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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

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.

RefugeeHackathon Hackerstolz Flickr

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
CoronavirusCommentary Art
Commentaries
March 2020
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton and Susan Fratzke
BrexitDay January2020
Commentaries
January 2020
By  Meghan Benton
Brexitcommentary2019
Commentaries
January 2019
By  Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad
_BrexitFamily
Commentaries
March 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett and Meghan Benton
FLICKR Eric FischerPassportControl
Audio
December 5, 2019

Amid debates about the costs and benefits of free movement, this webinar examines evidence from the REMINDER project on different types of East-West mobility. Speakers examine big-picture trends of East-West migration; consider possible policy responses at regional, national, and EU levels to alleviate challenges; and reflect on actions that could be taken under a new European Commission.

2019.5.17EVENTPHOTO
Video, Audio
May 17, 2019

With the U.S. administration calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, this conversation focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change.

Imagen en Acción flickr 5
Audio
January 25, 2019

This meeting highlighted lessons from MPI Europe’s flagship Integration Futures initiative, which seeks to develop creative and strategic approaches to addressing today’s most difficult and pressing integration challenges—and to better plan for those around the corner.

flickr Media Diversified Experts Directory Launch
Video, Audio
October 16, 2018

Can people be 'nudged' into support for immigrant integration? On this webinar, speakers explored what untapped potential behavioral insights may hold for integration policy and how policymakers can start fitting this approach, which has been used in areas from tax compliance to organ donation, into their work.

IntgFutures Refugees
Video, Audio
October 3, 2018

This Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines possible scenarios for how social, economic, and technological trends could affect jobs, labor market policy, education and social policies, and migrant integration. Speakers also explored the potential of coding schools for refugees to help alleviate skills shortages and provide a pathway to work.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. 

Commentaries
January 2020

Brexit Day, on January 31, 2020, marks a dramatic turn for the United Kingdom as it leaves the European Union, in significant measure because it wants to control its immigration destiny. But it remains unclear whether Brexit will allow the United Kingdom to cast a net wider for the global workers it seeks or will deepen the moat around the island. Either way, Brexit is likely to spark new forms of mobility—and immobility.

Reports
January 2020

Addressing the deep-rooted integration challenges unearthed by large-scale migration and rapid social change will require a combination of strategies. Governments in Europe and North America must create a new social contract for increasingly diverse societies that are confronting cycles of disruption. This report sketches a blueprint for an adaptive process oriented by skill needs rather than national origins.

Audio, Webinars
December 5, 2019

Amid debates about the costs and benefits of free movement, this webinar examines evidence from the REMINDER project on different types of East-West mobility. Speakers examine big-picture trends of East-West migration; consider possible policy responses at regional, national, and EU levels to alleviate challenges; and reflect on actions that could be taken under a new European Commission.

Policy Briefs
September 2019

Six months on from the original March 2019 Brexit date and staring a new deadline in the face, many EU countries still had only skeletal plans for how to adjust the status of their resident UK nationals should a no-deal Brexit come to pass. This policy brief highlights critical gaps in these plans, the groups most likely to be affected by them, and strategies Member States and the United Kingdom could adopt to soften the impact.

Reports
July 2019

As technological developments—from automation to artificial intelligence and machine learning—reshape the world of work, governments face the challenge of updating how they attract, select, and retain economic-stream immigrants. This report, concluding a series on building migration systems for a new age of economic competitiveness, lays out the key considerations for "future-proofing" immigrant selection systems.

Articles

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.

Reports
June 2019

In the three years since the European migration and refugee crisis vividly captured public attention, a wave of innovative initiatives has emerged to help newcomers settle into receiving societies. Now, as the sense of crisis abates, this report explores what these initiatives will need to do to outlast the hype and produce lasting change on key integration issues such as housing, economic inclusion, and community building.

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