E.g., 01/21/2021
E.g., 01/21/2021

Refugees & Resettlement

Refugees & Resettlement

The world has millions of refugees who are unable to go home or unwilling to do so in the face of persecution. Resettlement to a third country is considered for only a fraction of refugees, those whose conditions are so perilous or whose needs cannot be met in the country where they first sought protection. Only a small number of states take part in UNHCR resettlement programs—among them the United States, Australia, Canada, the Nordic countries, and increasingly some countries in Europe and Latin America. The research here examines refugee protection and resettlement policies.

Recent Activity

Commentaries
September 2017
By  Kathleen Newland and Randy Capps
Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe
Reports
September 2017
By  Susan Fratzke and Brian Salant
One of Cuba's many old cars on a street in Havana.
Articles
A Burundian refugee family outside their home in Boise, Idaho.
Articles

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Systemic corruption has flourished in South Africa's asylum system due to large backlogs and rising demand. Though apartheid's end ushered in a progressive refugee law, inefficiency, administrative justice violations, and corruption have narrowed the humanitarian protection channel. Asylum seekers and refugees often face the stark choice of paying bribes to access services or risking deportation.

The United States is the largest refugee resettlement country in the world, with 69,933 newly arrived refugees granted protection in 2015. This article delves into the most recent refugee and asylum data in the United States, including top countries of origin, states of settlement, age, gender, and more for humanitarian arrivals.

Japan is one of the world's most generous contributors to humanitarian appeals, yet accepts a very small number of asylum seekers—indeed only 11 were granted refugee status in 2014. Even as Japan has witnessed a record number of asylum applications, the approval rate has declined. This feature explores Japan's low acceptance of asylum seekers, including institutional barriers and negative public perceptions.

As Europe struggles to reach a consensus on how to respond to the refugee crisis, the seemingly unending flow of migrants and refugees arriving on its shores is bringing national asylum systems to their breaking point. This article analyzes the context of the crisis, discussing the root causes of the flows, why they are spiking now, and growing protection challenges.

Public frustration with decades of poor governance and pervasive corruption in Ukraine culminated in the EuroMaidan revolution in November 2013. Since then, violent conflict and Russia's annexation of Crimea have displaced an estimated 2 million people, both internally and internationally. This feature article explores migration ambitions among Ukrainians in the lead-up and aftermath of EuroMaidan, and the impact of war and economic crisis on traditional migration patterns.

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Video, Audio
June 9, 2010
Breakfast briefing with T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Kathleen Newland.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
September 2017

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.

Commentaries
September 2017

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.

Policy Briefs
September 2017

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.

Reports
September 2017

Following the 2015­–16 crisis that saw record numbers of refugees arrive in Europe, policymakers have shown interest in creating managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many asylum seekers make. While these discussions should be informed by an understanding of current pathways and protection channels, it is "nearly impossible" to know how protection seekers enter and what legal channels are available to them, as this MPI Europe report explains.

Articles

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.

Commentaries
June 2017

Legal analysis of the Supreme Court’s opinion allowing aspects of a controversial Trump administration executive order to take effect has largely focused on the travel ban on certain nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries.  Less noticed was the justices' views with regards to the temporary suspension of the refugee resettlement program. This commentary explores the ruling's possible consequences on refugees.

Reports
June 2017

As the number of asylum seekers arriving in Sweden each month climbed to the tens of thousands in late 2015, the Swedish asylum system reached a breaking point. Arrivals have since slowed, but the challenge is far from over. This report examines Swedish policymakers’ efforts to manage future flows and support integration of newcomers through changes to housing, employment, education, and health services.

Articles

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.

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