E.g., 12/03/2022
E.g., 12/03/2022
Refugee & Asylum Policy

Refugee & Asylum Policy

_RefugeeAsylumPolicy credit

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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Reports
March 2017
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
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Reports
March 2017
By  Kate Hooper, Maria Vincenza Desiderio and Brian Salant
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Policy Briefs
February 2017
By  Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
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Reports
November 2016
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Meghan Benton
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Reports
November 2016
By  Jane M. Dyer and Laurie Baksh
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Reports
November 2016
By  Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, Andrea J. Hoopes and Jasmine Matheson
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Reports
November 2016
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Susan Fratzke

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

The recent rise in xenophobia in Hungary stands in marked contrast with the country's rich migration history. After 390,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in 2015, the government of Viktor Orbán issued policies to significantly limit migration and enacted a law criminalizing humanitarian assistance to migrants. This country profile examines Hungary’s migration past and present, tracing the country’s multicultural heritage to the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment.

Outside of the Justice Department building

With a backlog of more than 1 million removal cases, the U.S. immigration court system is in crisis. Pressure from external forces, internal challenges, and lagging resources for the courts at a time of massive increases in spending on immigration enforcement have contributed to the backlog. This article explores how the system got to the breaking point, and what opportunities for reform exist.

An apprehended migrant sits in a truck with his hands in his face

Buoyed by initial successes challenging Trump administration immigration actions such as the travel ban in federal court, many critics expected the judiciary to act as a brake on major changes to the immigration system. Yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown a willingness to affirm the executive branch's immigration policies, most recently permitting what is arguably the most significant asylum policy change in four decades to proceed.

Buildings behind a barbed wire fence

As Greece's Aegean islands continue to grapple with migrants arriving on their shores, decisions regarding the needs of newcomers are negotiated in Brussels and Athens, far removed from the situation on the ground. Meanwhile, local communities have had successes in hosting migrants, as this article drawing on observations from the hospitality center and refugee camp on Lesvos explores.

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While much attention has been paid to recent Central American arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly half of the approximately 3.5 million Central Americans resident in the United States in 2017 arrived before 2000. About one-third are naturalized U.S. citizens, and they tend to participate in the labor force at a higher rate than foreign- and U.S.-born adults. Discover more about this population in this data-rich article.

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EVENT PHOTO 2019.10.7.2 Law and Policy Conference
Video, Audio
October 7, 2019

With immigration a central plank of the Trump administration, the 16th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, held in October 2019, featured analysis by top experts regarding changing policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, narrowing of asylum, cooperation with migrant-transit countries, and actions that could reduce legal immigration, including revisions to the public-charge rule.

Felipe Munoz at Migration Policy Institute Event
Video, Audio
September 27, 2019

Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border, discusses how Colombia is coping with the influx of Venezuelan migrants, plans for future policy decisions surrounding this migration, and developments in regional and international cooperation.

Cecilia Munoz and Carlos Gutierrez
Video, Audio
August 12, 2019

This discussion marked the launch of MPI's Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy Initiative, which aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration should play in America’s future, as well as to build a bipartisan center so needed reforms can be enacted.

flickr EUCivilProtectionHumanitarianAidOperations Refugee crisis in the Western Balkans
Video, Audio
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.

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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.

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Recent Activity

Articles

A disproportionate number of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the United States come from Honduras, driven by government corruption, impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and hurricanes that have devastated communities and livelihoods. This article examine the multiple factors behind migration from the country, drawing from interviews with migrants en route.

Reports
June 2021

While record monthly arrivals of unaccompanied minors in early 2021 have drawn considerable attention, important questions surround what happens once the children are released from federal custody to parents or other sponsors. This report examines federal post-release services, support needs among children and sponsors, how service providers are meeting these needs, and ways to improve services—to the benefit of the children and the communities in which they live.

Policy Briefs
June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged public health and migration management infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa, as never before. It revealed important lessons about how countries in the region can adapt mobility systems in ways that protect public health while also allowing people to safely access work, humanitarian protection, and their communities.

Commentaries
May 2021

The federal government has made notable progress since March 2021 in getting unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border out of Border Patrol facilities and into Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody, and then releasing them to parents or other sponsors. Yet there are serious concerns about standards of care and conditions in a new type of ORR facility: emergency intake sites, as this commentary explores.

Video, Audio, Webinars
May 19, 2021

In April 2021, the European Commission took a step toward the creation of a common EU return system, releasing its first Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration. This MPI Europe event, marking the release of EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration: Crafting a Road Map to Better Cooperation with Migrants’ Countries of Origin, examines origin- and destination-country policy priorities surrounding return, opportunities for cooperation, and possible next steps in policy development. 

Video, Audio, Webinars
May 11, 2021

The convergence of the second largest refugee crisis in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has left the more than 5.5 million migrants who have fled Venezuela in an even more vulnerable position. This discussion, with leaders from the Western Hemisphere, focuses on national and regional efforts to integrate Venezuelans, along with possible opportunities for further international cooperation.

Policy Briefs
May 2021

In its Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration, the European Commission sets out principles to increase the number of voluntary returns, make the return process more dignified, and provide better support to returnees. To make good on these goals, EU countries will need to improve their cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin. This policy brief explores opportunities to build this cooperation.

Articles

The United States historically led the world in refugee resettlement, but was surpassed by Canada in 2018—and U.S. refugee admissions fell to a record low 12,000 in 2020. With the country now on course to rebuild resettlement capacity, this article examines the U.S. refugee and asylee populations and how they have changed over time, including key demographic characteristics.

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