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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Exploring the Potential of Two-Generation Strategies in Refugee Integration

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by migrationpolicy on December 14th, 2018

The U.S. refugee resettlement program is facing an extraordinary set of pressures and challenges. Following the Trump administration’s decision to sharply reduce refugee admissions, the number plunged in fiscal 2018 to an unprecedented low of 22,491 since the program’s formal creation in 1980. This has in turn caused drastic funding cuts for resettlement programs and uncertainty about the future—threatening the network’s sustainability and capacity for larger-scale refugee resettlement in the future. These challenges make this an important time to consider how programs can better serve the full spectrum of refugee integration needs, and how to strengthen partnerships with local governments and nongovernmental actors.

Traditionally the refugee resettlement system has concentrated on helping adults find employment quickly, with limited resources focused on children or nonworking family members. However, research and experience point to the benefits of adopting strategies that address the needs of the whole family. Strong and supportive families promote better outcomes for children. Grounded in that knowledge, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a study on how a two-generation approach could strengthen refugee integration in the United States.

On this webinar, MPI researchers Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt, and Jessica Bolter explore promising practices to better serve refugee families, including innovative efforts to secure better jobs for adult refugees over time. In a conversation with Utah's Director of Refugee Services Asha Parekh and Colorado's State Refugee Coordinator Kit Taintor, study authors 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.   

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How Latin America Is Responding to the Venezuelan Exodus

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by migrationpolicy on December 5th, 2018

 

In recent years, more than 3 million Venezuelans have fled in response to the deepening political and economic crisis in their country, becoming one of the largest and fastest outflows anywhere in the world. More than 80 percent of these migrants and refugees have settled in other Latin American countries or in the Caribbean. For the most part, countries in the region have opened their doors to the Venezuelans, finding creative ways to incorporate them into local economies and societies by regularizing their status and giving them access to public services. Still, this generous welcome is being tested amid growing recognition these arrivals will be more than short-term guests.

In this webinar, Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border; Francisco Carrión Mena, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States; and Frieda Roxana Del Águila Tuesta, Superintendent of Peru's Migration Agency—representatives from the governments of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, which are home to more than half of the Venezuelan migrants and refugees—discussed their countries' responses to the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of newcomers. Andrew Selee, MPI's President, and Feline Freier, Professor of political science at Universidad del Pacífico in Peru, talked on the broader trend across the region and the prospects for future policy responses.

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Building Bridges Not Walls: Key Lessons from the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report on Migration and Displacement

The international migrant population includes some of the most vulnerable people in the world, including unaccompanied children and children in detention. Yet these children are often invisible in data and in many places denied entry into schools, while they are often the ones most in need of the safe haven, stability, and path to a brighter future that education can provide.

Marking the U.S. release of the 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, this event convened by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the GEM Report includes a presentation of the report that focuses mainly on migration and displacement in its continued assessment of progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education, as well as other related education targets in the SDG agenda. This global study presents evidence on the implications of different types of migration and displacement for education and how reforming curricula, pedagogy, and teacher preparation can impact attitudes toward diversity. The report analyzes the challenges to effective humanitarian financing for education and makes the case for investing in the education of children whose parents migrate for work, in countries with high rates of emigration and those seeing high rates of immigration, and in short-term refugee emergencies and in protracted crises. It also offers recommendations that advance the aims of SDG 4.

Drawing on the experience of the United States, the discussion looks at different ways education policymakers, teachers, and civil society have responded to the educational needs of migrants and how to address the legal, administrative, or linguistic barriers that sometimes inhibit children from participating meaningfully and equally in education programs. Speakers--including the 2018 Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning; Refugee Council USA's Director Mary Giovagnoli; former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development Joan Lombardi; and Priyadarshani Joshi from the GEM Report--highlighted the centrality of education for the process of inclusion and reflect on the capacity of education systems to serve children and youth from migrant backgrounds. The discussion moderated by MPI's Margie McHugh explored possible solutions, and offered fresh ideas on how to ensure that education addresses diversity in and outside the classroom.

