E.g., 04/08/2020
E.g., 04/08/2020

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
July 2018
By Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee
Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador
Articles
Travel ban protest at the Supreme Court
Reports
June 2018
By Elizabeth Collett and Camille Le Coz
Commentaries
June 2018
By Elizabeth Collett and Susan Fratzke

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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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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.

An internally displaced Colombian family outside Bogota.

Colombia has more internally displaced persons (IDPs) than any other country in the world, the result of a 52-year civil war. Beyond improving the lives of its 7.3 million IDPs, the country faces a number of crucial migration issues as it works to achieve stability in the wake of an historic peace accord signed in late 2016. This country profile examines historical trends and current and future migration challenges in Colombia.

In 2015, 43.3 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the population. The foreign-born population grew more slowly than in prior years, up 2 percent from 2014. Get sought-after data on U.S. immigration trends, including top countries of origin, Mexican migration, refugee admissions, illegal immigration, health-care coverage, and much more in this Spotlight article.

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt President Trump's controversial executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement has strong legal parallels to an earlier injunction, which blocked a very different Obama administration initiative on immigration two years ago in a challenge mounted by Republican governors. The two cases have brought new focus to the limits of executive authority in the immigration arena.

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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

Reports
July 2018

President Trump has made reshaping the U.S. immigration system a top priority. Yet the fragmented nature of policy-making in the United States—with power split between branches and levels of government—has made it difficult to pursue some of his most ambitious proposals. This report explores the evolution of migration policy under Trump, and what these changes may mean in the long run.

Articles

The deepening of Venezuela's social, economic, and political implosion has resulted in the fastest movement of people across borders in Latin American history. Neighboring countries have responded with a patchwork of policy measures, though the scale and growing diversity of Venezuelan arrivals have challenged regional actors, as this article explores.

Reports
July 2018

European countries have ramped up their investments in helping refugees find work and integrate into society. Yet little hard evidence exists of what programs and policies work best. This report proposes a new framework for thinking smartly about integration programming, using cost-benefit analysis to look beyond short-term, economic outcomes to also measure indirect benefits through a social-value concept.

Reports
July 2018

While commentators proclaimed the 2017 Dutch election results a rebuff of radical-right populism, this report makes clear that electoral success is not the only way to influence policymaking. Taking the Netherlands as a case study, it examines how radical-right parties in Western Europe have shaped immigration policy agendas and outcomes by rewriting narratives and forcing mainstream parties further to the right.

Articles

Though the Supreme Court handed the Trump administration a major victory by upholding its much-contested travel ban, less noted has been the fact that the ruling left an opening for future challenges to the policy of barring groups of foreign nationals from the country. This Policy Beat explores the evolution of the travel ban, the justices' arguments for and against, and changes in visa grants from travel-ban countries.

Reports
June 2018

Though hardly new to most Nordic countries, radical-right parties have grown in popular support and political power in recent years. This report analyzes the role immigration has played in their rise and recent electoral fortunes in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. It also examines the strategies other parties have adopted in an attempt to limit their growth.

Reports
June 2018

As maritime arrivals climbed in 2015, EU policymakers struggled to mount a coordinated response. A range of ad hoc crisis-response tools emerged, but many officials worry that if another migration emergency were to hit Europe, the European Union may still be unprepared. This report traces the evolution of the EU response to the 2015–16 crisis and lays out recommendations to lock in progress and shore up weaknesses.

Commentaries
June 2018

European leaders have settled on a recurring proposition to address the ongoing political crisis on migration: the creation of asylum processing centers beyond EU borders. The plans championed by various EU leaders are diverse, the details fuzzy. What they have in common is a near-universal focus on shifting responsibility for dealing with refugees and migrants upstream, as this commentary examines.

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