E.g., 02/25/2021
E.g., 02/25/2021

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

Refugee Sponsorship Programs: A Global State of Play and Opportunities for Investment
Policy Briefs
December 2019
By  Susan Fratzke, Lena Kainz, Hanne Beirens, Emma Dorst and Jessica Bolter
Cover of the report Volunteers and Sponsors: A Catalyst for Refugee Integration?
Reports
November 2019
By  Susan Fratzke and Emma Dorst
A woman stands outside in front of a crowd of people
Articles
Asylum seekers cross into Canada

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Reports
March 2017
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
Reports
March 2017
By  Kate Hooper, Maria Vincenza Desiderio and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
February 2017
By  Sarah Pierce and Doris Meissner
Reports
November 2016
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Meghan Benton
Reports
November 2016
By  Jane M. Dyer and Laurie Baksh
Reports
November 2016
By  Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, Andrea J. Hoopes and Jasmine Matheson
Reports
November 2016
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Susan Fratzke

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U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.

The Trump administration took sweeping action in 2018 to slow legal immigration, make life harder for some immigrants already in the United States, rebuff would-be asylum seekers, and reduce refugee resettlement. Shaping a narrative of crisis at the border, the administration significantly changed the U.S. asylum system, deployed troops and tear gas, and separated families—yet Central American migrants continued to arrive.

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.

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.

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Video, Audio
April 20, 2018

This webinar, featuring findings from an MPI Europe report, examines major challenges facing refugee resettlement peer-support projects in Europe and key lessons for Member States. 

Video, Audio
April 12, 2018

On this webinar, authors discuss their findings, highlighting promising policies and practices for serving young children of refugees and asylum seekers in nine key host countries, as well as key areas in which ECEC services need to be strengthened.

Video, Audio
March 21, 2018

This webinar focuses on patterns of home language use across different early childhood education and care (ECEC) program types, and the potential of the Sobrato Early Academic Language model to improve instruction and outcomes for DLLs in superdiverse settings. 

Video, Audio
February 22, 2018

As the number and share of Dual Language Learners (DLLs) continues to grow across the United States, diversity within this population is also increasing. This webinar marks the release of a report providing analysis of the diversity within the DLL population nationwide and at the state and local levels. Speakers discuss data on the three rapidly growing subgroups within the DLL population: Black and Asian American and Pacific Islander DLLs and young children of refugees, and the implications for the early education and care field and K-12 education systems. 

Video, Audio
January 31, 2018

Is 2018 the year that the European Union takes leadership on migration on the international stage, or where it focuses inwards on healing internal divisions and delivering on overdue migration and asylum system reforms? This webinar looks ahead at the major external and internal events affecting migration on the continent over the next year.

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Recent Activity

Policy Briefs
December 2019

From Argentina to New Zealand and points beyond, a growing number of countries have begun exploring refugee sponsorship as a way to expand protection capacity at a time of rising need, involving individuals and communities more directly in resettlement. This brief takes stock of what both new and well-established programs need to succeed, and outlines opportunities for private philanthropic actors to support them.

Reports
November 2019

Rising numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and North America have been matched by an equally unprecedented outpouring of public support. How can service providers most effectively harness this volunteering? This report considers where community members can add the most value to integration efforts and offers recommendations for how policymakers can facilitate the effective engagement of communities in integration initiatives.

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.

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