Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

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

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Thursday May 02, 2024

In recent years, the Ethiopian government has pledged to increase access to education and employment for the more than 900,000 refugees living in Ethiopia, most in camps. There have been ups and downs along the way, but a few key trends have emerged. In this episode of our podcast, Migration Policy Institute Europe Associate Director Camille Le Coz speaks with researcher Abis Getachew about the major policy shifts to open classrooms and jobs to refugees and whether they have been successful.

Friday Apr 26, 2024

Do countries that are major polluters have a moral responsibility to aid people displaced by hurricanes, sea-level rise, and other events driven or exacerbated by climate change? What form might that responsibility take? For this episode, we are joined by Jamie Draper, who focuses on political philosophy and ethics at Utrecht University. While he argues that certain countries do have a responsibility to aid displaced people, labeled “climate migrants” by some, in his view that does not necessarily translate to offering them protection.

Tuesday Mar 26, 2024

The world is grappling with the idea of restitution for people who have been negatively affected by the impacts of climate change—potentially including displacement within a country or across international borders. World leaders are at the early stages of creating a global loss and damage fund to financially compensate these climate victims. Much remains unresolved, including complicated and controversial questions about which countries owe money to whom, and how to attach a dollar figure to intangible losses such as destruction of natural land. In this episode, we speak with Adelle Thomas from Climate Analytics to wade through the thicket of challenges ahead, in particular as relates to climate migrants—those displaced by hostile environmental conditions linked to a rapidly changing climate.

Tuesday Feb 27, 2024

Many people are leaving rural mountain areas around the globe because their livelihoods are becoming less profitable and the threat of landslides and other disasters is increasing. As the impacts of climate change grow, these mountain residents may face additional challenges dealing with environmental disruption. And by moving to urban areas, they may face a new set of issues and lose connection with their homelands. In this episode, we speak with Amina Maharjan from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development about the unique climate migration issues that are witnessed in mountain regions.

Wednesday Jan 24, 2024

A landmark climate migration deal inked in late 2023 would allow hundreds of climate-vulnerable residents of the small island nation of Tuvalu to move to Australia. The pact is the latest step for a region that is at the leading edge globally in policy experimentation to address climate displacement. This Australia-Tuvalu deal, which is not uncontroversial, follows a brief and ultimately shelved attempt by New Zealand to create a “climate refugee” visa. How are these policies playing out, and what can the rest of the world learn from the Pacific experiences? This episode features renowned legal scholar Jane McAdam, who directs the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW.

Friday Dec 15, 2023

Secondary cities are increasingly gaining attention as homes to refugees and other migrants and, as result, they are targets of development programming and international support. In Africa, these secondary cities are seeing their overall populations swell even as migrant numbers also increase, placing pressure on services such as education, health care, and sanitation. At the same time, refugees and other migrants often find it difficult to access jobs and build livelihoods, preventing them from achieving self-reliance.
In order to surmount these challenges and achieve long-term socioeconomic inclusion, public policy changes and support are needed, along with partnerships that could facilitate the path to inclusion. Marking the release of the report, Migration and Displacement in Secondary Cities: Insights from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda, this webinar examines the challenges that refugees and other migrants face in—and place on—secondary cities, and the capacity of these municipalities to respond to these needs. Speakers explore possible strategies that local governments and partners can take to address socioeconomic and inclusion challenges while being sensitive to gender dynamics. The webinar asks what types of support are needed at national, regional, and international levels, and how development actors can better partner with secondary cities and local communities in their programming.

Thursday Dec 07, 2023

The U.S. government in 2021 recommitted to the U.S. refugee resettlement program following several years of dismantling and record-low admissions. This reconstruction is taking place even as the resettlement program has been tasked with scaling up to meet the needs of refugees admitted in the wake of emergency resettlement initiatives, Operation Allies Welcome and Uniting for Ukraine, which have brought in more than 200,000 Afghan and Ukrainian refugees since 2021. This rebuilding is also occurring against the backdrop of unprecedented numbers of humanitarian migrants entering the United States through immigration parole pathways or the asylum system. Collectively, these developments have consequences for local capacities, affecting public health systems, schools, and other human services. As a result, coordination and communication among key stakeholders in the resettlement network has never been more critical. 
During this MPI webinar, speakers discuss the importance of community consultation in a rapidly evolving landscape, and explore how consultation supports capacity building and where it can, at times, fall short. Marking the release of a MPI report, The Unmet Potential of Community Consultations in U.S. Refugee Resettlement, this webcast explores key recommendations and actionable steps toward a more inclusive, collaborative, and adaptable consultation proces

Wednesday Nov 29, 2023

Migration is complex, and rarely is there only one single factor that prompts people to leave their homes. That is especially true when climate change is involved, since its impacts on internal and international migration are often indirect and hard to trace. So when we talk about climate migration, what exactly do we mean? And why is the distinction important? Kerilyn Schewel, co-director of Duke University’s Program on Climate-Related Migration, joins this episode of the podcast to help make sense of the terminology and why it matters.

