E.g., 06/24/2024
E.g., 06/24/2024
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

Cover image for Migration, Integration, and Diaspora Engagement in the Caribbean
Reports
March 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Jordi Amaral, Diego Chaves-González, Ana María Sáiz and Jeremy Harris
CBP agents process asylum seeker at El Paso, Texas port of entry
Commentaries
March 2023
By  Doris Meissner
President Joe Biden in the White House.
Articles
Cover image for External Processing report
Reports
February 2023
By  Pauline Endres de Oliveira and Nikolas Feith Tan
Asylum seekers from Venezuela in Texas.
Articles
A refugee receives emergency assistance in Uganda.
Articles

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Reports
December 2018
By  Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter, Essey Workie and Isabelle Charo
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Reports
November 2018
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper and Meghan Benton
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Policy Briefs
October 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Brian Salant
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Reports
September 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
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Reports
September 2018
By  Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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Reports
July 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee

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An image of an immigration boarding line.

Need information about U.S. immigration trends or the makeup of the country's immigrant population? This useful, stats-rich article answers the most common questions about the size, shape, and changing nature of the U.S. foreign-born population. It also offers data on immigration enforcement actions, backlogs, and other elements of the U.S. immigration system.

A pile of documents on a desk.

President Joe Biden has made efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, but could see his administration's agenda slowed by massive backlogs across the immigration system. Case application wait times and immigration court queues have swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, slowing legal arrivals to the United States and undermining the entire immigration system.

Photo of U.S. President Joe Biden delivering remarks in front of White House.

While Donald Trump’s presidency is perceived as being the most active on immigration, touching nearly every aspect of the U.S. immigration system, President Joe Biden’s administration has far outpaced his predecessor in the number of executive actions taken during his first year in office—even as the pace of change has gone largely unnoticed, as this article explores.

A Dutch family at Ellis Island between 1915 and 1920.

As host to more immigrants than any other country, the United States has been shaped and reshaped by immigration over the centuries, with the issue at times becoming a flashpoint. This article covers the history of U.S. immigration and the major laws governing immigration, and provides a comprehensive overview of the present-day immigrant population.

Migrants enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The Biden administration's court-ordered restart of the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols, known informally as the Remain in Mexico policy, puts it in the awkward position of reviving a program it is simultaneously still trying to end. The Trump-era program forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait out the duration of their U.S. immigration court hearings in Mexico and was only questionably successful at deterring unauthorized arrivals.

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Video, Audio
April 19, 2021

Marking the launch of the Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World initiative, this event examines how the accessibility of asylum and protection globally has changed since the EU-Turkey deal, similar policies deployed by countries of asylum, the impacts of these policies, and what can be done t

changing climate changing migration podcast episode 11 tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
April 19, 2021

Technically, people forced to move because of climate disasters are not considered “refugees.” But the UN High Commissioner for Refugees still takes climate issues into account, and since 2020 Andrew Harper has been its special advisor on climate action.

Video, Audio
April 15, 2021

This report release event examines migration management in Mexico and Central America, and the growing government attention to migration functions, enhanced immigration enforcement, increased investments in asylum systems and existing protection frameworks, as well as labor migration policies.

2021.4.8 IOM Muse Mohammed Syrian Refugees Leaving Lebanon   Covid
Video, Audio
April 8, 2021

Marking the release of an IOM-MPI report, this two-panel discussion, features introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino and examines how the pandemic has reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond.

changing climate changing migration podcast episode 9 tile
Expert Q&A, Audio
March 26, 2021

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence.

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Recent Activity

Reports
March 2023

Although Caribbean migration is often discussed in terms of movement to North America and Europe, migration within the region has increased notably in recent years. With people on the move for work or study, to join family, and to seek safety from natural disasters or persecution, this mobility takes many forms. This report explores Caribbean migration trends and the policies and institutions put in place at national and regional levels to manage them.

Commentaries
March 2023

The border asylum proposed rule the Biden administration unveiled in February represents a bid to save the U.S. asylum system, not shut it down, as some contend. Whether it can succeed, however, depends on how it is implemented and on other steps that are beyond the bounds of the proposed rule, as this commentary explains.

Articles

Pandemic-related U.S. policies have led to more than 2.6 million migrant expulsions at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanded public benefits to cover millions more U.S. residents, and offered free COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Many of these policies are now likely to end as the Biden administration in May 2023 formally declares the pandemic to be over, although what comes next remains unclear.

Reports
February 2023

As asylum systems in many countries have come under considerable strain in recent years, there has been renewed interest in external processing—that is, conducting part or all of an asylum procedure outside a destination country’s territory. Some countries have pursued this to deter spontaneous arrivals, but as this report explores, others are using various external processing models to expand access to protection.

Video, Audio, Webinars
February 14, 2023

Marking one year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the resulting massive displacement crisis, this MPI Europe webinar examines the situation of those fleeing the war who have found refuge in Europe, implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive, integration outcomes and challenges for Ukrainian refugees, and plans for a future that contemplates reintegration for Ukrainians who will want to return to rebuild their shattered country.

Articles

Venezuelans comprise one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, nearly tripling in size from 2010 to 2021. Much of this migration has been fueled by crisis in Venezuela, where political unrest and economic strife have caused millions to flee since 2015, most remaining in Latin America. Venezuelan immigrants are far more likely than the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations to have a college degree. Take an in-depth look at this immigrant population.

Articles

Many refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants do not trust humanitarian actors, are unable to access assistance, or did not have support when they needed it. This article, featuring findings from a large-scale survey involving more than 16,000 migrants in countries around the world, provides an overview of these challenges.

Expert Q&A, Audio
February 2, 2023

Should countries extend legal protections to people displaced by climate change? This episode of Changing Climate, Changing Migration contemplates the merits of such an approach, featuring Ama Francis, a climate displacement project strategist with the International Refugee Assistance Project and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

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