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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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General Inquiries
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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

In Search of Common Values amid Large-Scale Immigrant Integration Pressures
Reports
June 2017
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Meghan Benton
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Reports
March 2017
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
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Reports
November 2016
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Meghan Benton
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Reports
October 2016
By  Meghan Benton and Alex Glennie
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Reports
June 2015
By  Meghan Benton, Helen McCarthy and Elizabeth Collett
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Reports
November 2014
By  Meghan Benton, Madeleine Sumption, Kristine Alsvik, Susan Fratzke, Christiane Kuptsch and Demetrios G. Papademetriou

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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
MovingBeyondPandemicMattHerbert
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 21, 2020

As COVID-19 chilled global mobility, harmed economies, and sparked border closures and travel bans around the world, the pandemic has had an effect on the shadow migration world.

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Expert Q&A, Audio
October 6, 2020

Austria’s Vienna airport was an early adopter for in-airport COVID-19 tests, with results turned around within a few hours, sparing those with medical certificates from a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Can this serve as a model for restarting business travel and tourism? We talk to Vienna airport official Peter Kleemann to learn more.

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Expert Q&A, Audio
September 30, 2020

Australia has worked to develop a “biosecure” border, using hard travel lockdowns, internal borders, and quarantine to stem spread of the COVID-19 virus. Is it working? In this episode of our Moving Beyond Pandemic podcast, host Meghan Benton talks to Brendan Dowling of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

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Audio
April 8, 2020

MPI and MPI Europe experts discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on asylum systems in Europe and North America, as well as in developing regions, where 85 percent of refugees live. During this freeform conversation, our analysts also assess the implications for the principle of asylum and the future for a post-World War II humanitarian protection system that is under threat.

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Video, Audio
February 25, 2020

As the European Union prepares to review the implementation of its Seasonal Workers Directive, as well as countries such as the United Kingdom continue to explore new approaches to selecting seasonal workers, this webinar features findings from a policy brief on the topic. 

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Recent Activity

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 28, 2020
 

As the world reopens after the pandemic, how does global governance need to be improved to restart human mobility safely and securely? Meghan Benton speaks to Elizabeth Collett, Special Advisor to the International Organization for Migration’s Director General to get a global overview of what is happening with migration and mobility and discusses the challenges and opportunities the pandemic poses for global governance.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. Among the topics covered: which mobile populations are most at risk at the intersection between Brexit and the pandemic, and what contingency measures might mitigate these vulnerabilities and keep timelines on track.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 21, 2020

As COVID-19 chilled global mobility, harmed economies, and sparked border closures and travel bans around the world, the pandemic has had an effect on the shadow migration world. In this episode of our Moving Beyond Pandemic podcast, we speak with Matt Herbert, an expert in irregular migration and human smuggling, about how the public-health crisis has scrambled the decision-making calculus for would-be migrants, pushing many into more dangerous routes. We also examine the business models of human smugglers.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 6, 2020

Austria’s Vienna airport was an early adopter for in-airport COVID-19 tests, with results turned around within a few hours, sparing those with medical certificates from a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Can this serve as a model for restarting business travel and tourism? We talk to Vienna airport official Peter Kleemann to learn more.

Expert Q&A, Audio
September 30, 2020

Australia has worked to develop a “biosecure” border, using hard travel lockdowns, internal borders, and quarantine to stem spread of the COVID-19 virus. Is it working? In this episode of our Moving Beyond Pandemic podcast, host Meghan Benton talks to Brendan Dowling of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

Commentaries
May 2020

COVID-19 has chilled many forms of human movement, from travel to temporary and permanent migration, refugee resettlement, and returns, among them. While a safe restart of travel is a precondition for a return to economic and societal normalcy, restarting mobility will not be like flicking a switch, particularly amid disagreements over the costs societies can and should absorb in the name of protecting public health, as this commentary explains.

Audio, Webinars
April 8, 2020

MPI and MPI Europe experts discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on asylum systems in Europe and North America, as well as in developing regions, where 85 percent of refugees live. During this freeform conversation, our analysts also assess the implications for the principle of asylum and the future for a post-World War II humanitarian protection system that is under threat.
 

Commentaries
March 2020

Travel bans, border closures, and other migration management tools did not prove effective at blocking COVID-19 from spreading across international borders. Yet as governments have shifted from containment to mitigation with the coronavirus now in community transmission in many countries, these restrictions are a logical part of the policy toolkit in the context of social distancing and restricting all forms of human movement, as this commentary explores.

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