Migration Policy Institute - Refugee & Asylum Policy
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To reflect on the outcomes of the stocktaking meeting in December 2017 on the progress made towards conceptualizing the Global Compact for Migration, MPI hosted a conversation with Eva Åkerman Börje, from the office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration, and Ilse Hahn, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
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.
With 1 million people forcibly returned to Afghanistan in 2016 alone, the nature of return policies and reintegration assistance from European governments and others merits significant attention. This report examines the implications that returns present for those who are returned, Afghan society, and the migration-management and development objectives of the countries that are initiating the returns.
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.
Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar explores some of the responses made by school districts to bring immigrant and refugee newcomer students up to speed in English and basic academic skills, all while focused on the educational system’s ultimate goal of high school completion with the skills necessary for today’s college and career demands. The discussion focuses on how schools create and expand systems around the identification of students’ immediate and ongoing academic and socioemotional needs, and how they design programs and curricular pathways to balance these needs with state policy constraints.
This conference, bringing together public officials, service designers, social entrepreneurs, and civil society representatives, will examine how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change.
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 refugee and migration crisis in Europe thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of European Union (EU) and national government agendas, but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome design and implementation challenges. This webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy. The discussion also highlights two MPI Europe publications, Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe and Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe.
In a year when immigration has been prominent in the headlines, the 14th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference provides timely policy and legal analysis, with expert discussion covering the shifting immigration policy priorities under a new administration, including changes in immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee resettlement, the treatment of unaccompanied minors and their families, Temporary Protected Status, and DACA, along with the responses from the judicial and congressional branches, various stakeholders, and state and local governments.
The Trump administration’s decision to set the refugee ceiling at 45,000 for fiscal 2018 marks the lowest level since the refugee resettlement program was created in 1980. At a time of record humanitarian pressures, with more than 22.5 million refugees worldwide, the United States appears to be abandoning its leadership role and other traditional resettlement countries are shouldering a bigger load, as this commentary explores.
Following the release of the mid-term review of the European Agenda on Migration, this webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways interact with other humanitarian policies, and fit into a larger protection strategy.
No enterprise in the United States could survive if it only counted the costs of doing business and ignored the benefits side of the ledger. But that is exactly how some Trump administration officials are evaluating the refugee resettlement program, rejecting a well-researched Department of Health and Human Services report that finds refugees brought in $63 billion more revenue to governments than they cost over a ten-year period, as this commentary notes.
Across Europe, grassroots efforts have emerged in the wake of crisis that draw members of the public into the process of receiving refugees and supporting their integration. This policy brief examines the many forms community-based or private sponsorship can take, what benefits such approaches may hold for European communities, and the tradeoffs policymakers face in their implementation.
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.
As European policymakers and publics continue to grapple with the migration crisis, this conversation offers an opportunity to reflect on the role and responsibility of experts in these politically sensitive debates.
Durante este seminario, ponentes presentaron hallazgos de un reciente informe que utiliza datos de agencias gubernamentales mexicanas, entrevistas con funcionarios clave y relatos de la sociedad civil para examinar el marco legal para la protección de menores no acompañados y su aplicación, al igual que las brechas entre este marco y su aplicación durante los procesos de detención, interrogación y alojamiento. El presidente de MPI, Andrew Selee, también expuso cómo el cambio en la dinámica política en Estados Unidos puede afectar las cuestiones migratorias con México, así como los efectos en la relación bilateral en medio de tensiones sobre el muro fronterizo, la renegociación del acuerdo del TLCAN y una cifra significativa de repatriaciones de migrantes mexicanos.