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Europe's defining challenge in 2015 was the exponential growth in the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving on its shores. The European Union and its Member States were slow to respond, and reactive when they did. As trust among Member States and between national and EU-level authorities began to erode, the European Union has found its ability to implement a comprehensive response severely handicapped.
Global displacement reached a new high with nearly 60 million people worldwide displaced internally or externally in the greatest number since record-keeping began. The trend continued in 2015 as conflicts in places such as Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen drove millions of people to leave their homes and seek refuge in other communities or across borders.
Faced with a flexible, diverse, and seemingly ubiquitous smuggling industry, governments have struggled to respond. Smuggling and trafficking networks, while hardly new phenomena, were put under a harsh spotlight in 2015 for their role as intermediaries in shaping the scale and flow of migrants and asylum seekers around the world.
As seemingly endless waves of asylum seekers and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015, politicians from across the political spectrum invoked forceful anti-immigrant rhetoric that resonated in some quarters. Mainstream politicians began co-opting the tougher, more enforcement-laden language of far-right groups as all parties sought to reassure voters in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.
Child migrants traveling alone to Europe or the United States face similar dangers and are particularly at risk of abuse and trafficking. The arrival of tens of thousands of such children in Europe and the United States have overwhelmed accommodations as well as legal and integration processes. Furthermore, the unprecedented flows have sparked heated public debate in a number of cities.
Refugee resettlement, typically thought of as a government-led activity, can also be sponsored by private individuals, groups, corporations, and other entities. This report examines the small number of private sponsorship programs that exist in Canada, Argentina, Australia, and elsewhere. It suggests that similar arrangements could enhance refugee resettlement opportunities in the European Union.
Approximately 86,000 Syrian immigrants resided in the United States in 2014, including 2,261 resettled refugees. This fact sheet provides information on the Syrian immigrant population in the United States, focusing on its size, socioeconomic characteristics, and geographic distribution.
As flows of young migrant and refugee children increase on both sides of the Atlantic, the demands placed on education systems by newcomer students have never been greater. This commentary addresses the challenges school systems face in building teacher capacity to address the diverse linguistic, academic, and socioemotional needs for newly arrived youth, many of whom have experienced significant disruption.