E.g., 12/03/2020
E.g., 12/03/2020

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

U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
Articles
Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona
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Migrants returning to Ethiopia
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Reports
December 2018
By  Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter, Essey Workie and Isabelle Charo
South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
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Reports
January 2008
By  Kathleen Newland
Reports
June 2007
By  Kathleen Newland, Hiroyuki Tanaka and Laura Barker
Reports
March 2004
By  Joanne van Selm
Policy Briefs
December 2003
By  Gregor Noll and Joanne van Selm
Reports
December 2003
By  Monette Zard
Reports
October 2003
By  Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick, Tamara Woroby and Monica Matts

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Grand Canal in Venice

Long a country of emigration—13 million Italians went abroad between 1880 and 1915—Italy has also experienced significant inflows of Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African workers in recent decades. Italy has also been on the frontlines of Europe's refugee crisis. This country profile examines Italy's shifting migration patterns, policy responses over time, and debates.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Western Balkans route during the peak of the migration crisis. While Balkan countries initially facilitated movements northward, pressure from the European Union led to cascading border controls, which left thousands stranded in the region. This article examines the role of Balkan countries during the thick of the crisis and subsequent regional impacts.

A Syrian refugee woman uses a special e-card to purchase food at a grocery store in Turkey.

Turkey has been on the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis from the beginning. The vast majority of Turkey's nearly 3.2 million Syrian asylum seekers live in cities, putting pressure on the limited resources and legal authority of local governments to serve them. This article examines Istanbul's creative approaches to meeting the needs of this vulnerable population while balancing the concerns of local citizens.

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.

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Video, Audio
September 14, 2015

A discussion, including the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, examining the huge strains on the global protection system and how it can better respond to protracted refugee situations and other long-term displacement, focusing on the conclusions of the Transatlantic Council on Migration's recent meeting,

Video, Expert Q&A
September 11, 2015

Demetrios Papademetriou, President Emeritus of MPI and President of MPI Europe, explains the origins of the refugee crisis in Europe and discusses actions that Europe and other regions can take in the near and long term to address the flows.

Video, Audio
July 22, 2015

This webinar examines innovative ideas to adapt the global protection system to better meet the growing challenges of forced migration and to empower refugees through development-led responses to displacement.

Audio
July 8, 2015

This teleconference, the first in a series from MPI Europe on the future of asylum policy in the European Union, focuses on the politics and mechanics of asylum seeker relocation and whether a recent contentious European Summit represents a new phase of intra-EU cooperation on asylum.

Video, Audio
June 26, 2015

A discussion of the findings of a new MPI report examining refugee characteristics at arrival for the ten largest national-origin groups resettled between 2002-2013, as well as their integration outcomes with respect to employment and incomes, English proficiency and education levels, and public benefit use.

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Recent Activity

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Video, Audio, Webinars
December 13, 2018

On this webinar, MPI researchers and Utah and Colorado refugee coordinators explore promising practices to better serve refugee families, including education services for refugee youth, innovative efforts to secure better jobs for adult refugees, and other services designed to aid integration over time. They also discuss the potential for implementing and supporting two-generation approaches to refugee integration at a time when the system’s funding and capacity are in peril.  

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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.

Reports
December 2018

At a time when the U.S. refugee resettlement system is facing unprecedented challenges, innovative and cost-effective tools for supporting refugee integration are in demand. This report explores how a two-generation approach to service provision could help all members of refugee families—from young children to working-age adults and the elderly—find their footing.

Articles

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.

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