E.g., 12/01/2020
E.g., 12/01/2020

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
September 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
Image of families belong together event banner in Houston
Articles
Reports
September 2018
By  Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Indonesian countryside
Articles
Salvadoran kids
Articles

Pages

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.

Pages

Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

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.

Pages

Recent Activity

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.

Reports
September 2018

The Houston metro area, home to 1.6 million immigrants, is diverse and rapidly growing. This report sketches the area's immigrant population, examining top origin countries, key socioeconomic measures, and more. It also explores how Hurricane Harvey affected the immigrant population, and how national policy changes under the Trump administration are being felt locally, including by DACA recipients and asylum seekers.

Articles

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. 

 

Video, Audio, Webinars
August 29, 2018

Experts discuss the effects of trauma on the development of young refugee children, and highlight ways early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs can address this trauma, including practical strategies that child-care providers in Canada are using to support the resiliency of refugee children and families. 

Articles

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.

Policy Briefs
August 2018

EU policy debates about moving asylum seekers from overburdened frontline countries, such as Greece and Italy, to other Member States rarely consider how migrants form and act on preferences for certain destinations—and how difficult it may be to change these views. This issue brief explores decision-making among migrants in Greece, including how living conditions, jobs, and legal status factor in.

Pages