Thursday Nov 16, 2023

With the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) approaching, most of the planning focus has been on resettlement and complementary pathways pledges that will be announced at the December gathering and the number of refugees that states are committing to admit. Far less attention is being given to the crucial issues of how countries will reach their goals, whether the necessary capacity and infrastructure exist, and if there is effective coordination between the state and nonstate actors involved at different levels.
Effective communication and collaboration between local and national authorities are essential to ensure that resettlement and complementary pathways pledges are grounded in the realistic capacity and goodwill of local governments. Engaging with these local authorities, who often oversee reception and integration processes, can also enhance post-arrival planning and, therefore, refugees' integration prospects. Recent responses to the displacement of Ukrainians underscored the benefits of involving local authorities, as they have played a crucial role in identifying housing solutions and providing informal integration support through innovative local-national coordination and communication. 
This MPI Europe discussion considers how municipalities and other key stakeholders can be engaged in informing and delivering on the 2024 resettlement and complementary pathways pledges. Featuring findings from the recent publication Improving Stakeholder Coordination in Refugee Resettlement: A Path to More Effective, Inclusive Programs, this webinar explores opportunities for effective multi-level engagement ahead of the GRF.

Wednesday Nov 15, 2023

Travel documents play an important role in international mobility, and for refugees serve as an essential gateway to a world of opportunities, from pursuing education and employment to reuniting with family. In this episode, MPI’s Susan Fratzke unpacks the complexities around travel documents and their pivotal role in refugees' livelihoods with Adhieu Achuil Kueth, founder of MonyQadow, and Jackie Keegan, deputy director of the Division of International Protection for Resettlement and Complementary Pathways at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Kueth shares her first-hand experience traveling on a refugee travel document and her commitment to aiding fellow refugees in accessing higher education opportunities. Keegan sheds light on the challenges refugees face in obtaining these essential documents. Tune in to learn more.

Friday Oct 27, 2023

Can climate-driven international migration pose a security threat? Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff thinks so, but not necessarily because of the migrants themselves. Irregular migration prompted by climate events can empower smugglers and criminal groups. And it can spur an extremist backlash in receiving countries if people feel their government is not adequately protecting them. Chertoff talks about the security implications of climate change and migration in this episode of the podcast.

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Building on its humanitarian parole programs for the admission of Afghan and Ukrainian nationals, the Biden administration established such a program for Venezuelans in October 2022 and expanded it to include Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan nationals in January 2023.  The “CHNV” humanitarian parole program requires a sponsor in the United States, such as a citizen or lawful permanent resident, and enables the United States to admit up to 30,000 nationals from those four countries every month. The White House announced that it is encouraging individuals “to seek orderly and lawful pathways to migration and reduce overcrowding along the southwest border and the strain on the immigration system.” Due to very high interest in the program, a significant backlog of CHNV applications developed by May 2023. According to one study, the CHNV program has already prevented the entry of hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants along the southern border with Mexico. Among other important issues, the panelists will discuss: What are the successes and challenges of these programs? What will happen to those admitted after the two years of humanitarian parole status expires? To what extent are such parolees applying for asylum or other legal immigration statuses? How are these new lawful pathways affecting the number of arrivals from these countries at the southern border with Mexico? 
Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law; Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies; Faculty Director, Human Rights Institute, Georgetown Law
David J. Bier, Associate Director, Immigration Studies, CATO Institute
Dara Lind, Senior Fellow, American Immigration Council
Royce Bernstein Murray, Senior Counselor, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Full and fair access to immigration legal services is vital to ensure justice for asylum seekers and other migrants seeking protection in the immigration courts or immigration status before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Legal representation is also essential to the effective functioning of the immigration court system, improving outcomes and appearances at all levels—an essential element for a body that is facing more than 2 million pending cases. Resolution of affirmative applications before USCIS and immigration court cases takes years, and the waiting times continue to grow. For poor and low-income immigrants, there is an average of only one legal representative for 1,413 unauthorized persons in the United States and this number varies greatly by state. Panelists discuss the current state of immigration legal services and the growing need for representation. They address the importance of investment in universal representation and the use of innovation and technology to ensure access to justice for those seeking status and protection in the United States. Legal services strengthen the integrity of the institutions which implement U.S. immigration laws and uphold due process and international law principles.  
Anna Marie Gallagher, Executive Director, CLINIC
Rodrigo Camarena, Director, Justicia Lab
Annie Chen, Initiative Director, Advancing Universal Representation, Vera Institute
Emmett Soper, Counsel to the Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice
Wendy Young, President, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Since 2010, no world region has experienced a greater relative increase in international migration than Latin America and the Caribbean. While much of that migration, driven in part by political and economic crises or natural disasters, has remained within the region, there has been significant movement northward. Governments, including the U.S. government, increasingly have come to realize that migration management and humanitarian protection require regional approaches, as articulated through the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, and have begun efforts to channel migration into lawful pathways and expand protection mechanisms. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have played a vital role in helping structure these efforts across the hemisphere, working with governments and civil-society organizations to build a new but still quite incipient architecture for migration and protection. This armchair conversation with key international organization leaders offers a big-picture view of the approaches to today’s migration flows and humanitarian imperatives.
Diego Chaves-González, Senior Manager, Latin America and Caribbean Initiative, MPI
Jon Hoisaeter, Deputy Representative to USA & Caribbean, UNHCR – the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Vincent Houver, Chief of Mission in Washington, DC, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

