E.g., 09/29/2020
E.g., 09/29/2020

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

Reports
November 2018
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper, and Meghan Benton
Commentaries
November 2018
By Doris Meissner
Articles
Commentaries
October 2018
By Susan Fratzke and Hanne Beirens
Policy Briefs
October 2018
By Kathleen Newland and Brian Salant

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Reports
December 2003
By Monette Zard
Reports
October 2003
By Joanne van Selm
Reports
October 2003
By Joanne van Selm
Reports
October 2003
By Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick, Tamara Woroby, and Monica Matts
Policy Briefs
April 2003
By Monette Zard and Erin Patrick
Reports
June 2002
By Kathleen Newland, Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick, and Monette Zard

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One of Cuba's many old cars on a street in Havana.

The Cuban Revolution unleashed a massive exodus from the island. Cuba is now among the top origin countries of immigrants in the United States—where for decades they have received preferential treatment—with smaller numbers across Europe and Latin America. This article explores the evolution of Cuban migration, particularly within the context of the Cold War and shifting U.S. policies toward the country.

A Burundian refugee family outside their home in Boise, Idaho.

The United States has historically led the world on refugee resettlement, and today remains the top country, having resettled approximately 85,000 refugees in fiscal 2016. It also granted asylum status to more than 26,000 individuals in FY 2015. This article examines characteristics of U.S. refugee and asylee populations, including top countries of origin, states of resettlement, age and gender, and more.

A man speaks at a gathering of Muslims from across Michigan at the state Capitol.

A number of high-profile terrorist attacks in the West have raised questions about why geopolitical events sometimes trigger strong, violent reactions in certain diaspora communities, but not in others. What could be behind this divergence in responses? This article examines how Muslim communities in London and Detroit have reacted to conflict abroad, as well as the factors that drive reactive conflict spillover.

A woman sells West African clothing at a market in Washington, DC.

The population of sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States has grown rapidly in recent decades, from 130,000 in 1980 to 1.7 million in 2015. The current flow of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa consists of skilled professionals, individuals seeking reunification with relatives, and refugees from war-torn countries. This article provides the latest data on immigrants from the region in the United States.

A sign at the Quebec border advises travelers to turn back and report to a port of entry.

Amid a sense of declining welcome in the United States, growing numbers of asylum seekers have crossed into Canada in recent months, entering illegally to take advantage of a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. The result? Refugee advocates and politicians in Canada are issuing growing calls to change or suspend the treaty. This article examines the treaty's history, effects, and current challenges.

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Video, Audio
May 4, 2015

A discussion on the situation of Syrian refugees, recent developments in the region, and the U.S. humanitarian response, along with reports from recent fact-finding missions to the region by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Refugee Council USA.

Video, Audio
April 17, 2015

A discussion with the Director of The White House Domestic Policy Council on the content of the new National Integration Plan delivered to the President by the recently created White House Task Force on New Americans, along with the plan for implementation.

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.

Video, Audio
March 12, 2015

This webinar, with perspectives from MPI, the WE Global Network, and Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service, examines the role of economic development initiatives and refugee resettlement programs/infrastructure in immigrant integration.

Video, Audio
October 21, 2014

This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.

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Recent Activity

Articles

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.

Reports
November 2018

In many recent European and U.S. elections, candidates touting nativist populist and anti-immigrant platforms have enjoyed rising support. As populism moves from the fringes into the mainstream, this report takes stock of the economic and social forces driving its rise, the diverse ways populists are influencing immigration policymaking, and what it will take to build a new center around immigration and integration issues.

Commentaries
November 2018

Asylum reform, not the "shock-and-awe" deployment of thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to deal with the migrant caravan, represents the real path to addressing the current realities of mixed economic and humanitarian migration flows, as the person who presided over the last reform of the U.S. asylum system in the mid-1990s explains in this commentary.

Articles

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.

Commentaries
October 2018

Amid disagreement over the appropriate way to manage European borders and grant access to asylum, there is one policy priority that has support across (most) Member States and the institutions of the European Union: the need to provide safe, legal channels for migration, particularly for refugees. Private sponsorship of refugees may have a valuable role to play in meeting this need, as this MPI Europe commentary explains.

Policy Briefs
October 2018

In recent years, questions of whether, when, and how to return failed asylum seekers and other migrants to their origin countries have dominated migration debates in many countries. These issues were also taken up in the negotiation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, moving the discussion beyond the typical bilateral one. This policy brief outlines how states might more constructively work together on returns and reintegration programs.

Video, Audio, Webinars
October 3, 2018

This Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines possible scenarios for how social, economic, and technological trends could affect jobs, labor market policy, education and social policies, and migrant integration. Speakers also explored the potential of coding schools for refugees to help alleviate skills shortages and provide a pathway to work.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 27, 2018

Speakers, including report authors, discuss the findings from an MPI report that analyzes the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to a crisis point. During the discussion, the authors propose common-sense steps that can be implemented now to jump-start the system's rescue.

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