E.g., 06/25/2020
E.g., 06/25/2020

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

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A Global Broadband Plan for Refugees
Policy Briefs
May 2017
By Blair Levin, Paul De Sa, and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
The First 100 Days: Summary of Major Immigration Actions  Taken by the Trump Administration
Fact Sheets
April 2017
By Sela Cowger, Jessica Bolter, and Sarah Pierce
The Economic Integration of Refugees in Canada: A Mixed Record?
Reports
April 2017
By Lori Wilkinson and Joseph Garcea
Policy Briefs
March 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
Reports
March 2017
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton, and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
Reports
March 2017
By Kate Hooper, Maria Vincenza Desiderio, and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
February 2017
By Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner

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A man holds a sign protesting the travel ban at an airport

Two years after the Trump administration’s much-litigated travel ban was created, the policy has demonstrated a significant impact on the admission of foreigners from the banned countries, while also reshaping U.S. security vetting procedures and the refugee resettlement process in enduring ways, as this article explores on the second-year anniversary.

Venezuelans on streets of Cucuta

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.

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.

U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.

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.

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.

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Video, Audio
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.

Video, Audio
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.

Video, Audio
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. 

Video, Audio
April 20, 2018

This webinar, featuring findings from an MPI Europe report, examines major challenges facing refugee resettlement peer-support projects in Europe and key lessons for Member States. 

Video, Audio
April 12, 2018

On this webinar, authors discuss their findings, highlighting promising policies and practices for serving young children of refugees and asylum seekers in nine key host countries, as well as key areas in which ECEC services need to be strengthened.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
July 2019

Dado el incremento de los flujos migratorios provenientes de Centroamérica, el pasado mes de junio de 2019, los Estados Unidos y México acordaron tomar una serie de medidas para reducir los flujos irregulares. Sin embargo, será muy difícil mantener estos esfuerzos de corto plazo, debido a una debilidad institucional crónica y a estructuras de política pública poco planificadas en ambos países. Este comentario ofrece cinco recomendaciones a ambos países considerando soluciones de mediano y largo plazo para disuadir la migración irregular y, al mismo tiempo, garantizar que aquellos que busquen protección tengan un proceso justo.

Commentaries
July 2019

Amid surging migration from Central America, the United States and Mexico in June 2019 agreed to a series of enforcement measures. Yet these near-term efforts will be difficult to maintain given chronic institutional weaknesses and poorly thought-out policy structures in both countries. This commentary, by the presidents of MPI and El Colegio de México, offers a set of long-term, collaborative solutions to dissuade illegal migration while ensuring fairness to those seeking protection.

Video, Audio, Webinars
July 15, 2019

With thousands migrants potentially traveling through the Western Balkans this year, this MPI Europe webinar explores the implications of the buttressed EU border on the bloc’s neighbors, the migrants transiting these routes, and the local communities. Experts also explored how the European Union can support efforts to address irregular migration in neighboring countries, and what are the tradeoffs and considerations that policymakers must weigh. 

Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

Articles

Approximately 11,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, putting this year on track to exceed 2014's surge. As the U.S. government struggles to care for these child migrants, with public outrage mounting over reports of unsafe, filthy conditions in initial Border Patrol custody, the failure of the executive branch and Congress to plan for increased shelter and care demands are increasingly apparent, as this article explores.

Policy Briefs
June 2019

Migration and development policy discussions have edged closer to each other on the international stage. The adoption of the Global Compact for Migration in December 2018 marks an important milestone. As all eyes turn toward the compact’s implementation, this brief examines some of the key topics states have pledged to work more closely on—from labor migration and migrants’ rights, to returns and reintegration.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

Articles

Several years after a flurry of tech innovations arose to respond to the 2015-16 European migration crisis and assist asylum seekers, "digital litter"—now-dormant websites, broken links, and poor-quality information spread through apps and social media—is floating around. At best, digital litter is a nuisance. At worst, it can place refugees and migrants in harm's way and undermine their decision-making, as this article explores.

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