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Refugee & Asylum Policy

Refugee & Asylum Policy

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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
May 2016
By  Sunder Katwala and Will Somerville
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Reports
March 2016
By  Elizabeth Collett, Paul Clewett and Susan Fratzke
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Reports
March 2016
By  Kate Hooper, Jie Zong, Randy Capps and Michael Fix
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Reports
March 2016
By  Lyn Morland, Nicole Ives, Clea McNeely and Chenoa Allen
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Fact Sheets
January 2016
By  Marc R. Rosenblum and Isabel Ball

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The Trump administration’s latest effort to narrow the ability to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border hit a legal roadblock within days of implementation, as has been the pattern for much of its immigration agenda. This article examines the actions on asylum, which alongside deployment of active-duty military to the border, are among measures taken to seek to reduce the flow of Central Americans to the United States.

Source Famine Migration

Despite long study of famine, there is a remarkable lack of research about the linkages between mass starvation and migration. Among the unanswered questions: Does migration mitigate starvation or worsen it? With famines returning, most notably in war-torn Yemen, after a period of decline, the need for knowledge is essential. This article examines the causes and migration patterns of great famines from the 19th century onward.

JeffSessions2018

In less than two years as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions oversaw wide-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system. Even as the zero-tolerance policy, fights with "sanctuary" cities, and DACA termination might be more visible, Sessions' enduring legacy may be his muscular use of a little-noted authority, which he wielded to significantly reshape immigration and asylum policy by referring immigration cases to himself.

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Uganda is the third largest refugee-hosting nation in the world, with more than 1 million refugees arriving in the last two years. Amid strong public solidarity for displaced neighbors, the government has emphasized the right to employment, enterprise, and free movement for refugees despite the country's poverty and limited resources. Can this generous "Uganda model" be sustained? This article explores the challenges and opportunities.

PolicyBeat Flores 2018

As the Trump administration moves to be able to indefinitely detain parents and children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether illegal border crossers or asylum seekers, recent apprehension trends and history suggest hardline policies might not be a slam-dunk deterrent with a Central American population often driven by the desire to escape gang or other violence, as this Policy Beat explores.

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Video, Audio
November 2, 2017

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar explores some of the responses made by school districts to bring immigrant and refugee newcomer students up to speed in English and basic academic skills, all while focused on the educational system’s ultimate goal of high school completion with the skills necessary for today’s college and career demands. The discussion focuses on how schools create and expand systems around the identification of students’ immediate and ongoing academic and socioemotional needs, and how they design programs and curricular pathways to balance these needs with state policy constraints. 

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Video, Audio
October 12, 2017

The refugee and migration crisis in Europe thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of European Union (EU) and national government agendas, but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome design and implementation challenges. This webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy. The discussion also highlights two MPI Europe publications, Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe and Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe.

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Video, Audio
September 25, 2017

In a year when immigration has been prominent in the headlines, the 14th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference provides timely policy and legal analysis, with expert discussion covering the shifting immigration policy priorities under a new administration, including changes in immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee resettlement, the treatment of unaccompanied minors and the

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Audio
August 31, 2017

Durante este seminario, ponentes presentaron hallazgos de un reciente informe que utiliza datos de agencias gubernamentales mexicanas, entrevistas con funcionarios clave y relatos de la sociedad civil para examinar el marco legal para la protección de menores no acompañados y su aplicación, al igual que las brechas entre este marco y su aplicación durante los procesos de detención, interrogación y alojamiento. El presidente de MPI, Andrew Selee, también expuso cómo el cambio en la dinámica política en Estados Unidos puede afectar las cuestiones migratorias con México, así como los efectos en la relación bilateral en medio de tensiones sobre el muro fronterizo, la renegociación del acuerdo del TLCAN y una cifra significativa de repatriaciones de migrantes mexicanos.

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Video, Audio
May 24, 2017

Marking the release of an MPI Europe report commissioned as part of the EU-FRANK project, this webinar examines critical gaps in the research and evaluation of refugee resettlement programs and recommendations for improving evidence gathering and knowledge sharing between resettlement countries. 

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Recent Activity

Reports
November 2019

One of the major challenges Canada faced during its extraordinary push to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees during a four-month period was to find housing for these newcomers. This report explores how the government, resettlement case workers, and private citizens tackled this challenge—balancing cost and location, access to services, and more—and how lessons learned can improve refugee housing practices for other countries going forward.

Articles

The sub-Saharan African immigrant population in the United States is a small, but quickly growing, one. Between 2010 and 2018, the size of the sub-Saharan African population increased 52 percent, far outpacing the overall rise in the foreign born. Immigrants coming from the 51 sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are diverse in their origins and socioeconomic characteristics, as this Spotlight explores.

Video, Audio
October 7, 2019

With immigration a central plank of the Trump administration's policy agenda, the 16th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, held in October 2019, featured analysis by top experts in and out of government regarding changing policies implemented 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.

Video, Audio
October 29, 2019

Responsables de políticos principales y partes interesadas de América Latina, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales claves, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre los desafíos futuros mientras gobiernos latinoamericanos buscan establecer las estrategias para responder a flujos migratorios forzados a gran escala, como los de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Video, Audio
October 29, 2019

Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from Latin America, as well as representatives of major international institutions, offer their views on the challenges ahead as Latin American governments seek to chart strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows, such as those from Venezuela and Nicaragua. Spanish and English versions of the remarks are available.

Articles

Nearly 50,000 asylum seekers have entered Canada irregularly via land crossing from the United States since spring 2017—contributing to a doubling in the overall number of asylum requests seen in 2016. Based on interviews with asylum claimants, this article analyzes their motivations for making the journey and the political implications of rising irregular migration to Canada.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

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