E.g., 07/14/2020
E.g., 07/14/2020

Refugee & Asylum Policy

Refugee & Asylum Policy

Tens of millions of people around the globe have been forcibly displaced by conflict, natural disaster, or persecution, seeking refuge either within or beyond the borders of their country. Humanitarian protection, whether for refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons (IDPs), represents a key policy area for many major immigrant-receiving countries as well as nations bordering locations where war, political upheaval, or natural disaster have disrupted daily life. The research offered here relates to the law and practice of protecting refugees and IDPs in areas of conflict as well as in industrialized nations, with a focus on secure solutions and effective institutional arrangements for comprehensive protection.

Recent Activity

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The Economic Integration of Refugees in Canada: A Mixed Record?
Reports
April 2017
By Lori Wilkinson and Joseph Garcea
Policy Briefs
March 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
Reports
March 2017
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton, and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
Reports
March 2017
By Kate Hooper, Maria Vincenza Desiderio, and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
February 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
Reports
November 2016
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Meghan Benton
Reports
November 2016
By Jane M. Dyer and Laurie Baksh

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U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.

The Trump administration took sweeping action in 2018 to slow legal immigration, make life harder for some immigrants already in the United States, rebuff would-be asylum seekers, and reduce refugee resettlement. Shaping a narrative of crisis at the border, the administration significantly changed the U.S. asylum system, deployed troops and tear gas, and separated families—yet Central American migrants continued to arrive.

Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.

Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona

As industrialized countries are adopting harder-edge immigration and asylum policies to deal with real and perceived crises, humanitarian actors have sought to blunt the effects of those policies by launching rescue missions at sea, rendering direct aid to migrants in need, and offering legal assistance. A concerted pushback to this resistance emerged in 2018, with governments using legislative, legal, and other tools to fight back.

Migrants returning to Ethiopia

Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

Faced with absorbing vast numbers of asylum seekers who headed to Europe during the 2015-16 migration crisis and the ongoing arrival of much smaller, but steady flows of Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border, EU Member States and the United States in 2018 took or explored significant steps to narrow asylum and harden policies.

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Video, Audio
April 20, 2018

This webinar, featuring findings from an MPI Europe report, examines major challenges facing refugee resettlement peer-support projects in Europe and key lessons for Member States. 

Video, Audio
April 12, 2018

On this webinar, authors discuss their findings, highlighting promising policies and practices for serving young children of refugees and asylum seekers in nine key host countries, as well as key areas in which ECEC services need to be strengthened.

Video, Audio
March 21, 2018

This webinar focuses on patterns of home language use across different early childhood education and care (ECEC) program types, and the potential of the Sobrato Early Academic Language model to improve instruction and outcomes for DLLs in superdiverse settings. 

Video, Audio
February 22, 2018

As the number and share of Dual Language Learners (DLLs) continues to grow across the United States, diversity within this population is also increasing. This webinar marks the release of a report providing analysis of the diversity within the DLL population nationwide and at the state and local levels. Speakers discuss data on the three rapidly growing subgroups within the DLL population: Black and Asian American and Pacific Islander DLLs and young children of refugees, and the implications for the early education and care field and K-12 education systems. 

Video, Audio
January 31, 2018

Is 2018 the year that the European Union takes leadership on migration on the international stage, or where it focuses inwards on healing internal divisions and delivering on overdue migration and asylum system reforms? This webinar looks ahead at the major external and internal events affecting migration on the continent over the next year.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
July 2019

The U.S. government is operating accelerated dockets to handle the rising number of cases of families in immigration court. While it is essential to have timely, fair case processing and removal of those who have truly had their day in court and been found to be removable, using “rocket” dockets to speed up proceedings only heightens the breakdowns that are a recurring feature of the court system on its best day, as this commentary explains.

Commentaries
July 2019

Dado el incremento de los flujos migratorios provenientes de Centroamérica, el pasado mes de junio de 2019, los Estados Unidos y México acordaron tomar una serie de medidas para reducir los flujos irregulares. Sin embargo, será muy difícil mantener estos esfuerzos de corto plazo, debido a una debilidad institucional crónica y a estructuras de política pública poco planificadas en ambos países. Este comentario ofrece cinco recomendaciones a ambos países considerando soluciones de mediano y largo plazo para disuadir la migración irregular y, al mismo tiempo, garantizar que aquellos que busquen protección tengan un proceso justo.

Commentaries
July 2019

Amid surging migration from Central America, the United States and Mexico in June 2019 agreed to a series of enforcement measures. Yet these near-term efforts will be difficult to maintain given chronic institutional weaknesses and poorly thought-out policy structures in both countries. This commentary, by the presidents of MPI and El Colegio de México, offers a set of long-term, collaborative solutions to dissuade illegal migration while ensuring fairness to those seeking protection.

Video, Audio, Webinars
July 15, 2019

With thousands migrants potentially traveling through the Western Balkans this year, this MPI Europe webinar explores the implications of the buttressed EU border on the bloc’s neighbors, the migrants transiting these routes, and the local communities. Experts also explored how the European Union can support efforts to address irregular migration in neighboring countries, and what are the tradeoffs and considerations that policymakers must weigh. 

Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

Articles

Approximately 11,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, putting this year on track to exceed 2014's surge. As the U.S. government struggles to care for these child migrants, with public outrage mounting over reports of unsafe, filthy conditions in initial Border Patrol custody, the failure of the executive branch and Congress to plan for increased shelter and care demands are increasingly apparent, as this article explores.

Policy Briefs
June 2019

Migration and development policy discussions have edged closer to each other on the international stage. The adoption of the Global Compact for Migration in December 2018 marks an important milestone. As all eyes turn toward the compact’s implementation, this brief examines some of the key topics states have pledged to work more closely on—from labor migration and migrants’ rights, to returns and reintegration.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

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