E.g., 02/25/2021
E.g., 02/25/2021

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

Reports
June 2018
By  Elizabeth Collett and Camille Le Coz
Commentaries
June 2018
By  Elizabeth Collett and Susan Fratzke
Commentaries
June 2018
By  Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
A woman walks alongside a train in Mexico.
Articles
A boy peers through fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Get all the latest and historical facts and figures on immigrants and immigration in the United States in this handy resource. With immigration often surfacing in public and political debates, learn the answers to such questions as: How do current immigration flows compare to earlier ones? How many unauthorized immigrants live in the United States? How many refugees are admitted annually? And get answers to many more questions.

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.

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Video, Audio
March 18, 2011

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) research fellows Magnus Lofstrom and Sarah Bohn, and UC Berkeley professor of public policy Steven Raphael are issuing a new report that examines whether LAWA achieved its primary aims: reducing the unauthorized population, deterring their employment opportunities and improving employment outcomes of competing authorized workers. Their analysis also investigates whether Arizona’s legislation induced a shift away from formal employment.

Video, Audio
July 16, 2010

This discussion is an overview of a report undertaken by a team at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs which examines the U.S. refugee resettlement Program and offers a strong set of recommendations and observations about the program.

Video
June 24, 2010
The conference, co-sponsored by Georgetown Law, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and the Migration Policy Institute, focused immigration and refugee law and policy.
Video, Audio
June 9, 2010
Breakfast briefing with T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Kathleen Newland.

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Recent Activity

Reports
June 2018

As maritime arrivals climbed in 2015, EU policymakers struggled to mount a coordinated response. A range of ad hoc crisis-response tools emerged, but many officials worry that if another migration emergency were to hit Europe, the European Union may still be unprepared. This report traces the evolution of the EU response to the 2015–16 crisis and lays out recommendations to lock in progress and shore up weaknesses.

Commentaries
June 2018

European leaders have settled on a recurring proposition to address the ongoing political crisis on migration: the creation of asylum processing centers beyond EU borders. The plans championed by various EU leaders are diverse, the details fuzzy. What they have in common is a near-universal focus on shifting responsibility for dealing with refugees and migrants upstream, as this commentary examines.

Commentaries
June 2018

Even as some pundits assess President Trump's temporary end to family separation as a defeat, the deeper reality is being lost: The administration’s plan to detain all asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, including families, is now on its way to completion. The “catch-and-release” that Donald Trump rails against is, at least in part, effectively over for now, though the price tag is a long way from being tallied, as this commentary explains.

Commentaries
June 2018

Amid significant tensions over migration that could fracture Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition, a new "migration master plan" set to be unveiled by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reportedly involves turning asylum seekers back at German borders and refusing them entry. This commentary explores the potential implications of the proposal, which has prompted concern about the ramifications for the Common European Asylum System.

Commentaries
June 2018

The House is set to vote on two bills that would largely dismantle the U.S. asylum system at the southern border by significantly narrowing grounds to apply for asylum, eliminating protections for the vast majority of unaccompanied minors, and unilaterally declaring Mexico a safe third country. The result would be a sharp reduction in the number of people permitted to seek humanitarian protection, as this commentary explains.

Articles

In recent years, women from Central America have begun to make up a greater share of migrant apprehensions in Mexico and at the U.S. Southwest border. Systemic insecurity, poverty, and corruption are among the factors driving women and others to flee. This article explores the increase in female migration from Central America and the challenges these women face on their journey.

Articles

Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.

Articles

Over the past decade, migration has emerged as one of the most pressing issues facing governments around the world. Nearing the end of his tenure as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing sat down with MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland to reflect on his ten years leading IOM, as well as the international community's role on migration going forward.

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