Immigration has driven economic and social development in Australia for more than two centuries. Even as more than one-fourth of the country’s population is foreign born and Australia ranks third among top refugee resettlement countries worldwide, controversy surrounding its hardline treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat has cast a shadow on its reputation as a welcoming country, as this article explores.
The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.
The mental health of asylum seekers has emerged as an important issue following the 2015-16 European migration and refugee crisis. Many asylum seekers suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and similar conditions—with implications not only for their well-being but also potentially for the outcomes of their claims and the integrity of the asylum system as a whole, as this article explores.
In 2016, nearly 1.2 million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region lived in the United States. MENA immigration has picked up in recent decades, owing to war and worsening economic prospects. This article offers the latest data on the MENA population in the United States, which is more likely to come via humanitarian routes and less likely via family reunification than the foreign-born population overall.
During its first year, the Trump administration methodically put in place a series of bureaucratic barriers that could significantly reduce opportunities for foreigners to come to the United States legally. Among the actions taken during 2017: Imposition of a much-challenged travel ban suspending the entry of nationals from certain Muslim-majority countries, cuts to refugee admissions, and increased scrutiny for visa applicants.
More than 630,000 Rohingya refugees had crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar during the last quarter of 2017, fleeing targeted violence by the Burmese military. This displacement, resulting from what the United Nations called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," marked the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis. Its speed and scale have challenged governments and aid organizations to effectively respond.
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.
Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.
The global refugee resettlement landscape changed dramatically in 2017, as the United States began to step back from its role as global leader on resettlement. The Trump administration reduced the 2018 refugee admissions ceiling to the lowest level since the program began in 1980. While other countries increased their commitments or launched new programs, this was not enough to make up for the gap left by the United States.
Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.
Migration surged throughout South America in 2017, challenging governments to keep up with inflows. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru worked to process record numbers of Venezuelan asylum applications, and launched special visa programs for some new arrivals. While the government responses have been largely welcoming, the illegal immigration of Haitians provoked more restrictive policy reactions in Chile and Argentina.
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.
Owing to their uniquely preferential treatment under U.S. immigration law, Cubans for decades have been among the largest immigrant groups in the United States. In 2016, nearly 1.3 million Cubans lived in the United States. This Spotlight provides a data snapshot of this immigrant group, which is highly concentrated in Florida, significantly older than the overall U.S. population, and less likely to be proficient in English.
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.
The changing nature of conflict has brought an uptick in gender-based violence in war-torn countries, with instances of rape particularly common in conflict zones. While many women leave their countries to escape such violence, setting off on the journey is no guarantee of safety, as they are vulnerable to further gender-based abuse in transit and at destination. This article explores the rates of gender violence among refugee, asylee, and migrant women, and examines supports available to survivors in the United States.
Long a country of emigration—13 million Italians went abroad between 1880 and 1915—Italy has also experienced significant inflows of Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African workers in recent decades. Italy has also been on the frontlines of Europe's refugee crisis. This country profile examines Italy's shifting migration patterns, policy responses over time, and debates.
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.
Turkey has been on the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis from the beginning. The vast majority of Turkey's nearly 3.2 million Syrian asylum seekers live in cities, putting pressure on the limited resources and legal authority of local governments to serve them. This article examines Istanbul's creative approaches to meeting the needs of this vulnerable population while balancing the concerns of local citizens.
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.
The United States has historically led the world on refugee resettlement, and today remains the top country, having resettled approximately 85,000 refugees in fiscal 2016. It also granted asylum status to more than 26,000 individuals in FY 2015. This article examines characteristics of U.S. refugee and asylee populations, including top countries of origin, states of resettlement, age and gender, and more.