E.g., 08/12/2020
E.g., 08/12/2020

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

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. This webinar offers lessons for integration and education policymakers to ensure the whole education workforce is equipped to support diverse learners and better realize the broader role schools play as integration actors.

Reports
February 2018

Rising numbers of young immigrants and refugees entering European schools following the 2015–16 migration crisis strained system capacity and injected new urgency into debates about how to support diverse learners and their families. This report examines the challenges facing European education systems and identifies key lessons to improve migrant inclusion in schools and integration more broadly.

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. This conference reflects on how innovations for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change.

Articles

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.

Video, Audio, Webinars
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.

Reports
November 2017

Amid ongoing Brexit negotiations, much remains uncertain for the roughly 1 million UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union. This report offers a demographic profile of these Brexpats, considering what form an EU-UK deal on citizens’ rights might take and identifying key challenges many Britons are likely to face—including difficulty securing legal status and accessing labor markets, social security, and health-care systems.

Commentaries
June 2017

Initial reaction to the British government's offer regarding the post-Brexit treatment of EU nationals resident in the United Kingdom was sharply divergent, ranging from constructive to catastrophic. Examining the deal at a slightly longer remove, the proposal in many ways represents a thoughtful piece of immigration policy—albeit with some glaring holes and vague elements, as this commentary explores.

Reports
June 2017

Amid high levels of immigration, the roles of religion, culture, and identity in liberal democratic societies in Europe have come under the microscope. Few have found it easy to identify a core set of shared values and to communicate them evenhandedly to newcomers. Amid clashes over burqas and belonging, this report explores the tradeoffs policymakers face in defining, instilling, and managing disagreement over values.

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