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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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Articles
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Policy Briefs
May 2017
By  Blair Levin, Paul De Sa and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
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Fact Sheets
April 2017
By  Sela Cowger, Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce

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Approximately 50,000 of Germany's 170,000 tolerated asylum seekers are expected to will qualify for a residency permit under a law passed in March 2007. MPI's Eric Leise reports.

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Since 1983, the United States has resettled more than 1.6 million refugees. Audrey Singer and Jill H. Wilson of The Brookings Institution present the first report on U.S. metropolitan destinations, where the vast majority of refugees were placed between 1983 and 2004.
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This summer's conflict between Israel and Hezbollah displaced Lebanese but also affected Lebanon's hundreds of thousands migrant workers and refugees. MPI's Kara Murphy reports on these groups and highlights the Lebanese diaspora's efforts to help.

Not long after the United States passed the 1980 Refugee Act, thousands of people began fleeing civil war in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Their treatment in the United States, linked to U.S. foreign policy, spurred the Sanctuary Movement and efforts to grant them refugee status, as Susan Gzesh of the University of Chicago explains.

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Former Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres became the 10th UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005. Guterres talks with the Migration Information Source about refugee protection, challenges to the asylum system, internally displaced persons, and the media’s reporting on asylum and refugee issues.

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Recent Activity

Reports
May 2017

With displacement at a record high, governments around the world are looking for ways to jumpstart, expand, or maximize the impact of their refugee resettlement programs. Yet the evidence base regarding the effectiveness of such programs is particularly thin. This report maps the gaps in knowledge that exist and identifies areas where further research could help inform policymakers' actions.

Audio, Webinars
May 11, 2017

This MPI webinar explores the recent “tech turn” in refugee protection and integration, and considers whether the tech community's interventions in this area are likely to have a lasting impact. Speakers discuss the most promising innovations and their broader implications for policymakers. They discuss the challenges and opportunities for governments as they seek to work with new actors such as tech companies. And they also consider the broader digital infrastructure needs of refugee camps and services—including the crucial issue of Internet and mobile connectivity for refugees.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Policy Briefs
May 2017

Now, more than ever, mobile and Internet connectivity play a crucial role in helping refugees stay safe, build livelihoods, and keep in touch with family. Yet many face challenges in getting and staying connected, both in transit and after arrival. This policy brief draws on the model of national broadband plans to propose a blueprint for improving the connectivity of refugees and host communities around the world.

Articles

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.

Fact Sheets
April 2017

During his first 100 days in office, President Trump has taken a sweeping set of actions on immigration, ranging from imposing a travel ban to cutting refugee admissions, "extreme" vetting, and fortifying immigration enforcement at the border and in the U.S. interior. This fact sheet examines the major immigration actions taken to date, legal challenges, and related policy and personnel developments.

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 12, 2017

Public anxiety about immigration and the fast pace of social change has reached a boiling point in many parts of Europe, contributing (in part) to the ascent of populist far-right parties. This discussion focuses on how the French election is unfolding, what we can learn from Brexit and the Dutch elections, and what these results portend (if anything) for the next round of political contests in Europe. Experts consider how governments can manage broader public concerns about rapid social change, economic opportunity, and security in ways that can reduce public anxiety over immigration and restore the public's trust. 

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