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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
November 2016
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Susan Fratzke
Reports
October 2016
By B. Heidi Ellis, Erin N. Hulland , Alisa B. Miller, Colleen Barrett Bixby, Barbara Lopes Cardozo, and Theresa S. Betancourt
Reports
October 2016
By Meghan Benton and Alex Glennie
Books
October 2016
By Kathleen Newland, Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper, and Sarah Flamm

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Reports
October 2003
By Joanne van Selm
Reports
October 2003
By Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick, Tamara Woroby, and Monica Matts
Reports
June 2002
By Kathleen Newland, Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick, and Monette Zard

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Online Journal

Europe's defining challenge in 2015 was the exponential growth in the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving on its shores. The European Union and its Member States were slow to respond, and reactive when they did. As trust among Member States and between national and EU-level authorities began to erode, the European Union has found its ability to implement a comprehensive response severely handicapped.

Online Journal

Global displacement reached a new high with nearly 60 million people worldwide displaced internally or externally in the greatest number since record-keeping began. The trend continued in 2015 as conflicts in places such as Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen drove millions of people to leave their homes and seek refuge in other communities or across borders.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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.

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Video, Audio
December 14, 2012
The event discussion, which touched on the intersection of race and immigration, focused on the demographics of Black immigrants (both African and Caribbean) in the United States and their children, their educational success, and the implications of the recently released volume’s findings for research and public policy.
Video, Audio
July 30, 2012
MPI is pleased to host a discussion with experts from both KIND and the Women’s Refugee Commission, focusing on the causes of the increase in unaccompanied minor migrants, the situation these minors face once detained or apprehended, and the challenges confronting both nongovernmental organizations trying to provide aid and the U.S. government agencies responsible for processing minors through the system. 
Video, Audio
May 15, 2012
This discussion on the current global challenges of protecting refugees with Volker Türk, who directs UNHCR’s Division of International Protection, and Kathleen Newland, Director of the Refugee Protection Program was organized around three main themes: protection gaps, burden-sharing, and reducing statelessness.
Video, Audio
April 19, 2012

The Migration Policy Institute celebrated its first decade as the authoritative, unimpeachable resource on immigration and immigrant integration analysis and policy design in the United States and internationally.

Video
April 26, 2011
The conference offered law and policy analysis and discussion on cutting-edge immigration issues. Featured panelists included high-ranking government officials, academics, advocates, and other immigration experts.

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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.
Audio
June 25, 2014
The flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States has surged 90 percent since last year, with government officials predicting that it might reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September—and perhaps 130,000 next year. This telebriefing discusses factors behind the flows as well as short- and longer-term policy options for improving how the U.S. immigration system interacts with this population with distinct needs.
Audio
June 18, 2014
This MPI Europe telebriefing, releasing the brief "Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum," examines Europe's current reality with respect to migration and asylum and assesses the possibilities for future development of EU immigration policy.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio
June 16, 2016

Swedish and U.S. government officials, and MPI's Kathleen Newland discuss global and national responses to rising displacement, innovations in managing migration processes, and attempts to address the dysfunctional aspects of international migration, in a discussion organized by MPI and the Embassy of Sweden to the United States.

Reports
June 2016

As immigrant-skeptic movements gained salience, and even political representation, in several European countries in recent years, Germany remained a relative outlier until mid-2015. This report explains how a pro-immigrant consensus evolved and persisted in Germany during the period from 2005—as the country emerged from recession and embarked on a reform of its immigration laws—through to the events of mid-2015.

Video, Audio, Webinars
May 25, 2016

A discussion on how the politics and migration policies of the British government influenced the decision to hold the "Brexit" referendum, how public attitudes towards immigration might influence the decision whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and how the outcome might impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and European Union more broadly.

Reports
May 2016

This report analyzes British polling data in a bid to paint a more accurate picture of public opinion on immigration in the United Kingdom, which is often described as having particularly hostile attitudes compared to other countries. The report examines several drivers of public opinion, including media coverage, and considers how recent migration policies can be linked to public opinion—including the call for a Brexit referendum.

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 13, 2016

Experts discuss how European governments have responded to pressure brought by the recent influx of migrants and refugees, and how the EU asylum reception system can be strengthened to better respond to fluctuation in needs for capacity, improve efficiency and quality, and meet national and EU standards.

Commentary
April 2016

The implications of the just-implemented EU-Turkey refugee deal for children seeking asylum in Greece have thus far been largely overlooked by critics of the controversial accord. This MPI Europe commentary explains how the shortcomings of the deal itself and the infrastructure in place to process asylum seekers could result in children falling through the cracks of the Greek and Turkish protection systems.

Video, Audio, Webinars
March 31, 2016

MPI Europe expert analysis and discussion with UNHCR and Italian NGO representatives on what is being done and what can be done to connect Syrians and other refugees with opportunities to settle, work, and live outside the immediate region of the Syrian conflict.

Reports
March 2016

This report examines how refugee families in Massachusetts access early childhood education and care (ECEC) services for their children through the refugee resettlement system. It examines how working parents in refugee families navigate and make use of ECEC services and looks at the institutional and systemic challenges that refugee families face in accessing stable, high-quality ECEC options.

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