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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Japan is one of the world's most generous contributors to humanitarian appeals, yet accepts a very small number of asylum seekers—indeed only 11 were granted refugee status in 2014. Even as Japan has witnessed a record number of asylum applications, the approval rate has declined. This feature explores Japan's low acceptance of asylum seekers, including institutional barriers and negative public perceptions.

As Europe struggles to reach a consensus on how to respond to the refugee crisis, the seemingly unending flow of migrants and refugees arriving on its shores is bringing national asylum systems to their breaking point. This article analyzes the context of the crisis, discussing the root causes of the flows, why they are spiking now, and growing protection challenges.

Facing legal setbacks and political opposition, the Obama administration may be required to overhaul its policy of detaining families in immigration custody. Recent court decisions have undermined the government's justification of the policy as a deterrent to future illegal immigration and may result in the release of more than 1,400 unauthorized immigrant women and children.

Public frustration with decades of poor governance and pervasive corruption in Ukraine culminated in the EuroMaidan revolution in November 2013. Since then, violent conflict and Russia's annexation of Crimea have displaced an estimated 2 million people, both internally and internationally. This feature article explores migration ambitions among Ukrainians in the lead-up and aftermath of EuroMaidan, and the impact of war and economic crisis on traditional migration patterns.
As legal challenges continue to impede President Obama's deferred action programs to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the window of opportunity for implementation before the 2016 election is growing ever narrower. Even as advocates continue mobilizing immigrants to apply, attention is shifting to other new policies announced by the president last November.

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Recent Activity

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August 31, 2017

Durante este seminario, ponentes presentaron hallazgos de un reciente informe que utiliza datos de agencias gubernamentales mexicanas, entrevistas con funcionarios clave y relatos de la sociedad civil para examinar el marco legal para la protección de menores no acompañados y su aplicación, al igual que las brechas entre este marco y su aplicación durante los procesos de detención, interrogación y alojamiento. El presidente de MPI, Andrew Selee, también expuso cómo el cambio en la dinámica política en Estados Unidos puede afectar las cuestiones migratorias con México, así como los efectos en la relación bilateral en medio de tensiones sobre el muro fronterizo, la renegociación del acuerdo del TLCAN y una cifra significativa de repatriaciones de migrantes mexicanos.

Reports
September 2017

Following the 2015­–16 crisis that saw record numbers of refugees arrive in Europe, policymakers have shown interest in creating managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many asylum seekers make. While these discussions should be informed by an understanding of current pathways and protection channels, it is "nearly impossible" to know how protection seekers enter and what legal channels are available to them, as this MPI Europe report explains.

Articles

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.

Commentaries
August 2017

In this personal tribute, MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner honors Juan Osuna, who died in August 2017 after his recent retirement as Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the nation's immigration court system. "As we at MPI ... contemplate work without his store of knowledge and fundamental human decency readily at hand, we mourn that his was a life cut too short, just as we honor him for a life well lived."

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Reports
July 2017

Mexico has apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children since 2014 and introduced ambitious reforms to safeguard their rights. Yet the gap between policy and reality is wide: Most are held in adult detention centers rather than child shelters and report never being told of their right to apply for asylum. This report examines the child protection legal framework in Mexico, its implementation, and the gaps between the two.

Articles

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.

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