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E.g., 02/04/2023
Refugee & Asylum Policy

Refugee & Asylum Policy

_RefugeeAsylumPolicy credit

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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A supporter holds a sign reading "Finish the Wall" during a rally for President Donald Trump in Mesa, Arizona.

In the United States, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on immigration. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have offered sharply diverging policy positions, and the outcome of the election is sure to have profound consequences for the U.S. immigration system. Yet this partisan divide is relatively new. Just two decades ago, the parties were much more united on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy and society.

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When he was elected prime minister in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised what he called “strict but fair” reforms to secure Greece's borders and speed up transfers of asylum seekers crowding Aegean islands. Yet domestic and geopolitical tensions continued to roil the islands, later joined by a global pandemic, culminating in a fire that destroyed most of Lesvos's Moria refugee camp. This article examines Greece's efforts to strike a delicate balance on migration in a complex era.

An Indian internal migrant walks with her children in Delhi

India has no refugee law and has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, leaving many of its estimated 250,000 recognized refugees in a legal gray area. Meanwhile, more than 450 million internal migrants form the foundation of the country's economy, yet often have trouble accessing government benefits, identity cards, and other services. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these shared vulnerabilities into stark relief.

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For more than a century, Haiti was considered a prime destination for migrants from the United States and around the world. In the wake of the Haitian Revolution, Haiti marketed itself to freed slaves and others as an island haven where they could break free from the strictures of the United States and a global system of slavery. That changed in the 20th century. Now, there are roughly 1.6 million Haitians living in other countries.

Migrants aboard a rubber vessel are rescued in the Mediterranean

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

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Video, Audio
November 18, 2020

This MPI Europe webinar reflects on the implications of this current moment for European economies and societies and the role of immigration and immigrant integration policy, and highlight research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on the fiscal and demographic impacts of migration.

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Video, Audio
November 17, 2020

What does it mean to “secure the homeland” in the 21st century? And how do the Department of Homeland Security's immigration and border security missions figure into the equation? Top security experts assess DHS’s evolution and how it organizes its operations and migration management. They also offer recommendations on how to improve U.S. homeland security.
 

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Video, Expert Q&A, Audio
November 9, 2020

What actions might the incoming Biden administration take on immigration, whether to unwind some of the most restrictive Trump policies or advance an affirmative agenda of its own? And what challenges and opportunities will the Biden administration face?

2020 IOM MuseMohammad Border area of Haquillas is home to several Venezuelans
Audio
October 27, 2020

En dicho diálogo, algunos de los representantes de las organizaciones que conforman la red en Norteamérica, Centroamérica, Sudamérica y el Caribe, comparten la manera como se coordinan, las acciones que se llevan a cabo y las dificultades, retos y desafíos que atraviesan.

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Video
September 21, 2020

This year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference examines the immigration policy agenda under the Trump administration, including changes in the asylum system; the vast societal upheaval brought on by COVID-19 and the rising racial justice movement; what the future of U.S. immigration may look like; and many other topics related to U.S. immigration policy.

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Recent Activity

Reports
October 2021

La cantidad de migrantes africanos que viajan por América del Sur y Central con la esperanza de llegar a la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México para buscar asilo es pequeña, pero está aumentando. Este informe examina los factores que impulsan la migración africana a través de las Américas, las rutas y los desafíos comunes, y las respuestas de países de tránsito en América Latina.

Reports
October 2021

The number of African migrants traveling through South and Central America in hopes of reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, many seeking asylum, is small but increasing. This report examines the factors driving African migration through the Americas, common routes and challenges, and how transit countries are responding.

Video, Audio, Webinars
October 4, 2021

This virtual conference explores how the diverse landscape of partnerships, social enterprises, participatory models, and community-led initiatives spearheading social innovation for inclusion has fared during COVID-19. It also focuses on how this ecosystem can emerge strengthened from the pandemic, and be a vital force in addressing new humanitarian challenges.

Reports
October 2021

Nearly two decades since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was founded in 2003, U.S. immigration governance is buckling from breakdowns in performance across key immigration components and partner agencies. This report advances ideas for DHS to fix its governance to manage immigration as a system, focusing on challenges in mission and structure, intra-DHS and interdepartmental collaboration, funding, and institutional culture.

Articles

In 1980, more than 2.5 million Ethiopian refugees lived in other countries. Now, Ethiopians are more likely to migrate for labor reasons, particularly to the Middle East and southern Africa, and meanwhile the country has become a refuge for humanitarian migrants from its neighbors. This article traces the history of migration from, to, and through Ethiopia.

Video, Audio
September 27, 2021

The 2021 annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured a keynote conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and analysis by top experts on the early months of the Biden administration and how immigration law and policy can respond to our changing world in a manner that is humane and in the national interest.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 20, 2021

En esta conversación, líderes de ciudades medianas examinan las respuestas sociales de la region que han resultado en la integración de nuevos migrantes en comunidades locales.

Articles

The chaotic arrival of thousands of Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2021 was the culmination of a journey through the Americas that began for many a decade ago. This article examines how Brazil became a refuge for many after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, and how Haitians then moved on to Chile and other countries as conditions changed, and then onward again further north.

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