In recent years, dramatic images of migration—struggling boats crammed dangerously beyond capacity; two sisters, champion swimmers, towing their foundering boat to safety; a little boy’s body lying face down in the sand—have seized worldwide attention and catapulted unauthorized maritime migration onto national and international policy agendas. Whether it is the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis or movements across the Bay of Bengal and the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, or around Australia, crisis has followed crisis, leaving almost intractable problems for policymakers. The challenges have only become more complex, widespread, and dangerous in recent years.
While the issues presented by unauthorized maritime migration are constantly evolving, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) provides analysis, in a book discussed at this event, on some common themes that have emerged over the past decade, along with practical recommendations. This book, All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, is based on case studies of unauthorized movements by sea in several parts of the world. This book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration—the multiple state and nonstate actors; the mixed flows of refugees and other migrants; the overlapping and sometimes contradictory legal regimes; fluctuating state policies; the secondary movements of people from countries of first asylum; the constantly shifting sources, routes, and destinations; and the inter-relatedness with other equally complex problems—and how these together create a “wicked problem” for governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations to tackle together.
The slowdown in migration from Mexico since the 2008-09 recession has had a little-noted effect on farm labor in the United States: Increased use of the H-2A guestworker program. The H-2A program, long criticized by employers for cumbersome regulations, has doubled in size since 2007 and now provides workers to fill more than 150,000 farm jobs. Since agriculture relies on newcomers from abroad to replace farm workers who exit for nonfarm jobs, farm labor markets are ideal for observing employer adjustments to the reduction in the arrival of immigrant labor. Often identified as the source for unauthorized migration from Mexico because of the Bracero program, agriculture may also provide the template for future immigration reforms that involve legalizing currently unauthorized workers and making it easier to hire guestworkers in the future.
This discussion features data that could help inform future reform debates. It also focuses on some of the adjustments that farm employers are making, including increased mechanization, improved wages and benefits, and the increased use of the H-2A program.
As record numbers of refugees and migrants undertake journeys across the Mediterranean, policymakers are faced with the challenging tasks of receiving, protecting, and integrating new arrivals—at every stage of their migration journey—while maintaining public confidence in an increasingly immigration-skeptic climate.
This second session, in an event co-organized by the Migration Policy Institute during September 2016 in New York, examines what is known about promising approaches to settle and integrate newcomers, including the links between development and stability in the region and integration, and how to garner support for these policies in host communities. The session also examines what drives complex public reactions to immigration, and how policymakers and civil society can innovate to combat xenophobia, better understand rising support for populist parties, and assuage fears of loss of identity. The session is followed by brief closing remarks.
Record numbers of people are on the move throughout the
Mediterranean region in search of protection or opportunity, placing
considerable pressure on national asylum and migration systems and fueling
anxiety among publics about their governments’ ability to manage these flows.
This discussion, co-organized by the Migration Policy
Institute during September 2016 in New York, focuses on how governments and
actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable
solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities
Opening comments and welcome are followed by the first session that examines
how regional cooperation can complement international action to address the
refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. What factors are driving current flows of
refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean, and how have the routes they
are using to access protection and opportunity shifted? What roles are
different actors playing at the international, national, regional, and local
levels to help manage mixed flows across the Mediterranean, and expand
protection for those in need? How can policymakers in the Mediterranean better
share responsibility for providing protection and help countries on the
frontline manage these flows and meet refugees’ needs?
World leaders met with significant fanfare in New York in September 2016 for the UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, with the aim of developing a more humane and coordinated approach by Member States to address sizable movements of refugees and migrants. The following day, President Obama convened a Leaders Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis, and private-sector leaders also met to focus on ways to respond to the rising humanitarian crisis.
Though the UN Summit fell short of producing the outcomes sought by many in the advocacy world, it did result in a New York Declaration where UN Member States affirmed the benefits of migration, standardized international protection of migrants and refugees, committed to programs to counter xenophobia and discrimination, affirmed international cooperation and responsibility sharing for refugee protection and solutions, and committed to draft a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees by 2018. The Obama summit gathered commitments from countries to resettle 360,000 refugees and rallied an estimated $650 million from private business leaders to empower refugees and improve their lives.
In this podcast, Migration Policy Institute experts, Kathleen Newland, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, and Gregory Maniatis, discuss the impacts of the summits and whether these efforts will gain enough momentum to respond capably to the complex threats that refugees and migrants are facing.
