E.g., 07/15/2020
E.g., 07/15/2020

Meghan Benton

Experts & Staff

Meghan Benton

Director of Research, MPI International Program and MPI Europe

@meghan_benton

Meghan Benton is Director of Research for the International Program at MPI as well as for MPI Europe. Her areas of expertise are immigrant integration (especially labor market integration and integration at the local level) and the role of technological and social innovation in immigration and integration policy. She also has an interest in labor migration and mobility; she has written extensively on Brexit and free movement, as well as on how labor market disruption affects immigration and integration. She convenes MPI Europe’s Integration Futures Working Group, which seeks to develop a forward-looking agenda for integration policy in Europe.

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.

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.

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.
Commentaries
May 2020
By Meghan Benton
Commentaries
March 2020
By Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Meghan Benton, and Susan Fratzke
Commentaries
January 2020
By Meghan Benton
Commentaries
January 2019
By Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad
Commentaries
March 2017
By Elizabeth Collett and Meghan Benton

Recent Activity

Audio, Webinars
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. They discuss the challenges and opportunities for governments as they seek to work with new actors such as tech companies. And they also consider the broader digital infrastructure needs of refugee camps and services—including the crucial issue of Internet and mobile connectivity for refugees.

Commentaries
March 2017

As the process of removing the United Kingdom from the European Union gets underway, the rights of the 1.2 million UK citizens or “Brexpats” who have chosen to live in one of the 27 other EU countries have been largely overshadowed. This MPI Europe commentary explores some of the many complexities ahead in negotiating rights for these individuals in a post-Brexit world.

Reports
March 2017

This Transatlantic Council Statement explores the integration questions that the recent refugee and migration crisis in Europe has brought to the fore and their effect on broader governance structures for managing migration. As the immediate pressures have abated, policymakers have refocused their energies on preventing the next crisis and ensuring that newcomers—and the communities in which they settle—have the tools to thrive.

Reports
March 2017

This MPI Europe report examines the challenges that cities across the European Union are facing when helping new arrivals access education and training, including limited funding and need for better monitoring of program outcomes. It also highlights innovative ways municipalities support newly arrived migrants as they enter the education system and local labor force, including two-generation and co-located services as well as "whole-place" approaches.

Articles

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.

Reports
November 2016

With the seemingly endless flows of asylum seekers and migrants abated, at least for the present, Europe is now faced with the long-term and complex challenges of integration of these newcomers. This report examines the political, social, and economic contexts and immigration histories of European countries and how the current integration challenges are complicated by existing challenges of fragmentation and social unrest. Still, the authors find some cause for optimism.

Reports
October 2016

Tech communities in Europe and North America have been spurred into action by the refugee crisis, developing apps and other tools that can be used along the journey, immediately upon arrival, and for longer-term integration into the host society. This report maps several types of emerging tools and considers how policymakers responsible for refugee integration might play a more active role in supporting the most promising.

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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