E.g., 08/10/2020
E.g., 08/10/2020

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

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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
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

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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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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.

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. 

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Recent Activity

Video
July 9, 2019

This event features a smart conversation by a range of experts on U.S.-Mexico border conditions, looking at policy responses by both countries and regional cooperation.

Articles

Approximately 11,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, putting this year on track to exceed 2014's surge. As the U.S. government struggles to care for these child migrants, with public outrage mounting over reports of unsafe, filthy conditions in initial Border Patrol custody, the failure of the executive branch and Congress to plan for increased shelter and care demands are increasingly apparent, as this article explores.

Policy Briefs
June 2019

Migration and development policy discussions have edged closer to each other on the international stage. The adoption of the Global Compact for Migration in December 2018 marks an important milestone. As all eyes turn toward the compact’s implementation, this brief examines some of the key topics states have pledged to work more closely on—from labor migration and migrants’ rights, to returns and reintegration.

Commentaries
June 2019

While safe third-country agreements appear to hold the potential of deterring new asylum claims, experience suggests this may be a false promise. As the Trump administration explores the possibility of such agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, this commentary examines the evidence of safe third-country arrangements in Europe, finding them difficult to enforce and playing little role in deterring new claims.

Articles

Several years after a flurry of tech innovations arose to respond to the 2015-16 European migration crisis and assist asylum seekers, "digital litter"—now-dormant websites, broken links, and poor-quality information spread through apps and social media—is floating around. At best, digital litter is a nuisance. At worst, it can place refugees and migrants in harm's way and undermine their decision-making, as this article explores.

Video, Audio, Webinars
June 12, 2019

This MPI Europe webinar examines innovative ways to better design and implement predeparture orientation programs for resetttling refugees. The discussion features observations from a refugee who went through an orientation program before being resettled in the Netherlands, and a resettlement agency official in Norway.

Reports
June 2019

In the three years since the European migration and refugee crisis vividly captured public attention, a wave of innovative initiatives has emerged to help newcomers settle into receiving societies. Now, as the sense of crisis abates, this report explores what these initiatives will need to do to outlast the hype and produce lasting change on key integration issues such as housing, economic inclusion, and community building.

Articles

The United States has historically been the top country for refugee resettlement, but was surpassed in 2018 by Canada amid record cuts to admissions by the Trump administration. Approximately 22,500 refugees were resettled in the United States during fiscal year 2018, as well as 26,500 asylees. This article examines where these newcomers came from and many other characteristics, including religious affiliation, age, and gender.

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