A deadlocked U.S. Supreme Court in June left in place the nationwide injunction barring implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would have provided deportation relief for up to 4 million unauthorized immigrants. While the decision set no legal precedent, it has left the future of deferred action in the balance: Returning the case to the lower courts where a number of scenarios could play out based on how the Justice Department, the states that brought the challenge, and the presiding appellate and district judges respond. In this discussion, experts discuss what led to the outcome in the case and the choices that the next administration will face. Panelists discuss the legal challenge's effect on the DACA program and examine the implications for states and the advocacy community. Speakers include Cristina Jiménez, Co-Founder and Managing Director of United We Dream; Stephen H. Legomsky, John S. Lehmann University Professor Emeritus at Washington University School of Law and Former Chief Counsel at U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services; David Shahoulian, Deputy General Counsel at U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Rebecca Tallent, Head of U.S. Government Relations at Dropbox and former Policy Assistant to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner; and moderator Muzaffar Chishti, Director of MPI's office in New York, based at NYU School of Law. The conference is organized annually by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
More than 65 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including 21 million refugees who have crossed international borders in search of a safe haven. The United States long has accepted more refugees annually for resettlement than any other country, though the numbers represent a tiny portion of those awaiting resettlement around the globe. Yet that historical welcome is under challenge in ways not seen since the immediate aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, more than half of the nation’s governors announced opposition to the further resettlement of refugees in their states. And there are calls in Congress for major changes to the resettlement program, which will admit 85,000 refugees this fiscal year, even as defenders note that those under consideration for resettlement undergo more stringent security screening than all other would-be immigrants and travelers to the United States. This panel at the 13th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference discusses the policy and legal concerns raised by state and federal lawmakers about the resettlement of refugees, examines how the federal government and its humanitarian partners have responded to these concerns, and addresses the implications of these challenges for the future of a program that has resettled more than 3 million refugees since 1975. Speakers include T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees and Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School; Kevin Fandl, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Fox School of Business, Temple University; Anna Greene, Policy and Advocacy Director for U.S. Programs at International Rescue Committee; and moderator Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Director of the Center for Applied Legal Studies and Human Rights Institute and Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law. The conference is organized annually by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
Immigration proved a central issue in the 2016 Republican primaries, helping eventual GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump emerge from a crowded field of 17 candidates and solidify his standing with a conservative base that is deeply skeptical about immigration. With the focus now turning to the general election, Republican Party leaders, strategists, and intellectuals from different vantage points—the #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary, pro-business, and libertarian wings of the party—are coming at the immigration debate differently, with differing interpretations of how pivotal immigration will prove to be in attracting or repelling voters and constituencies. This panel at the 13th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference delves into the range of views and approaches to immigration that are in play among Republicans and discuss their implications for the next Congress and the future of the party. Panelists discuss the on-the-ground strategy and lessons, their views on where immigration fits in today’s Republican Party, and how the election discourse on immigration is likely to affect the party going forward. Speakers include Alfonso Aguilar, President of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles; Linda Chavez, President of the Becoming American Institute; Daniel Garza, Executive Director of the LIBRE Initiative; Tamar Jacoby, President of ImmigrationWorks USA; and moderator Josh Gerstein, Senior Reporter, covering the courts, justice, and national security issues, at POLITICO. The conference is organized annually by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois discusses deferred action for unauthorized immigrants, the DREAM Act, refugee resettlement, and other issues facing U.S. policymakers on immigration in this keynote address opening the 2016 Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
Immigration enforcement, always a central component of immigration policy, has received particular focus throughout President Obama’s administration. Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, enforcement will likely continue to play a large—and contested—role for the next four years. In this panel discussion at the 13th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, speakers Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira, Senior Advisor to the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; Dree K. Collopy, Partner at Benach Collopy LLP and Co-Director, Immigration Litigation Clinic, Catholic University School of Law; Thomas D. Homan, Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; Stephen Manning, Partner at Immigrant Law Group PC and Director, Innovation Law Lab; and moderator Charles Wheeler, Director of Training and Legal Support, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, INC. examine three key aspects of current U.S. immigration enforcement: family detention and policies affecting unaccompanied children; the replacement of the Secure Communities federal-local immigration enforcement cooperation program with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) amid rising local resistance to cooperation with the federal government; and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidance on its use of prosecutorial discretion with regards to deportation decisions. Panelists evaluate the successes and failures of these policies, and consider what legislative and other change could happen in the upcoming year. The conference is organized annually by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
Immigration proved an especially contested battleground during the 2016 Republican primary season and appears likely to be a top-tier issue in the general election, amid striking contrasts in policy and tone between the two major political campaigns. Moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, this panel at the 13th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference explores the role immigration is playing in the campaigns and politics of the election. Panelists include David Frum, Senior Editor at The Atlantic; Rosalind Gold, Senior Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy at the NALEO Educational Fund; Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice; and Karen Tumulty, National Political Correspondent at The Washington Post. The discussion focuses in particular on the stances of the presidential nominees and other leading voices. How will a new Congress and administration move forward, given the complicated political dynamics within each party? What is each presidential candidate likely to do in his or her first 100 days? And what will the legislative landscape for immigration action look like in 2017? Panelists explore these and other pressing questions.
Housing an estimated 263,000 Somali refugees, the Dadaab camp is one of the world's largest refugee camps, and for more than 20 years, it has been home to generations of Somalis who have fled conflict. However, in 2016, the Kenyan government closed its Department of Refugee Affairs and announced its intention to close Dadaab camp, or at the very least drastically reduce the number of refugees in the camp by the end of the year. Based on a 2013 agreement with Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the “voluntary repatriation" of Somali refugees, the Kenyan government has been encouraging Somalis in the camp to volunteer to return in exchange for cash assistance. What these refugees will find on return to Somalia, however, is questionable, as conditions there do not appear stable or conducive to large-scale return. For those Somalis who remain in the camp and do not take the volunteer repatriation package, the future is no less uncertain—will they be forced to return without assistance if the camp closes, and if they do manage to remain in Kenya, will they be left without food assistance and subject to arrest for illegal presence?
