E.g., 11/29/2020
E.g., 11/29/2020

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

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The Brussels terrorist attacks have renewed national debate in the United States over whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists to enter the country. Meanwhile, federal courts have frustrated state efforts to block resettlement of Syrian refugees even as some members of Congress have sought to reform the refugee admissions process through new legislation, as this article explores.

Afghanistan, once the world's largest origin of refugees, is increasingly experiencing mixed migration, including seasonal and permanent outflows for both economic and humanitarian reasons, internal displacement, and refugee returns. This feature article examines the current trends with a focus on return migration and the development impacts at the intersection of displacement and urbanization.

The complex push and pull factors driving child and family migration from Central America to the United States have changed little since the 2014 crisis. Despite some fluctuation in arrival numbers, recent trends suggest the characteristics of an enduring phenomenon. This Policy Beat explores the latest developments in U.S. policy responses, including enforcement operations, development assistance, and family detention.

Drawn by generous asylum policies and the region's welcoming reputation, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived in Scandinavia in 2015. As the unprecedented flow overwhelmed the asylum systems of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, lawmakers began to recalibrate their policies, tightening asylum benefits in a number of significant ways, as this article explores.

Lesvos became a major focal point in Europe's migration crisis as more than half a million migrants and asylum seekers transited the Greek island in 2015. Describing the work of ad hoc volunteer-led efforts and professional aid organizations, this article delves into the evolution of the aid response across the island and the challenges of integrating humanitarian operations.

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Audio
March 20, 2014

This MPI event, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), discusses the critical issue of climate-related displacement in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on the vulnerability of environmental migrants and how the international legal framework can better ensure their protection.

Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse.

Video, Audio
November 22, 2013

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff joined Kathleen Newland for a discussion on the Syrian refugee and internally displaced population, now considered one of the biggest humanitarian emergencies in a generation.

Video, Audio
May 9, 2013

With global mobility on the rise, the international community is finally grappling with the challenge of stranded migrants, which is one of the main agenda items for the High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development in the UN General Assembly in October 2013.

Audio
October 1, 2012

The conference offers thoughtful, evidence-based law and policy analysis and discussion of cutting-edge immigration issues.

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Recent Activity

Articles

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.

Policy Briefs
December 2017

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, offering a more detailed policy agenda than on any other issue. In the year since the election that propelled the Republican into the White House, how has the Trump administration’s record matched up with the rhetoric? This policy brief examines the executive orders and other changes to existing policy and practice made during 2017.

Audio
November 16, 2017

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many nontraditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—pioneered solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. This conference reflects on how innovations for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Reports
November 2017

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.

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