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Meghan Benton
Experts & Staff
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Meghan Benton

Director of Research, MPI International Program and MPI Europe

202-266-1925

@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.

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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

MPI Source Digital Litter with Text V2 01 cropped

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.

BritishForeignFighters

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.

BrexitBirds WelshPhotographs Flickr

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.

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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.

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
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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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.

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Recent Activity

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

Reports
October 2018

Governments are increasingly drawing on research into human behavior when developing policies that aim to encourage people to make better decisions, be it accessing preventative health care or paying taxes. This report explores how a similar approach of "nudges" could be applied to immigrant integration policy to encourage social mixing, narrow socioeconomic gaps, and more.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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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