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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
_ImmigrantStudents3CROP
Video, Audio
February 8, 2018

Amid the arrival of hundreds of thousands of children during the migration crisis in Europe, school systems are increasingly being called upon to find innovative ways to address growing diversity and support children with migrant backgrounds.

Social Innovation on Refugee Inclusion
Audio
November 16, 2017

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many nontraditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—pioneered solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers.

Brexit Medal (Mick Baker) rooster flickr  34650733120_5265bf2627_z
Video, Audio
November 7, 2017

As the European Council gears up to move onto the next phase of Brexit negotiations, this MPI Europe webinar features findings from an MPI Europe report that offers a demographic profile of the approximately 1 million UK citizens living in the European Union and examines the ways in which many are likely to see their futures significantly reshaped after Brexit. The discussion takes stock of citizens' rights, reflects on what may happen next, and considers the prospects for Britons abroad both in a situation of ‘no deal’ and if there is an ultimate agreement.

flickr   UNHCR   Exodus from the Bay of Bengal
Audio
May 11, 2017

This MPI webinar explores the recent “tech turn” in refugee protection and integration, and considers whether the tech community's interventions in this area are likely to have a lasting impact. Speakers discuss the most promising innovations and their broader implications for policymakers.

BoatMigrants ARodriguez UNHCR
Audio
September 16, 2016

This discussion focuses on how governments and actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities for newcomers.

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Recent Activity

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.

Articles

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.

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.

Reports
January 2019

To address the intersecting challenges facing European societies—from population aging and labor-market change, to immigration and political upheaval—governments need to hone new strategies for helping both newcomers and long-term residents succeed amid diversity. This report explores some of the most promising approaches, drawing on input from policymakers, the private sector, civil society, and others.

Commentaries
January 2019

Following the dramatic defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the UK Parliament this week, all bets are off when it comes to whether the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union on March 29 without a Brexit deal. A no-deal scenario would have seismic ramifications for the legal residence, work rights, benefits and pensions, and health care for nearly 1 million UK nationals living on the continent.

Reports
January 2019

Across Europe, policymakers responsible for immigrant integration are dealing with a rapidly evolving set of challenges—from the diversification of new arrivals and changing European labor markets to rising anti-immigrant sentiment and tight budgets. This report explores promising strategies from other policy areas that could be used to develop, fund, evaluate, and make the case for investing in integration.

Reports
November 2018

In many recent European and U.S. elections, candidates touting nativist populist and anti-immigrant platforms have enjoyed rising support. As populism moves from the fringes into the mainstream, this report takes stock of the economic and social forces driving its rise, the diverse ways populists are influencing immigration policymaking, and what it will take to build a new center around immigration and integration issues.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. The webinar marked the release of the report, Applying Behavioral Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion

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