E.g., 12/02/2022
E.g., 12/02/2022
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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Rohingya refugees

More than 630,000 Rohingya refugees had crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar during the last quarter of 2017, fleeing targeted violence by the Burmese military. This displacement, resulting from what the United Nations called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," marked the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis. Its speed and scale have challenged governments and aid organizations to effectively respond.

Migrants on a boat

European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.

South Sudanese refugee girl

Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.

Syrian family on a plane

The global refugee resettlement landscape changed dramatically in 2017, as the United States began to step back from its role as global leader on resettlement. The Trump administration reduced the 2018 refugee admissions ceiling to the lowest level since the program began in 1980. While other countries increased their commitments or launched new programs, this was not enough to make up for the gap left by the United States.

AfghanRefugees ZsuzsannaGal UNHCR

Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.

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MEPS visits a group of Afghan refugees_Flickr_GUE_NGL
Video, Audio
April 13, 2016

Experts discuss how European governments have responded to pressure brought by the recent influx of migrants and refugees, and how the EU asylum reception system can be strengthened to better respond to fluctuation in needs for capacity, improve efficiency and quality, and meet national

Massive Influx of Syrian Kurdish Refugees into Turkey flickr European Commission DG
Video, Audio
March 31, 2016

MPI Europe expert analysis and discussion with UNHCR and Italian NGO representatives on what is being done and what can be done to connect Syrians and other refugees with opportunities to settle, work, and live outside the immediate region of the Syrian conflict.

2016.3.23 Integration Young Refugee Children Webinar   flickr Megenei and Hamza by Kristen341737653_c33a1ec925_z
Video, Audio
March 23, 2016

MPI analysts discuss the findings of a report comparing young children of refugees to other U.S. children on several key indicators of well-being. 

Event PH 2016.2.17 Demetri at Europe Migration Crisis
Video, Audio
February 17, 2016

MPI's Demetrios Papademetriou discusses the current policy responses to the refugee and migration crisis at EU and national levels, and possible options for dealing more effectively with the crisis and longer-term integration challenges.

A local volunteer in Spain watches the children in a sponsored refugee family as they play.
Audio
February 8, 2016

Analysts discuss how private sponsorship programs for refugees, used by Canada and a handful of other countries, could alleviate some of the pressure from the European refugee crisis by allowing individuals, groups, businesses, and other entities to sponsor individual refugees for resettlement.

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Recent Activity

Reports
April 2020

The U.S. government has made important progress in shoring up weaknesses at the nexus of immigration and national security since September 11, 2001. But as new threats emerge and evolve—including public-health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic—the question is whether the post-9/11 system is up to the task of meeting these challenges, as this report explores.

Audio, Webinars
April 2, 2020

This MPI webinar brought together public health and migration experts to analyze the impact that COVID-19 preventative measures will have on vulnerable immigrants and refugees in Colombia and Latin America. Speakers also discussed how policymakers and international organizations can include migrant populations in their emergency response plans.

Articles

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the intersection of U.S. immigration and public health policy, and the unique challenges that immigrants face. This article analyzes the Trump administration’s introduction of some of the most stringent immigration restrictions in modern times, the often disparate fallout of the outbreak on immigrant communities, the status of federal immigration agency operations, and more.

Video, Audio, Webinars
March 24, 2020

This webinar, organized by MPI and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed migration policy responses around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. 

Articles

The high-stakes gambit taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to allow tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants free movement to the Greek border demonstrated the fragility of the EU-Turkey deal and the European Union's broader approach to outsource migration management to third countries. This article examines the causes for the tensions, the EU approach to external partnerships, and a hardening European attitude towards unwanted arrivals.

Reports
March 2020

Brussels is searching for bright ideas on how to fix the Common European Asylum System. While recent EU-level legal reforms have stalled, this report examines the many innovative, operations-focused approaches Member States have used since the 2015-16 migration crisis to improve registration and reception systems, asylum case processing, and options for returning failed asylum seekers.

Commentaries
March 2020

Travel bans, border closures, and other migration management tools did not prove effective at blocking COVID-19 from spreading across international borders. Yet as governments have shifted from containment to mitigation with the coronavirus now in community transmission in many countries, these restrictions are a logical part of the policy toolkit in the context of social distancing and restricting all forms of human movement, as this commentary explores.

Articles

Through a set of interlocking policies, the Trump administration has walled off the asylum system at the U.S.-Mexico border, guaranteeing that only a miniscule few can successfully gain protection. While the Migrant Protection Protocols, more commonly known as Remain in Mexico, have been a key part of throttling asylum applications, two newer, far less visible programs hold the potential to complete the job, as this article explores.

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