E.g., 03/01/2021
E.g., 03/01/2021

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

Commentaries
January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
Venezuelans on streets of Cucuta
Articles
U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
Articles
Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona
Articles
Migrants returning to Ethiopia
Articles

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Policy Briefs
December 2003
By  Gregor Noll and Joanne van Selm
Reports
December 2003
By  Monette Zard
Reports
October 2003
By  Joanne van Selm
Reports
October 2003
By  Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick, Tamara Woroby and Monica Matts
Reports
October 2003
By  Joanne van Selm
Policy Briefs
April 2003
By  Monette Zard and Erin Patrick
Policy Briefs
February 2003
By  Peter W. Galbraith
Reports
June 2002
By  Kathleen Newland, Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick and Monette Zard

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Hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Western Balkans route during the peak of the migration crisis. While Balkan countries initially facilitated movements northward, pressure from the European Union led to cascading border controls, which left thousands stranded in the region. This article examines the role of Balkan countries during the thick of the crisis and subsequent regional impacts.

A Syrian refugee woman uses a special e-card to purchase food at a grocery store in Turkey.

Turkey has been on the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis from the beginning. The vast majority of Turkey's nearly 3.2 million Syrian asylum seekers live in cities, putting pressure on the limited resources and legal authority of local governments to serve them. This article examines Istanbul's creative approaches to meeting the needs of this vulnerable population while balancing the concerns of local citizens.

One of Cuba's many old cars on a street in Havana.

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.

A Burundian refugee family outside their home in Boise, Idaho.

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.

A mosque in London

A number of high-profile terrorist attacks in the West have raised questions about why geopolitical events sometimes trigger strong, violent reactions in certain diaspora communities, but not in others. What could be behind this divergence in responses? This article examines how Muslim communities in London and Detroit have reacted to conflict abroad, as well as the factors that drive reactive conflict spillover.

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Video, Audio
July 22, 2015

This webinar examines innovative ideas to adapt the global protection system to better meet the growing challenges of forced migration and to empower refugees through development-led responses to displacement.

Audio
July 8, 2015

This teleconference, the first in a series from MPI Europe on the future of asylum policy in the European Union, focuses on the politics and mechanics of asylum seeker relocation and whether a recent contentious European Summit represents a new phase of intra-EU cooperation on asylum.

Video, Audio
June 26, 2015

A discussion of the findings of a new MPI report examining refugee characteristics at arrival for the ten largest national-origin groups resettled between 2002-2013, as well as their integration outcomes with respect to employment and incomes, English proficiency and education levels, and public benefit use.

Video, Audio
May 4, 2015

A discussion on the situation of Syrian refugees, recent developments in the region, and the U.S. humanitarian response, along with reports from recent fact-finding missions to the region by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Refugee Council USA.

Video, Audio
April 17, 2015

A discussion with the Director of The White House Domestic Policy Council on the content of the new National Integration Plan delivered to the President by the recently created White House Task Force on New Americans, along with the plan for implementation.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
January 2019

What President Trump calls a border crisis is in fact a crisis in the asylum system—one worsened at every turn by his administration’s harsh policies and rhetoric. Rather than spend $5.7 billion on a wall, it would be far more effective to use the money to retool an overwhelmed asylum system, adapt outmatched border enforcement infrastructure to respond to the changing composition of arrivals, and work cooperatively with Mexico to tackle the factors propelling Central Americans to flee.

Articles

With an estimated 3 million people having fled the failing Venezuelan state, and predictions another 2 million could join them in 2019, the capacity of South American neighbors to welcome the arrivals became increasingly stretched in 2018. While the region has largely maintained generous reception policies, there were signs during the year that its tolerance was being tested.

Articles

2018 proved a banner year for far-right populist movements in Europe and the Americas. They claimed the presidency of Brazil, sparked the collapse of the Belgian government, and—whether in or out of office—put a harder-edged stamp on migration and asylum policies in Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, and beyond.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Video, Audio, Webinars
December 13, 2018

On this webinar, MPI researchers and Utah and Colorado refugee coordinators explore promising practices to better serve refugee families, including education services for refugee youth, innovative efforts to secure better jobs for adult refugees, and other services designed to aid integration over time. They also discuss the potential for implementing and supporting two-generation approaches to refugee integration at a time when the system’s funding and capacity are in peril.  

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