E.g., 10/19/2017
E.g., 10/19/2017

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

A sign at the Quebec border advises travelers to turn back and report to a port of entry.
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
An internally displaced Colombian family outside Bogota.
Online Journal
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
Commentary
March 2017
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Reports
March 2017
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton, and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan

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Reports
May 2016
By Sunder Katwala and Will Somerville
Reports
March 2016
By Elizabeth Collett, Paul Clewett, and Susan Fratzke
Reports
March 2016
By Kate Hooper, Jie Zong, Randy Capps, and Michael Fix
Reports
March 2016
By Lyn Morland, Nicole Ives, Clea McNeely, and Chenoa Allen

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Online Journal

With the incoming Trump administration pledging a crackdown on illegal immigration, construction of border walls, reductions in refugee and immigrant admissions, and greater screening of newcomers, U.S. immigration policy is likely to significant change. With Republicans holding the White House and both chambers of Congress at least through 2018, conditions may be favorable for a major transformation of the U.S. immigration system, as this Top 10 article explores.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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. 

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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.

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Video, Audio
October 22, 2015

This webinar examines the challenges facing educators and policymakers in Europe and the United States as they attempt to meet the needs of immigrant and refugee students who arrive during their middle and high school years.

Video, Audio
October 20, 2015

An MPI Europe video chat with the outgoing head of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on the current EU refugee crisis, what strategies Europe ought to be pursuing in response, and the growing role of EASO as well as its track record over its first five years.

Video, Audio
October 15, 2015

Marking the release of an MPI brief, this webinar examines data on where unaccompanied child migrants are being placed in the United States, how they are faring in immigration courts, what services are available to them, and how U.S.

Video, Audio
September 28, 2015

This webinar examines the implementation at state and local levels of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and how it may limit immigrant integration, along with a discussion on strategies that may help ensure more equitable access to services.  

Video, Audio
September 14, 2015

A discussion, including the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, examining the huge strains on the global protection system and how it can better respond to protracted refugee situations and other long-term displacement, focusing on the conclusions of the Transatlantic Council on Migration's recent meeting,

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Video, Audio
June 16, 2016

Swedish and U.S. government officials, and MPI's Kathleen Newland discuss global and national responses to rising displacement, innovations in managing migration processes, and attempts to address the dysfunctional aspects of international migration, in a discussion organized by MPI and the Embassy of Sweden to the United States.

Video, Audio
May 25, 2016

A discussion on how the politics and migration policies of the British government influenced the decision to hold the "Brexit" referendum, how public attitudes towards immigration might influence the decision whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and how the outcome might impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and European Union more broadly.

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 a

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.

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. 

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Video, Audio
October 15, 2015

Marking the release of an MPI brief, this webinar examines data on where unaccompanied child migrants are being placed in the United States, how they are faring in immigration courts, what services are available to them, and how U.S.

Video, Audio
September 28, 2015

This webinar examines the implementation at state and local levels of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and how it may limit immigrant integration, along with a discussion on strategies that may help ensure more equitable access to services.  

Audio
September 18, 2015

A webinar/call with senior officials from two EU Member States, Austria and Slovenia, to discuss their differing perspectives on the current refugee crisis, and consider what is needed to ensure a unified, practically feasible response to the biggest crisis that has faced the Common European Asylum System since its inception.

Video, Audio
July 22, 2015

This webinar examines innovative ideas to adapt the global protection system to better meet the growing challenges of forced migration and to empower refugees through development-led responses to displacement.

Video, Audio
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
February 2017

This brief examines key provisions of President Trump's recent executive order suspending travel from certain majority-Muslim countries and pausing the U.S. refugee resettlement program, comparing them to current and earlier policy and practice. Presented in an easy-to-use side-by-side chart, the brief gives context to the executive order, which has drawn major scrutiny.

Commentary
February 2017

Eager to emulate the success of an EU-Turkey deal that has helped sharply reduce crossings into Greece, the European Union is exploring similar partnerships with transit countries along the North African coastline. But as this commentary explores, these prospective deals with Libya and other governments may be built upon unstable foundations and come with inherent complexities, possible risks for North African partners, and moral and other hazards for the European Union.

Commentary
January 2017

The executive order halting the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and cutting refugee placements has identified a singularly unsuitable target. None of the more than 3 million refugees who have entered the United States through the resettlement program has killed anyone in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Singling out refugees is a classic case of blaming the victim and will not make America safer, as this commentary explores.

Audio
January 27, 2017

In the year since the Valletta Summit, the European Union and Member State governments have ramped up cooperation with origin, transit, and hosting countries, yet questions remain over how effective these partnerships have been and how far they can be reasonably be pursued. This webinar is a discussion on longer-term interventions the European Union may pursue to find solutions for asylum seekers, including cooperation with other countries on migration management.  

Reports
January 2017

While territorial asylum—the principle that a refugee must reach the territory of a host country in order to lodge a protection claim—has become the dominant response to refugee outflows, it does not provide an easy solution for sudden influxes. Amid record global displacement, this report considers whether there are viable alternatives to territorial asylum, and explores how they might be implemented.

Commentary
January 2017

The Obama administration has taken a bold action to end the decades-old "wet foot, dry foot" policies that have for too long drawn Cubans to the United States in dangerous ways and sizeable numbers. The time has come when building a more normal U.S.-Cuba relationship must include updating migration and immigration policies to reflect today's realities, as this commentary by MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner explains.

Video, Audio
December 7, 2016

A presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of brain waste for highly skilled immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. The researchers discuss their findings in terms of the billions of dollars in forgone earnings and unrealized taxes when college-educated immigrants are relegated to low-skilled work.

Reports
November 2016

With the seemingly endless flows of asylum seekers and migrants abated, at least for the present, Europe is now faced with the long-term and complex challenges of integration of these newcomers. This report examines the political, social, and economic contexts and immigration histories of European countries and how the current integration challenges are complicated by existing challenges of fragmentation and social unrest. Still, the authors find some cause for optimism.

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