E.g., 02/27/2021
E.g., 02/27/2021

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

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Reports
October 2016
By  B. Heidi Ellis, Erin N. Hulland , Alisa B. Miller, Colleen Barrett Bixby, Barbara Lopes Cardozo and Theresa S. Betancourt
Reports
October 2016
By  Meghan Benton and Alex Glennie
Books
October 2016
By  Kathleen Newland, Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper and Sarah Flamm
Reports
October 2016
By  Katy Long and Sarah Rosengaertner
Reports
September 2016
By  Christopher Horwood and Kate Hooper

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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.

Immigrants in Stockholm

Swedish asylum policy has taken a restrictionist turn since the country received a record-breaking number of asylum seekers in 2015 and after electoral gains by the nationalist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats pushed the governing coalition to a harder line. Still, other aspects of the country’s migration policy remain welcoming, as this country profile explores.

Migrant processing at San Ysidro port of entry

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.

Famine Memorial in Dublin

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.

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Audio
January 18, 2018

This MPI Europe discussion brings together two of the most experienced thinkers on migration policy— António Vitorino and Demetrios G. Papademetriou—to explore what will be needed over the next years to ensure that the properly managed movement of people remains an integral, positive force in the world.

Audio
December 12, 2017

To reflect on the outcomes of the stocktaking meeting in December 2017 on the progress made towards conceptualizing the Global Compact for Migration, MPI hosted a conversation with Eva Åkerman Börje, from the office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration, and Ilse Hahn, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Audio
November 16, 2017

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many nontraditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—pioneered solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers.

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. 

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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Recent Activity

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.

Video, Audio
September 27, 2019

Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border, discusses how Colombia is coping with the influx of Venezuelan migrants, plans for future policy decisions surrounding this migration, and developments in regional and international cooperation.

Articles

Buoyed by initial successes challenging Trump administration immigration actions such as the travel ban in federal court, many critics expected the judiciary to act as a brake on major changes to the immigration system. Yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown a willingness to affirm the executive branch's immigration policies, most recently permitting what is arguably the most significant asylum policy change in four decades to proceed.

Commentaries
September 2019

Even as refugee admissions have dropped sharply during the Trump administration, some countries and religions have been significantly more affected than others, as this commentary explores. In fiscal year 2019, 79 percent of refugees were Christian and 16 percent Muslim—as compared to 44 percent Christian and 46 percent Muslim in fiscal year 2016, which was the last full year of the Obama administration.

Reports
September 2019

La migración entre México y Estados Unidos ha cambiado dramáticamente en los últimos años, pero las políticas y la retórica política en ambos países no se han actualizado a este contexto a la misma velocidad. Este reporte explora esta nueva realidad migratoria y cómo los dos gobiernos podrían trabajar juntos para abordar los desafíos de políticas públicas que tienen en común.

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