E.g., 03/06/2021
E.g., 03/06/2021

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

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The United Kingdom's stunning decision to leave the European Union in June 2016, intertwined with rising concerns over migration, marked a significant setback to key objectives of the European project, including the right to free movement. Amid growing euroskepticism across the continent, it remains to be seen if the European Union will be able to reassert leadership to address migration and other issues in 2017 and beyond.

With global displacement at a post-World War II high, the international community made some advances on refugee protection in 2016, but there were also steps backward. The United Nations held the first-ever refugee summit and some countries, including the United States and Canada, increased their resettlement commitments. Meanwhile, conflict intensified in some hotspots and publics turned against refugees, as this Top 10 article explores. 

While Europe and the United States saw terror attacks in 2016 carried out by radicalized immigrants or members of the second generation, policy responses varied on either side of the Atlantic. The perceived security threat posed by refugees was the main concern in the United States. Meanwhile, European debates centered more on concerns over loss of control of migration flows and lack of social cohesion.

Smugglers and migrants adapted their paths in light of changing conditions in 2016, including the construction of walls and closure of borders. Cuban and Haitian migrants increasingly chose to make their way to the United States through South and Central America rather than by sea. Meanwhile, migrant flows to Europe have splintered into a wider range of routes, seeking new openings through the Western Balkans.

2016 saw the emergence of a "whole-of-society" approach to the refugee crisis, with a number of new actors, including many from the private sector, engaging with humanitarian protection issues in creative ways. This engagement and the energy and diversity of these partners, in the tech sector and beyond, creates both opportunities and challenges for governments and more traditional civil-society organizations.

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Video, Audio
February 19, 2014

This discussion explores how the 2014 Greek Presidency of the European Union and the United States can work to address the challenges of managing migration while meeting humanitarian obligations and nurturing economic growth.

Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

Video, Audio
November 22, 2013

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff joined Kathleen Newland for a discussion on the Syrian refugee and internally displaced population, now considered one of the biggest humanitarian emergencies in a generation.

Video, Audio
May 9, 2013

With global mobility on the rise, the international community is finally grappling with the challenge of stranded migrants, which is one of the main agenda items for the High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development in the UN General Assembly in October 2013.

Video, Audio
December 14, 2012

The event discussion, which touched on the intersection of race and immigration, focused on the demographics of Black immigrants (both African and Caribbean) in the United States and their children, their educational success, and the implications of the recently released volume’s findings for research and public policy.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
October 2018

Amid disagreement over the appropriate way to manage European borders and grant access to asylum, there is one policy priority that has support across (most) Member States and the institutions of the European Union: the need to provide safe, legal channels for migration, particularly for refugees. Private sponsorship of refugees may have a valuable role to play in meeting this need, as this MPI Europe commentary explains.

Policy Briefs
October 2018

In recent years, questions of whether, when, and how to return failed asylum seekers and other migrants to their origin countries have dominated migration debates in many countries. These issues were also taken up in the negotiation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, moving the discussion beyond the typical bilateral one. This policy brief outlines how states might more constructively work together on returns and reintegration programs.

Video, Audio, Webinars
October 3, 2018

This Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines possible scenarios for how social, economic, and technological trends could affect jobs, labor market policy, education and social policies, and migrant integration. Speakers also explored the potential of coding schools for refugees to help alleviate skills shortages and provide a pathway to work.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 27, 2018

Speakers, including report authors, discuss the findings from an MPI report that analyzes the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to a crisis point. During the discussion, the authors propose common-sense steps that can be implemented now to jump-start the system's rescue.

Reports
October 2018

Faced with an aging workforce and growing skill shortages in the IT sector, some German policymakers and industry experts have seized on the idea that recently arrived refugees could be a natural fit for careers in tech. This report examines the case for training refugees for IT jobs and explores the variety of coding schools that have cropped up in Germany to help newcomers succeed in the field.

Reports
September 2018

The United States has a long tradition of providing asylum to those in need. But in recent years, case backlogs have grown and many asylum seekers now wait years for a decision. This report examines the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to this crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be taken to restore timeliness and fairness, while deterring abuses.

Articles

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.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 24, 2018

Experts on this webinar discuss efforts being undertaken in Maryland to serve refugee families with young children through tailored, trauma-informed approaches that address their specific mental health needs.

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