Migration Policy Institute
Exploring Innovative Ideas to Strengthen the Global Protection System
Philipp Ackermann, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees
Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, MPI, and President, MPI Europe
It has become an accepted fact that the global refugee protection system is failing not only those it was designed to protect but also the communities providing protection. Countries in the immediate neighborhood of a conflict face the disproportionately high costs of hosting vulnerable populations, while industrialized destination countries struggle to disentangle large mixed flows of unauthorized arrivals (whether refugees or “economic migrants”). Both situations are undermining public confidence in immigration governance writ large. Moreover, refugees who gain access to the asylum systems of Europe and North America often find lengthy processing times and, increasingly, insufficient provisions for their reception and integration—all too frequently after enduring highly dangerous journeys to reach their destinations. As the costs of displacement mount, "protection fatigue" sets in, and the capacity and will of publics to accept new protection responsibilities shrinks.
This discussion will explore the tensions facing asylum systems in Europe and North America, and ask what tools governments have at their disposal to respond proactively to forced displacement and reduce its costs for refugees and host communities alike. Where and when should governments focus their protection investments to have the most impact? What actors and stakeholders need to be engaged, both within a government and internationally? What lessons can be drawn from responses to past asylum flows? The event will highlight the conclusions of the Transatlantic Council on Migration's recent meeting, Beyond Asylum: Rethinking Protection Policies to Meet Sharply Escalating Needs.