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Administrative Power: Building an Invisible Wall Around the United States

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by migrationpolicy on October 24th, 2018

In its first year and a half, the Trump administration tested the limits of its power to reduce immigration, targeting longstanding humanitarian programs and scrutinizing immigration benefits. These unprecedented actions included deciding to end Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure for nationals from seven countries, attempting to terminate DACA, introducing new limitations on applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status, releasing several iterations of the much-litigated travel ban, slashing refugee resettlement numbers, tightening visa screening guidelines, and changing H-1B processing. Many of these actions, as well as the way decisions have been implemented, have been challenged in the courts. In a discussion moderated by CLINIC Director of Advocacy Jill Bussey, CARECEN Executive Director Abel Nunez, International Refugee Assistance Project Staff Attorney Julie Kornfeld, and Council for Global Immigration Director of Government Affairs Rebecca K. Peters discussed the legal questions presented in litigation, as well as the consequences of these actions domestically and abroad.

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Preparing Newcomers for the Jobs of Today and the Labor Markets of Tomorrow

Getting recently arrived immigrants and refugees into work has long been considered the lynchpin of successful integration, with the legitimacy of migration and asylum systems often linked to positive economic outcomes. Spurred in part by the European migration crisis, significant social innovations and public-sector investments have focused on assessing newcomers’ existing skills, matching them with available jobs, and providing training to those in need. But with labour markets increasingly characterized by technological disruption and the flexible but precarious "gig economy," this model risks being severely upended.

This Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar marks the release of two publications produced in the framework of its Integration Futures Working Group. Jobs in 2028: How Will Changing Labor Markets Affect Immigrant Integration in Europe? examines possible scenarios for how social, economic, and technological trends could affect jobs, labor market policy, education and social policies, and migrant integration. The second report, Tech Jobs for Refugees: Assessing the Potential of Coding Schools for Refugee Integration in Germany, explores the potential of coding schools for refugees to help alleviate skills shortages and provide a pathway to work—for more than only a high-skilled minority. Join the experts for a discussion of key questions: How can governments equip newcomers—and indeed citizens—with the skills to thrive in the job markets of the future? How can governments prepare public services and contribution-based benefit schemes for a changing world of work? And for those unable to find work, what are the alternative ways that newcomers can meaningfully and measurably contribute to society?

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The U.S. Asylum System in Crisis: First Steps for Rescue

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by migrationpolicy on October 3rd, 2018

The United States has a long tradition of offering humanitarian protection to those in need. Yet in recent years, a confluence of factors has led to a large and growing backlog of asylum cases, with many applicants waiting years for a decision. This slowdown has both harmed those eligible for protection and invited misuse, with some claims filed to secure the right to remain in the country and receive the work authorization granted when cases are delayed.

Faced with a system in crisis, the Trump administration has taken a number of actions to narrow access to asylum in the United States. These include largely eliminating gang and domestic violence as grounds for asylum and introducing a “zero-tolerance” approach to border enforcement that entails prosecuting all first-time border crossers, including adult asylum seekers, for illegal entry—a policy that for a time led to the separation of apprehended parents from their children.

This webinar marks the publication of an important MPI report that analyses the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to a crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be implemented now to jump-start rescuing it. The report co-authors, Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman, and T. Alexander Aleinikoff, and commentator Eleanor Acer from Human Rights First discuss the findings and measures that focus on the affirmative asylum system as the path to restoring timeliness and fairness to the system, while also deterring abuses. 

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Young Children in Refugee Families and Early Childhood Programs: Ways to Mitigate the Effects of Trauma

Posted in Immigrant Integration, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by migrationpolicy on August 31st, 2018

Young children in refugee families often endure significant direct or indirect trauma from their experiences during conflict, flight, or resettlement. Extensive research demonstrates that trauma can seriously impact the brain, cognitive, and socioemotional development of young children, potentially interfering with their learning capacity and ability to form healthy attachments. The issue of trauma has therefore gained increasing visibility across the early childhood field, yet relatively little research has explored the specific traumatic experiences and needs of young refugee children or strategies to address them.  

High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs can have enormous benefits, particularly for the children of immigrants and refugees. ECEC programs also present an important opportunity to provide trauma-informed services in a nonclinical setting, significantly expanding access to important socioemotional and mental health supports for this vulnerable population. However, Migration Policy Institute research shows that many U.S. ECEC programs and systems lack the capacity and knowledge to take a trauma-informed approach in their services.

Experts, on this webinar, discuss the effects of trauma on the development of young refugee children. They also highlight ways ECEC programs can address this trauma, including practical strategies that child-care providers in Canada are using to support the resiliency of refugee children and families. This webinar is the first of two discussions that MPI is hosting on the issue of trauma-informed care for young children of refugees in early childhood programs. The second webinar is on September 13.

