While media and academic discussions of "climate refugees" paint a picture of mass displacement of millions, in reality many communities vulnerable to climate change may choose to stay as a result of strong cultural, historical, and spiritual attachments to place. This article explores this "voluntary immobility" and its implications in the Pacific Islands.
Over the past decade, migration has emerged as one of the most pressing issues facing governments around the world. Nearing the end of his tenure as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing sat down with MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland to reflect on his ten years leading IOM, as well as the international community's role on migration going forward.
European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.
Nearly 6 million Afghans fled after violence erupted in the late 1970s, primarily to Iran and Pakistan. While millions returned after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, the security situation has since deteriorated and the government struggles to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the internally displaced. This country profile explores Afghanistan’s complex migration and displacement history as well as ongoing challenges.
Nearly 4 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes by violence or food insecurity since late 2013, roughly half seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Drought and conflict have converged in the young country to fuel one of the world's most severe humanitarian emergencies. This article examines refugee flows from South Sudan, underlying drivers, and regional and international responses to the crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Western Balkans route during the peak of the migration crisis. While Balkan countries initially facilitated movements northward, pressure from the European Union led to cascading border controls, which left thousands stranded in the region. This article examines the role of Balkan countries during the thick of the crisis and subsequent regional impacts.
The Cuban Revolution unleashed a massive exodus from the island. Cuba is now among the top origin countries of immigrants in the United States—where for decades they have received preferential treatment—with smaller numbers across Europe and Latin America. This article explores the evolution of Cuban migration, particularly within the context of the Cold War and shifting U.S. policies toward the country.
Amid a sense of declining welcome in the United States, growing numbers of asylum seekers have crossed into Canada in recent months, entering illegally to take advantage of a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. The result? Refugee advocates and politicians in Canada are issuing growing calls to change or suspend the treaty. This article examines the treaty's history, effects, and current challenges.
Two significant migration shifts at the U.S.-Mexico border have been obscured by talk of walls and further border security: Mexicans no longer represent the top unauthorized crossers, replaced by Central Americans seeking protection, and flows are diversifying with increased arrivals of Cubans, Haitians, Asians, and Africans. This article sketches the evolving trends, which have key implications for U.S. and regional migration policy.
Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.
As Europe begins to move beyond the overwhelming flows of asylum seekers and other migrants it experienced starting in 2015, policymakers are paying significant focus to integration coupled with stepped-up enforcement. 2016 saw a wave of policy innovations facilitating integration as well as returns and deterrence, but it remains to be seen whether Europe will be able to continue and scale up this work in 2017 and beyond, as this Top 10 article explores.
The United Kingdom's stunning decision to leave the European Union in June 2016, intertwined with rising concerns over migration, marked a significant setback to key objectives of the European project, including the right to free movement. Amid growing euroskepticism across the continent, it remains to be seen if the European Union will be able to reassert leadership to address migration and other issues in 2017 and beyond.
With global displacement at a post-World War II high, the international community made some advances on refugee protection in 2016, but there were also steps backward. The United Nations held the first-ever refugee summit and some countries, including the United States and Canada, increased their resettlement commitments. Meanwhile, conflict intensified in some hotspots and publics turned against refugees, as this Top 10 article explores.
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.
In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.
Two years on, the Australia-Cambodia refugee relocation agreement—the first of its kind involving a traditional resettlement country relocating refugees to a country with no resettlement track record—has proven to be underwhelming in its outcomes. Only five refugees have been voluntarily relocated under the deal, of whom just one remains in Cambodia. This article explores where the deal went wrong and what lies ahead for Australia’s detained asylum seekers.
In contrast to increasingly restrictive approaches to migration in the global North—and recent skepticism towards Europe's free mobility project—South America is taking steps in the other direction, toward free movement for regional migrants. This article examines the emerging South American model and discusses its implications for migration in the region and for free movement in general.
News of the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America has raised alarm bells, resulting in scattered calls for tighter restrictions on international entries to the United States. Evidence shows, however, that closing borders and restrictions on international travel tend to have little impact on the spread of infectious diseases. This feature article explores the linkages between public health and migration in the Americas.
Movements of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean have shown to be highly fluid, adapting quickly to changing conditions at origin, transit, and destination. This article examines the shifts in flows across the three major Mediterranean routes since 2008 and the complex web of often interconnected factors underpinning these movements.
While Poland held a generally positive opinion of immigration throughout the early 2000s, public attitudes toward refugees have shifted decidedly rightward since the onset of Europe's migration and refugee crisis. This article explores the complex, intersecting anxieties at play in Poland and the role of political rhetoric in stoking these sentiments