The ruins of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul’s Old Town

Increasing numbers of Westerners heading to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist organizations like ISIS have governments concerned about possible attacks at home by returning fighters. Several thousand fighters from Europe and other Western countries are believed among the foreign nationals involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers scrambled in 2014 to respond with new policies, including seizing passports, stripping citizenship, and criminalizing travel to "no go" zones.

International migration flows are becoming increasingly diverse—not just in origins, but also in the composition of labor migration flows and the destinations to which migrants are heading. This article leads off the Migration Information Source's annual Top 10 Migration Issues of the Year.

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.

A woman in a winter coat receives food from a woman in an orange safety vest at a train station in P
Commentaries
May 2022
By  Meghan Benton and Andrew Selee
Two adults and two children wearing face masks at a migration health centre in Nigeria
Commentaries
May 2022
By  Meghan Benton and Lawrence Huang
Covid Mobility Commentary Flickr JensOlafWalter
Commentaries
May 2020
By  Meghan Benton
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Commentaries
March 2020
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton and Susan Fratzke
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Commentaries
January 2020
By  Meghan Benton
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Commentaries
January 2019
By  Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad
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Commentaries
March 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett and Meghan Benton
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Expert Q&A, Audio
December 9, 2020

With news that viable COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, what might 2021 hold in store for the global movement of people, whether for tourism, business travel, or more enduring forms of migration?

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Video, Audio
November 18, 2020

This MPI Europe webinar reflects on the implications of this current moment for European economies and societies and the role of immigration and immigrant integration policy, and highlight research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on the fiscal and demographic impacts of migration.

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Video, Audio
November 9, 2020

MPI and OECD experts discuss the impact of the coronavirus on migration and mobility systems, findings from OECD’s International Migration Outlook 2020, opportunities for innovation, what labor demands may emerge, and the role of migration in North America and Europe at this challenging point in history.

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Video, Audio
October 22, 2020

This webinar explores how governments’ implementation plans for the Brexit withdrawal agreement have been affected by COVID-19, and the potential implications for citizens’ rights at the end of the transition period and beyond.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
October 2021

The U.S. decision to lift border restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers represents the latest move by governments around the world to loosen COVID-19-era travel restrictions. Yet it underscores a major policy shift that has gone almost unnoticed: with vaccination moving from being a fast track to travel to becoming a required ticket. This raises significant equity and technical considerations, as this commentary explores.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 11, 2021

Meghan Benton speaks with Dr. Kelley Lee, head of the Pandemics and Borders initiative at Simon Fraser University in Canada, about what the future holds after COVID-19, and whether decisionmakers truly learn to adapt or instead pull out the playbook from the last crisis.

Reports
July 2021

More than 18 months since the first COVID-19-related travel restrictions were introduced, the pandemic’s effects on global mobility are still unfolding. With vaccination campaigns picking up speed in some places while only beginning in others, and new variants of the virus emerging, the timeline for restarting international migration and travel remains uncertain. This report explores how different policy choices could result in very different mobility realities.

Reports
April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically curtailed cross-border mobility in 2020, affecting travelers and migrants around the world. This report presents a first-of-its-kind analysis of the many thousands of travel restrictions and border closures imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus. It examines how these policies evolved, varied across countries and regions, and what these trends may mean for the future of international movement.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 17, 2020

Pre-COVID-19, we lived in a hyper-global world. There were 1.5 billion international tourism trips annually, nearly 40 million flights, and 272 million international migrants. This raises a provocative question: Does international mobility contribute to the spread of pandemics? In this episode, we speak with Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn of the Center for Global Development. Drawing on their research of global pandemics dating as far back as 1889, they make the case that limits on cross-border mobility delay the arrival of pathogens by a matter of days at best.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 9, 2020

With news that viable COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, what might 2021 hold in store for the global movement of people, whether for tourism, business travel, or more enduring forms of migration? Alan Gamlen, associate professor of human geography at Monash University in Australia, tackles some of the big questions in this episode, including whether cities will be reshaped by immobility and if countries will need less labor migration. He paints a picture of a world with lower levels of mobility for the next few years, punctuated by periodic spikes.

Video, Audio, Webinars
November 18, 2020

This MPI Europe webinar reflects on the implications of this current moment for European economies and societies and the role of immigration and immigrant integration policy, and highlight research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on the fiscal and demographic impacts of migration.

Video, Audio, Webinars
November 9, 2020

MPI and OECD experts discuss the impact of the coronavirus on migration and mobility systems, findings from OECD’s International Migration Outlook 2020, opportunities for innovation, what labor demands may emerge, and the role of migration in North America and Europe at this challenging point in history.

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