Back from a recent trip to the region, Human Rights Watch researchers have released a report exploring the situation of refugees in Dadaab. Hear them share their findings from on-the-ground interviews and observations, along with their recommendations for the Kenyan government and international community.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas discusses refugee resettlement and other pressing immigration issues in this keynote address opening the 2016 Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
There has been considerable policy activity and innovation over the last 50 years to improve educational equity across student populations, starting with civil-rights lawsuits in the 1960s over access to high-quality education and continuing through the 2001 and 2015 reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Disproportionately lower achievement outcomes for several student subgroups have remained a top concern during this time, including those for economically disadvantaged students, English Learners (ELs), and certain racial and ethnic minority groups.
Marking the release of a new report, this webinar will explore the key funding mechanisms in place to support EL students, including federal Title III and state supplementary funding sources. In light of broad trends toward more decentralized decisionmaking and the increased opportunities that follow for stakeholder input to shape key educational policies, presenters discuss the diverse sources of information that should be brought to bear on public conversations about funding. These include demographic trends in the student population, district and school-based services that meet diverse student needs, and what efforts are being made to improve educational quality and student outcomes. Drawing examples from recent national and state-level actions, the speakers demonstrate how efforts to improve educational quality for ELs are tightly bound to efforts to improve the equitable distribution of educational resources.
August marks the fourth anniversary of implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since its launch in 2012, DACA has provided a reprieve from deportation and temporary eligibility to work legally in the United States to more than 700,000 young unauthorized immigrants. And in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to allow a more expansive deferred-action initiative for parents to go forward, DACA remains the only large-scale initiative that offers relief from deportation to unauthorized immigrants.
This webinar marked the release of a new Migration Policy Institute issue brief that includes the most current estimates of potential DACA beneficiaries, which were generated using data from the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) and MPI’s unique assignments of unauthorized status to noncitizens in the data. Webinar participants discussed their findings regarding the rates of those who have applied, have sought renewal, and may apply for a second renewal of status, along with data on those who might be eligible in the future for DACA or able to gain eligibility through education. They also discussed recent policy and political developments, present trends in DACA requests and application rates by country of origin and at U.S. and state levels, and examine how DACA has affected the social integration, education, and employment of qualifying young unauthorized immigrants.
The United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union has given new momentum to euroskeptic, nationalist, and anti-immigration movements elsewhere in Europe. While many of the policy impacts of the referendum will not be known for a while yet, the vote has pointed, in stunning fashion, to the rising public anxiety over immigration levels and concerns over governments' ability to manage flows and foster successful immigrant integration.
On this webinar, MPI Europe President Demetrios Papademetriou, who is also President emeritus of MPI, and experts associated with MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration discuss the political and policy lessons that can be learned from Brexit and applied to debates in both Europe and North America, including how to address concerns over immigration, identity, and immigrant integration while managing migration in a globalized economy. The discussion will also touched on a Transatlantic Council report, Understanding and Addressing Public Anxiety About Immigration.
The educational needs of immigrant students in primary and secondary schools pose a growing challenge for policymakers and educators, whether in countries such as the United States, where nearly 10 percent of students are learning English, or in Germany, which is dealing with record numbers of asylum seekers. Many local schools lack the resources and capacities to meet the needs of these students, particularly given that many have limited or interrupted formal education, coupled with low or no proficiency in the language of instruction.
Speakers on this webinar discuss the need for supplementary funding to support the educational needs of migrant-background students and provide an overview of the mechanics of school funding for migrant-background students in the four focal countries examined in the report. They also discuss how schools use those funds to provide specialized services, and highlight the most salient choices facing policymakers who seek to use supplementary funding mechanisms to better support effective, high-quality educational services for children from immigrant and refugee families.
On June 23, 2016, in what polling suggests will be a very close decision, UK citizens will decide whether the United Kingdom will remain part of the European Union (EU) or exit. The decision on the “Brexit” referendum will have enormous ramifications, in terms of trade, policy, and for the free movement of people and labor.
While there have been referenda on key issues in EU countries before, this is the first time that a major Member State has put full membership to the test. Yet for many European governments, Brexit is a second-tier issue, behind the refugee crisis, the rise of the populist far right, the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, and security on the Eastern border. Nonetheless, if the United Kingdom decides to exit, it is highly likely that the broader European project will suffer, boosting Euroskepticism and spurring debates over EU membership in other countries.
MPI hosts a discussion exploring how the migration politics and policies of the UK government influenced the decision to hold the referendum, how it might influence the result, and how the referendum’s outcome could impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and the European Union more broadly.
On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Texas, the Obama administration’s appeal of a lower federal court order suspending DAPA implementation. How the court rules in this legal challenge filed by 26 states will have both economic and social impacts on the population of eligible parents, their families, and the communities in which they reside. MPI experts explore who makes up the affected population, analyzing the legal arguments presented to the court, and examining the potential immediate and long-term implications of this case.