E.g., 03/28/2020
E.g., 03/28/2020

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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Faced with a flexible, diverse, and seemingly ubiquitous smuggling industry, governments have struggled to respond. Smuggling and trafficking networks, while hardly new phenomena, were put under a harsh spotlight in 2015 for their role as intermediaries in shaping the scale and flow of migrants and asylum seekers around the world.

As seemingly endless waves of asylum seekers and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015, politicians from across the political spectrum invoked forceful anti-immigrant rhetoric that resonated in some quarters. Mainstream politicians began co-opting the tougher, more enforcement-laden language of far-right groups as all parties sought to reassure voters in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.

Child migrants traveling alone to Europe or the United States face similar dangers and are particularly at risk of abuse and trafficking. The arrival of tens of thousands of such children in Europe and the United States have overwhelmed accommodations as well as legal and integration processes. Furthermore, the unprecedented flows have sparked heated public debate in a number of cities.

Systemic corruption has flourished in South Africa's asylum system due to large backlogs and rising demand. Though apartheid's end ushered in a progressive refugee law, inefficiency, administrative justice violations, and corruption have narrowed the humanitarian protection channel. Asylum seekers and refugees often face the stark choice of paying bribes to access services or risking deportation.

The United States is the largest refugee resettlement country in the world, with 69,933 newly arrived refugees granted protection in 2015. This article delves into the most recent refugee and asylum data in the United States, including top countries of origin, states of settlement, age, gender, and more for humanitarian arrivals.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio, Webinars
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. 

Articles

Nearly 4 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes by violence or food insecurity since late 2013, roughly half seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Drought and conflict have converged in the young country to fuel one of the world's most severe humanitarian emergencies. This article examines refugee flows from South Sudan, underlying drivers, and regional and international responses to the crisis.

Video, Audio, Webinars
October 12, 2017

The refugee and migration crisis in Europe thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of European Union (EU) and national government agendas, but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome design and implementation challenges. This webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy. The discussion also highlights two MPI Europe publications, Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe and Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe.

Video, Audio
September 25, 2017

In a year when immigration has been prominent in the headlines, the 14th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference provides timely policy and legal analysis, with expert discussion covering the shifting immigration policy priorities under a new administration, including changes in immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee resettlement, the treatment of unaccompanied minors and their families, Temporary Protected Status, and DACA, along with the responses from the judicial and congressional branches, various stakeholders, and state and local governments. 

Commentaries
September 2017

The Trump administration’s decision to set the refugee ceiling at 45,000 for fiscal 2018 marks the lowest level since the refugee resettlement program was created in 1980. At a time of record humanitarian pressures, with more than 22.5 million refugees worldwide, the United States appears to be abandoning its leadership role and other traditional resettlement countries are shouldering a bigger load, as this commentary explores.

Commentaries
September 2017

No enterprise in the United States could survive if it only counted the costs of doing business and ignored the benefits side of the ledger. But that is exactly how some Trump administration officials are evaluating the refugee resettlement program, rejecting a well-researched Department of Health and Human Services report that finds refugees brought in $63 billion more revenue to governments than they cost over a ten-year period, as this commentary notes.

Policy Briefs
September 2017

Across Europe, grassroots efforts have emerged in the wake of crisis that draw members of the public into the process of receiving refugees and supporting their integration. This policy brief examines the many forms community-based or private sponsorship can take, what benefits such approaches may hold for European communities, and the tradeoffs policymakers face in their implementation.

Articles

The changing nature of conflict has brought an uptick in gender-based violence in war-torn countries, with instances of rape particularly common in conflict zones. While many women leave their countries to escape such violence, setting off on the journey is no guarantee of safety, as they are vulnerable to further gender-based abuse in transit and at destination. This article explores the rates of gender violence among refugee, asylee, and migrant women, and examines supports available to survivors in the United States.

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