E.g., 09/29/2020
E.g., 09/29/2020

Refugees & Resettlement

Refugees & Resettlement

The world has millions of refugees who are unable to go home or unwilling to do so in the face of persecution. Resettlement to a third country is considered for only a fraction of refugees, those whose conditions are so perilous or whose needs cannot be met in the country where they first sought protection. Only a small number of states take part in UNHCR resettlement programs—among them the United States, Australia, Canada, the Nordic countries, and increasingly some countries in Europe and Latin America. The research here examines refugee protection and resettlement policies.

Recent Activity

Somali migrants disembarking.
Articles
A man holds a sign protesting the travel ban at an airport
Articles
U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.
Reports
December 2018
By Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter, Essey Workie, and Isabelle Charo
South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
Articles
Immigrants in Stockholm

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Reports
March 2016
By Elizabeth Collett, Paul Clewett, and Susan Fratzke
Reports
March 2016
By Kate Hooper, Jie Zong, Randy Capps, and Michael Fix
Reports
March 2016
By Lyn Morland, Nicole Ives, Clea McNeely, and Chenoa Allen
Fact Sheets
January 2016
By Marc R. Rosenblum and Isabel Ball
Fact Sheets
November 2015
By Jie Zong

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Rohingya refugees

More than 630,000 Rohingya refugees had crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar during the last quarter of 2017, fleeing targeted violence by the Burmese military. This displacement, resulting from what the United Nations called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," marked the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis. Its speed and scale have challenged governments and aid organizations to effectively respond.

South Sudanese refugee girl

Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.

Syrian family on a plane

The global refugee resettlement landscape changed dramatically in 2017, as the United States began to step back from its role as global leader on resettlement. The Trump administration reduced the 2018 refugee admissions ceiling to the lowest level since the program began in 1980. While other countries increased their commitments or launched new programs, this was not enough to make up for the gap left by the United States.

Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.

Nearly 6 million Afghans fled after violence erupted in the late 1970s, primarily to Iran and Pakistan. While millions returned after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, the security situation has since deteriorated and the government struggles to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly the internally displaced. This country profile explores Afghanistan’s complex migration and displacement history as well as ongoing challenges.

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Video, Audio
October 27, 2016

Marking the release of All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, this book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration and the challenges governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations face in tackling this issue together. Presenters discuss the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis and movements across the Bay of Bengal/Andaman Sea, the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, and the waters around Australia; and the particular challenges for policymakers in each of these cases.

Audio
October 26, 2016

One month ago, world leaders gathered at the United Nations for a summit to discuss movements of refugees and migrants, however the absence of concrete commitments in the resulting New York Declaration disappointed many observers and the slow progress on multilateral cooperation around migration has particular salience for the European Union, since the arrival of more than 1 million asylum seekers to Europe in 2015. This panel brings officials together from a range of institutions mandated to consider the future of cooperation, whether bilaterally, regionally, or at the global level, and asks: What is possible, what is desirable, and what is likely?

Audio
September 30, 2016

MPI experts discuss outcomes from the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the Leaders Summit on Refugees, and related private-sector meetings and how these efforts may gain momentum to change international responses to the complex threats refugees and migrants face.

Video, Audio
September 28, 2016

The 13th annual Immigration Law & Policy Conference offered policy and legal analysis on key immigration topics, including: the election and the future of immigration policy; refugee resettlement in the United States; immigration detention and enforcement; and the impacts of the Supreme Court opinion in the important U.S. vs Texas case

Video, Audio
September 28, 2016

Back from a recent trip to the region, Human Rights Watch researchers discuss the situation of refugees at the Dadaab camp in Kenya and findings from on-the-ground interviews, along with recommendations for the Kenyan government and international community. 

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Recent Activity

Articles

War and impending famine in Yemen have captured significant attention. Yet often overlooked is the country’s role as the epicenter of one of the world’s busiest mixed migration routes, linking Africa, Asia, and Europe. This article examines the migration pathways to and through the country, push and pull factors, and the impact of civil war on human movement.

Audio, Webinars
January 31, 2019

Convocamos un seminario en línea (webinar) en español en la ocasión del lanzamiento del informe, Creatividad dentro de la crisis: opciones legales para inmigrantes venezolanos en América Latina, que describe donde se han radicado los migrantes venezolanos; las medidas que han utilizado los gobiernos latinoamericanos para regularizar el estatus legal de los migrantes venezolanos; y los esfuerzos por integrar a los recién llegados en sus nuevas comunidades de residencia.

Articles

Two years after the Trump administration’s much-litigated travel ban was created, the policy has demonstrated a significant impact on the admission of foreigners from the banned countries, while also reshaping U.S. security vetting procedures and the refugee resettlement process in enduring ways, as this article explores on the second-year anniversary.

Articles

The Trump administration took sweeping action in 2018 to slow legal immigration, make life harder for some immigrants already in the United States, rebuff would-be asylum seekers, and reduce refugee resettlement. Shaping a narrative of crisis at the border, the administration significantly changed the U.S. asylum system, deployed troops and tear gas, and separated families—yet Central American migrants continued to arrive.

Video, Audio, Webinars
December 13, 2018

On this webinar, MPI researchers and Utah and Colorado refugee coordinators explore promising practices to better serve refugee families, including education services for refugee youth, innovative efforts to secure better jobs for adult refugees, and other services designed to aid integration over time. They also discuss the potential for implementing and supporting two-generation approaches to refugee integration at a time when the system’s funding and capacity are in peril.  

Reports
December 2018

At a time when the U.S. refugee resettlement system is facing unprecedented challenges, innovative and cost-effective tools for supporting refugee integration are in demand. This report explores how a two-generation approach to service provision could help all members of refugee families—from young children to working-age adults and the elderly—find their footing.

Articles

Despite the major focus by media and publics on a handful of refugee crises around the world, displacement situations worsened during 2018 in a number of countries that received much less attention, including the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan—where unending conflict, new displacement, rising starvation, and an Ebola outbreak made already complex situations even more dire.

Articles

Swedish asylum policy has taken a restrictionist turn since the country received a record-breaking number of asylum seekers in 2015 and after electoral gains by the nationalist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats pushed the governing coalition to a harder line. Still, other aspects of the country’s migration policy remain welcoming, as this country profile explores.

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