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Making Every Encounter Count: Using Peer Support to Improve Refugee Resettlement

Resettling large numbers of refugees is no easy task. Governments that are trying to boost their help to refugees will often call upon colleagues from countries with more experience—whether through email exchanges or conversations at the side of meetings, or formal conferences and study visits. This system of peer support is emerging as a vital tool for successful resettlement programs. 

Yet, peer-support projects are often put in place without a thorough assessment of how they will strategically meet the desired goals. In addition, inexperienced governments sometimes have no proper criteria to choose who takes part in the initiatives, and they fail to design appropriate follow-up activities that would maximize impact. While more experienced resettlement states are willing to share their expertise, they are faced with the challenge of reaching their own targets amid tightening budgets. 

This webinar examines the major challenges facing refugee resettlement peer-support projects in Europe. It explores how state and nonstate actors have sought to overcome these obstacles to ensure that peer support delivers the right tools and expertise, to the right actors, at the right time. 

This MPI Europe webinar focuses on the findings from its report, Scaling up Refugee Resettlement in Europe: The Role of Institutional Peer Support, produced in the framework of the European Union Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) project. The report examines key lessons for Member States before they design or participate in peer-support activities. 

Webinar speakers:

  • Hanne Beirens, Associate Director, MPI Europe
  • Andre Baas, Resettlement Expert, European Asylum Support Office
  • Vinciane Masurelle, Head, International Unit, Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Belgium
  • Kate O’Malley, Senior Consultant, Resettlement Partnerships, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and Former Deputy Director for Resettlement, Division of International Protection, UNHCR 
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Responding to Early Childhood Education and Care Needs of Children of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Europe and North America

As asylum seekers and refugees have arrived in significant numbers in Europe and North America in recent years, many countries have struggled to address the newcomers’ basic reception needs and provide effective integration services. Young children comprise a substantial share of these arrivals, and many have experienced significant trauma and stress that pose serious risks to their cognitive, psychosocial, and physical development. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs present an important opportunity to mitigate many risks these children may face, improving their education trajectories and supporting longer-term success. They can also play a critical role in the integration of refugee parents and families more broadly. In many countries, however, services for young refugee children are highly limited and lack the capacity to meet their learning and development needs.

This webinar marks the release of an Migration Policy Institute report examining the challenges and successes major host countries in Europe and North America are experiencing in providing high-quality ECEC services. The report draws on fieldwork conducted in nine countries: Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States. It is an initiative of the Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years, a consortium of European and U.S. foundations convened by the Brussels-based King Baudouin Foundation.

During the webinar, authors, Maki Park and Margie McHugh discuss the report’s findings, highlighting promising policies and practices identified in field research, as well as key areas in which ECEC services for this population need to be strengthened. They are joined by Anna Österlund, from the Swedish National Agency for Education, who highlights innovative national and local policies in Sweden that support young refugee children in their early learning experiences.

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Immigration Data Matters: How to Find the Most Accurate Resources

With immigration increasingly visible in the news and the political space in the United States and internationally, getting access to accurate, high-quality data is essential for publics and policymakers to understand immigration’s demographic effects and impacts on the economy, education and labor systems, and the communities in which immigrants and their families live and work.

This event marks the release of an updated version of the popular Immigration Data Matters guide, which directs users to more than 220 international and U.S. data sources, and explains how to navigate sometimes complex datasets issued by government statistical agencies, international organizations, and reputable research organizations. This handy online guide includes data sources covering everything from the size of foreign-born population stocks and flows to citizenship applications, children in immigrant families, refugee admissions, migrant deaths, international student enrollment, global remittance flows, enforcement activities, and much more. 

At a time of proliferating data sources on immigration and immigrants, the presenters (Jeanne Batalova, MPI Senior Policy Analyst and Data Hub Manager, MPI; Mark Mather, Population Reference Bureau Associate Vice President for U.S. Programs; Elizabeth M. Grieco, Pew Research Center Senior Writer/Editor and former U.S. Census Bureau Foreign-Born Population Branch Chief; and Marc Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Immigration Statistics at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) discuss where some of the most user-friendly data can be accessed, including MPI’s own Migration Data Hub. They share their insights on how to avoid common pitfalls in using existing immigration data and highlight relevant data sources available from international organizations and national governments, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  

