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Refugee & Asylum Policy

Refugee & Asylum Policy

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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.

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Uganda is the third largest refugee-hosting nation in the world, with more than 1 million refugees arriving in the last two years. Amid strong public solidarity for displaced neighbors, the government has emphasized the right to employment, enterprise, and free movement for refugees despite the country's poverty and limited resources. Can this generous "Uganda model" be sustained? This article explores the challenges and opportunities.

Image of families belong together event banner in Houston

As the Trump administration moves to be able to indefinitely detain parents and children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether illegal border crossers or asylum seekers, recent apprehension trends and history suggest hardline policies might not be a slam-dunk deterrent with a Central American population often driven by the desire to escape gang or other violence, as this Policy Beat explores.

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Indonesia, which has a long history as a major origin for migrant labor in the Asia-Pacific and beyond, more recently has reluctantly found itself a transit and destination country, including for asylum seekers. Still, policymakers remain focused on protection of its nationals abroad rather than on assuring the status of Chinese and other foreigners in the country. This country profile explores Indonesia's rich migration history. 

 

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El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America yet the most densely populated. A stagnant economy, high levels of crime and violence, and natural disasters have pushed growing numbers of people to migrate without authorization or seek asylum abroad, mostly in the United States. This article explores historical and contemporary emigration from El Salvador.

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From being a source of labor emigration to the Gulf region to a destination for refugees from Syria, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere, Egypt has long experienced different forms of mobility. This article, which profiles the trends and policies that have shaped Egypt's migration history, focuses on its long-standing use of migration as a soft-power tool to achieve its foreign policy aims and as a safety valve for political discontent.

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December 12, 2017

To reflect on the outcomes of the stocktaking meeting in December 2017 on the progress made towards conceptualizing the Global Compact for Migration, MPI hosted a conversation with Eva Åkerman Börje, from the office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration, and Ilse Hahn, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Social Innovation on Refugee Inclusion
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.

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Video, Audio
November 2, 2017

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar explores some of the responses made by school districts to bring immigrant and refugee newcomer students up to speed in English and basic academic skills, all while focused on the educational system’s ultimate goal of high school completion with the skills necessary for today’s college and career demands. The discussion focuses on how schools create and expand systems around the identification of students’ immediate and ongoing academic and socioemotional needs, and how they design programs and curricular pathways to balance these needs with state policy constraints. 

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Video, Audio
October 12, 2017

The refugee and migration crisis in Europe thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of European Union (EU) and national government agendas, but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome design and implementation challenges. This webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy. The discussion also highlights two MPI Europe publications, Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe and Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe.

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Video, Audio
September 25, 2017

In a year when immigration has been prominent in the headlines, the 14th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference provides timely policy and legal analysis, with expert discussion covering the shifting immigration policy priorities under a new administration, including changes in immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee resettlement, the treatment of unaccompanied minors and the

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Recent Activity

Articles

When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

Reports
September 2020

Since COVID-19 hit cities across Europe, many have struggled with how to sustain support for migrant inclusion in a time of social-distancing orders and likely budget cuts. This report explores how municipalities and their partners used social innovation to meet the challenges of the 2015–16 spike in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants, and how those experiences can help localities weather the pandemic and put communities at the center of recovery efforts.

Commentaries
September 2020

The fires that devastated the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos have further raised the stakes for the soon-to-be unveiled EU Pact on Migration and Asylum. If Moria persists as a concept—with asylum seekers prevented from onward movement elsewhere in Europe—this becomes an integral pillar of future EU asylum practice, whatever is written on paper, as this commentary explores.

Articles

India has no refugee law and has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, leaving many of its estimated 250,000 recognized refugees in a legal gray area. Meanwhile, more than 450 million internal migrants form the foundation of the country's economy, yet often have trouble accessing government benefits, identity cards, and other services. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these shared vulnerabilities into stark relief.

Video, Audio, Webinars
August 27, 2020

En este webinar, expertos de la región discutieron acerca del perfil demográfico de los refugiados y migrantes venezolanos en Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Perú, Trinidad y Tobago y Uruguay.

Fact Sheets
August 2020

Los países de América Latina y del Caribe se están enfrentando a un desafío doble. Por un lado, deben manejar un flujo masivo de venezolanos entrando a sus países, mientras que, al mismo tiempo, deben enfocar sus esfuerzos en controlar el virus del COVID-19. Esta ficha técnica presenta un perfil regional de los migrantes y refugiados venezolanos que viajaron a través de 11 países.

Fact Sheets
August 2020

As Latin American and Caribbean countries face a dual challenge—managing large-scale Venezuelan arrivals alongside the COVID-19 pandemic—reliable data on the characteristics of newcomers are essential to policymaking. This MPI-IOM fact sheet offers a profile of refugees and migrants in 11 countries in the region, including their demographics, labor market participation, remittance sending, access to health care, trip details, and intention to return to Venezuela.

Articles

For more than a century, Haiti was considered a prime destination for migrants from the United States and around the world. In the wake of the Haitian Revolution, Haiti marketed itself to freed slaves and others as an island haven where they could break free from the strictures of the United States and a global system of slavery. That changed in the 20th century. Now, there are roughly 1.6 million Haitians living in other countries.

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