E.g., 01/28/2021
E.g., 01/28/2021

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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The Brussels terrorist attacks have renewed national debate in the United States over whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists to enter the country. Meanwhile, federal courts have frustrated state efforts to block resettlement of Syrian refugees even as some members of Congress have sought to reform the refugee admissions process through new legislation, as this article explores.

Afghanistan, once the world's largest origin of refugees, is increasingly experiencing mixed migration, including seasonal and permanent outflows for both economic and humanitarian reasons, internal displacement, and refugee returns. This feature article examines the current trends with a focus on return migration and the development impacts at the intersection of displacement and urbanization.

The complex push and pull factors driving child and family migration from Central America to the United States have changed little since the 2014 crisis. Despite some fluctuation in arrival numbers, recent trends suggest the characteristics of an enduring phenomenon. This Policy Beat explores the latest developments in U.S. policy responses, including enforcement operations, development assistance, and family detention.

Drawn by generous asylum policies and the region's welcoming reputation, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived in Scandinavia in 2015. As the unprecedented flow overwhelmed the asylum systems of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, lawmakers began to recalibrate their policies, tightening asylum benefits in a number of significant ways, as this article explores.

Lesvos became a major focal point in Europe's migration crisis as more than half a million migrants and asylum seekers transited the Greek island in 2015. Describing the work of ad hoc volunteer-led efforts and professional aid organizations, this article delves into the evolution of the aid response across the island and the challenges of integrating humanitarian operations.

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Video, Audio
June 9, 2010
Breakfast briefing with T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Kathleen Newland.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
June 2018

The House is set to vote on two bills that would largely dismantle the U.S. asylum system at the southern border by significantly narrowing grounds to apply for asylum, eliminating protections for the vast majority of unaccompanied minors, and unilaterally declaring Mexico a safe third country. The result would be a sharp reduction in the number of people permitted to seek humanitarian protection, as this commentary explains.

Articles

In recent years, women from Central America have begun to make up a greater share of migrant apprehensions in Mexico and at the U.S. Southwest border. Systemic insecurity, poverty, and corruption are among the factors driving women and others to flee. This article explores the increase in female migration from Central America and the challenges these women face on their journey.

Articles

Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.

Articles

Over the past decade, migration has emerged as one of the most pressing issues facing governments around the world. Nearing the end of his tenure as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing sat down with MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland to reflect on his ten years leading IOM, as well as the international community's role on migration going forward.

Commentaries
May 2018

The European Commission has proposed an 89.5 billion-euro fund to combat irregular migration by investing heavily in countries outside the European Union. This commentary argues the ultimate aims of the policy remain obscure, and with some of the money to be drawn from development aid funds is certain to raise tensions between institutions with conflicting goals and mandates.

Reports
May 2018

Fostering the social and economic inclusion of refugees has long been the domain of governments and NGOs. In the wake of the 2015–16 European migration and refugee crisis, however, new actors have emerged and taken on important roles in integrating newcomers. This report describes key discussions and takeaways from an MPI Europe conference on these developments.

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 20, 2018

This webinar, featuring findings from an MPI Europe report, examines major challenges facing refugee resettlement peer-support projects in Europe and key lessons for Member States. 

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 12, 2018

On this webinar, authors discuss their findings, highlighting promising policies and practices for serving young children of refugees and asylum seekers in nine key host countries, as well as key areas in which ECEC services need to be strengthened. In particular, the webinar looks at innovative national and local policies in Sweden that support young refugee children in their early learning experiences. 

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