E.g., 04/13/2024
E.g., 04/13/2024
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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AfghanMotherChildUNHCR MathiasDepardon

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.

Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona

As industrialized countries are adopting harder-edge immigration and asylum policies to deal with real and perceived crises, humanitarian actors have sought to blunt the effects of those policies by launching rescue missions at sea, rendering direct aid to migrants in need, and offering legal assistance. A concerted pushback to this resistance emerged in 2018, with governments using legislative, legal, and other tools to fight back.

Migrants returning to Ethiopia

Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

MoriaReceptionCenter

Faced with absorbing vast numbers of asylum seekers who headed to Europe during the 2015-16 migration crisis and the ongoing arrival of much smaller, but steady flows of Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border, EU Member States and the United States in 2018 took or explored significant steps to narrow asylum and harden policies.

South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.

Despite the major focus by media and publics on a handful of refugee crises around the world, displacement situations worsened during 2018 in a number of countries that received much less attention, including the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan—where unending conflict, new displacement, rising starvation, and an Ebola outbreak made already complex situations even more dire.

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6061469430_bd517fcef9_z 2016 9.30 event   Kenya, Dadaab refugee camps. August 2011  flickr  IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
Audio
September 30, 2016

MPI experts discuss outcomes from the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the Leaders Summit on Refugees, and related private-sector meetings and how these efforts may gain momentum to change international responses to the complex threats refugees and migrants face.

13th Annual Immigration Law  Policy keynotes
Video, Audio
September 28, 2016

The 13th annual Immigration Law & Policy Conference offered policy and legal analysis on key immigration topics, including: the election and the future of immigration policy; refugee resettlement in the United States; immigration detention and enforcement; and the impacts of the Supreme Court opinion in the important U.S. vs Texas case

Event PH 2016.9.28 Refugees in Dadaab Kathleen and Bill
Video, Audio
September 28, 2016

Back from a recent trip to the region, Human Rights Watch researchers discuss the situation of refugees at the Dadaab camp in Kenya and findings from on-the-ground interviews, along with recommendations for the Kenyan government and international community. 

BoatMigrants ARodriguez UNHCR
Audio
September 16, 2016

This discussion focuses on how governments and actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities for newcomers.

EVENT PH 2016.7.7 BREXIT WEBINAR
Audio
July 14, 2016

The UK vote to exit the European Union has given new momentum to euroskeptic, anti-immigration movements elsewhere. Experts discuss the political and policy lessons that can be learned from Brexit and applied to debates in Europe and North America, including how to address public anxiety over immigration and identity while managing migration in a globalized economy.

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Recent Activity

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.

Articles

The European Union has tried to leverage development assistance to address root causes of migration from Africa, including poverty, instability, and conflict. The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, unveiled in 2015, has supported more than 250 programs totaling nearly 5 billion euros across 26 countries, but has had only partial success addressing the underlying drivers of migration, as this article explains.

Commentaries
April 2021

The European Commission's strategy on voluntary return and reintegration for migrants covers a lot of ground, including new coordination efforts across EU Member States. Yet one of its most significant developments is the recognition that countries of migrant origin must be consulted and play a key role in reintegration if these efforts are to be impactful and sustainable, as this commentary explains.

Articles

During his first 100 days in office, U.S. President Joe Biden took more than three times as many executive actions on immigration as predecessor Donald Trump. While rising encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border have captured major attention, Biden has been remarkably active in areas that have received far less attention, including interior enforcement. This article explores the administration's actions during its first three months.

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