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Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Final Session - From Niche to Mainstream: Unlocking the Potential of Innovation for Lasting Change

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

The final interactive panel session “From Niche to Mainstream: Unlocking the Potential of Innovation for Lasting Change” included contributions from:

  • Chair: Elizabeth Collett, Director, Migration Policy Institute Europe
  • Louisa Taylor, Director, Refugee 613, Canada 
  • Ben Mason, Project lead on digital innovation around refugees and migration, Betterplace lab, Germany
  • David Manicom, Assistant Deputy Minister, Settlement and Integration Sector, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Laura Corrado, Head of Unit Legal Migration and Integration, DG HOME, European Commission
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Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Workshop - Employer Engagement: Innovative Approaches to Training and Hiring Refugees

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

This workshop on Employer Engagement: Innovative Approaches to Training and Hiring Refugees featured:  

  • Chair: Laurent Aujean, Policy Officer, Unit Legal Migration and Integration, DG Home, European Commission
  • Sayre Nyce, Executive Director, Talent Beyond Boundaries, United States
  • Peter O’Sullivan, Resettlement Officer, UNHCR, Bureau for Europe
  • Mustafa Alroomi, Web Developer & Askim Kintziger, Innovation Consultant, Cronos Groep, Belgium
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Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion - Opening Session Day II: Refugees as agents of innovation

Posted in Immigrant Integration, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, European Migration by migrationpolicy on December 15th, 2017

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

In the opening session on the second day of the conference, Maher Ismaail, DaliliNow.com Co-founder and Saeed Kamali Dehghan, a journalist from The Guardian, engaged in a discussion on refugees as agents of innovation. 

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Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Panel II: Business, not as usual - Private sector innovation for refugee inclusion

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

This panel is entitled "Business, not as usual: Private sector innovation for refugee inclusion”, and the speakers are:

  • Chair: Irini Pari, European Economic and Social Committee
  • Pastora Valero, Vice President, Government Affairs, EMEAR, Cisco
  • Justina Spencer, Manager, Global Corporate Responsibility, Deloitte
  • Samuel Engblom, Policy Director, TCO Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees, Sweden
  • Kavita Brahmbhatt, Co-founder, Action Emploi Réfugiés, France
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Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: Welcoming remarks, Opening Speech, & Panel session “How the field has matured: A progress report, one year on”

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, European Migration by migrationpolicy on December 15th, 2017

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

This recording includes:

  • Welcoming remarks from:

    • Adam Shub, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to the EU
    • Daniel J. Costello, Ambassador of Canada to the EU
    • Elizabeth Collett, Director, Migration Policy Institute Europe
    • Cristian Pirvulescu, President of the Permanent Study Group on Immigration and Integration, European Economic and Social Committee
  • Opening speech by Yara Al Adib, Design Consultant and Entrepreneur, From Syria with Love, Belgium
  • Panel session: “How the field has matured: A progress report, one year on”

    • Chair: Tamim Nashed, Policy Officer on Refugee Inclusion, European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)
    • Eric Young, The Social Projects Studio/Distinguished Visiting Professor of Social Innovation at Ryerson University, Canada
    • Luisa Seiler, Co-founder and Director, SINGA Deutschland, Germany
    • Mireia Nadal Chiva, Head of Community Development, ReDI School for Digital Integration, Germany
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Beyond Stock-Taking: The Path Ahead to a Global Compact for Migration

Representatives of national governments, UN agencies, and key civil-society organizations convened in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the beginning of December 2017 to take stock of the progress that has been made towards conceptualizing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM). Formal negotiations are scheduled to begin in 2018 to fulfill the commitment made at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016 by Member States to negotiate a Global Compact for Migration by the end of 2018—a task that was complicated with the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the further consultations.

To reflect on the latest developments and the outcomes of the stocktaking meeting, MPI hosted discussion with Eva Åkerman Börje, Senior Policy Advisor in the office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration, and Ilse Hahn, Head of Division on Policy Issues of Displacement and Migration, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The discussion, moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland, also drew from the conclusions of MPI's policy brief, The Global Compact for Migration: How Does Development Fit In?

This webinar is part of a project, "Towards a Global Compact for Migration: Rethinking the Links between Migration and Development", by MPI and the German Development Cooperation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ), supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2018, the project will issue a series of policy briefs aimed at enriching the conversation around migration and development in the context of the Global Compact negotiations.

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Legal Channels for Refugee Protection in Europe: A Pivotal Moment for Strategic Thinking

The European Union has long acknowledged the crucial role for new and expanded legal pathways in creating a well-managed migration system. Yet to date, there has been a lack of common understanding among Member States on how legal pathways can and should be used, how different channels fit together to achieve migration objectives, or what is meant by commonly used concepts, such as humanitarian visas. The refugee and migration crisis thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of EU and national government agendas, bringing with it new energy for innovation and action; but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome the design and implementation challenges Member States have faced.

 

Following the recently released mid-term review of the European Agenda on Migration, this timely webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy.

 

The publications discussed in this webinar are:

Tracing the channels refugees use to seek protection in Europe: http://bit.ly/2w3YMId

Engaging communities in refugee protection: The potential of private sponsorship in Europe: http://bit.ly/2xs188Y

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2017 Immigration Law and Policy Conference – Panel: Humanitarian Relief Under Threat Across the Board

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by migrationpolicy on October 5th, 2017

More than 1 million people in the United States receive temporary forms of humanitarian relief. Additionally, each year, tens of thousands are granted asylum or admitted as refugees. The Trump administration has sought to reduce these protections, by temporarily halting refugee admissions and reducing the number of refugee admissions to less than half of the prior level. Other forms of humanitarian relief, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), are under threat from the administration, the courts, and Congress. In this panel, the Presidents of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and HIAS, joined by the head of Hispanic and Migration Affairs at the Mexican Embassy, discuss the current state of humanitarian relief and the implications of the administration's policy decisions for the most vulnerable immigrants, including refugees, TPS recipients, and children.

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Building an Evidence Base to Support Refugee Resettlement

The scale of the global refugee crisis has ratcheted up the pressure on governments and their international partners to find sustainable avenues for protection of the displaced. Successive international conferences, including the September 2016 UN summit for refugees and migrants, have highlighted the need for more resettlement places as an integral part of the international response to the crisis. At the EU level, Member State governments are under increasing pressure to open more legal channels to protection as part of a larger effort to reduce the demands on national asylum systems. Yet governments seeking to expand their resettlement program—or engage in resettlement for the first time—face a dearth of solid evidence on what resettlement practices work and why.

This webinar highlights the findings of an MPI Europe report on critical gaps in research and evaluation of resettlement programs, and recommendations for improving evidence gathering and knowledge sharing between resettlement countries. The discussion also includes insights from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and national resettlement actors on the knowledge and support needs that new and expanding resettlement countries face, and what role international initiatives such as the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM) and the European Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) can play in filling these gaps.

This webinar is part of the European Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) project. The project is funded by the European Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund (AMIF).

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The Tech Turn in Refugee Protection and Integration: New Solutions or Hot Air?

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by migrationpolicy on May 11th, 2017

Smartphones have become unlikely symbols of the global refugee crisis: selfies of refugees in harrowing situations abound on social media, people in conflict call for help on Skype or What’s App, and mapping and GPS technology have sometimes acted as a literal lifeline. Seeing an opportunity, numerous tech startups and social entrepreneurs have designed apps and tech tools to protect refugees along their journeys and help them settle in. The last few years have seen hundreds of “civic tech” initiatives emerge in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond. But dozens of hackathons, hundreds of prototypes, and countless newspaper column inches later—has all this energy and enthusiasm actually made a difference to refugee lives? 

 

In addition to all the energy abounding in the tech sector for a tech-based solution to the current refugee crisis, more traditional stakeholders in the global protection system—such as national governments and NGO actors—have also made a major shift towards integrating technology into their protection strategy. Notably, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has set a goal of ensuring that “all refugees, and the communities that host them, are connected to mobile networks and the Internet so that they can leverage these technologies to improve their lives." 

 

This MPI webinar explores the recent “tech turn” in refugee protection and integration, and considers whether it is likely to make a lasting impact. Speakers discuss the most promising innovations and their broader implications for policymakers. They discuss the challenges and opportunities for governments, as they seek to work with new actors such as tech companies. And they discuss the broader digital infrastructure needs of refugee camps and services—including the crucial issue of Internet connectivity for refugees.

 

The reports discussed on this webinar are: 

A Global Broadband Plan for Refugees: http://bit.ly/2nwA400

Digital Humanitarianism: How Tech Entrepreneurs Are Supporting Refugee Integration: http://bit.ly/2dMiTlT 

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