A new era of state policymaking and operational action on immigration has begun, led by Texas and Florida, which set off tensions with state and local officials elsewhere by busing and flying asylum seekers and other migrants from the Texas-Mexico border into the U.S. interior. While state-level involvement in immigration policymaking is not new, the Florida and Texas decisions to drop off migrants in other jurisdictions, often with little to no notice, has raised new tensions between states and city leaders. This panel, moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Muzaffar Chishti and featuring city and NGO leaders and other experts, examines the diverse directions states are going in. Some are advancing immigrants’ rights even as Texas installs buoys on the Rio Grande and encourages other states to send their National Guards to the border. The panel also focuses on how cities such as Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York have addressed the arrivals of tens of thousands of migrants; the provision of services to these newcomers; and the fiscal impacts.
Muzaffar Chishti, MPI Senior Fellow and Director of the MPI office at New York University School of Law
Miriam Jordan, National Immigration Correspondent, The New York Times
Abel Nuñez, Executive Director, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
Beatriz Ponce de León, Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights, Office of the Mayor of Chicago
Michael J. Wishnie, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School www.migrationpolicy.org

Thursday Oct 26, 2023

The U.S. immigration policy space has seen a high degree of dynamism—and disorder—over the past year. A raft of new humanitarian and legal immigration policies has been advanced amid record unauthorized arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, a growing recognition that migration is increasingly hemispheric in nature, the end of a pandemic-era expulsions policy that the government had come to rely upon, and continued congressional inaction on immigration. The courts have been active players, in some cases blocking prominent executive-branch policies. And some states, led by Texas and Florida, have noisily entered the arena. Where is this turbulent period headed? How is the Biden administration executing on its vision for a new post-pandemic strategy at the border and beyond? Is long-standing executive branch pre-eminence on immigration eroding as the courts and states assume greater roles? And where is immigration likely to stand as an issue in upcoming national elections? MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner leads a panel of experts in tackling these and other issues.
Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director of U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI
Ronald Brownstein, Senior Editor, The Atlantic, and Senior Political Analyst, CNN
Linda Chavez, Senior Fellow, Open Society, Niskanen Center, and President, Becoming American Initiative
Angela Maria Kelley, Chief Advisor, Policy and Partnerships, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Blas Nuñez-Neto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Thursday Oct 19, 2023

African migrants harness the strength of kinship in pursuit of security and stability as they settle in a European landscape that is sometimes made precarious by their legal status and shifting policies. In this episode, MPI Europe Associate Director Camille Le Coz discusses this fascinating phenomenon with Apostolos Andrikopoulos, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at Harvard University and the University of Amsterdam. Together, they dive into the intricate web of kinship-based support systems employed by African migrants as they navigate migration routes and integration at destination, including through the exchange or brokering of identity documents. All in their quest for a better life. Tune in for an engaging conversation. 

Thursday Oct 12, 2023

Providing meaningful access to public services for individuals with limited proficiency in English is both a longstanding civil-rights requirement for federal programs and an important policy consideration given growing linguistic diversity in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought language access to the forefront by demonstrating the necessity of providing critical government services and information to individuals who speak languages other than English. Hand in hand with this growing visibility, recent years have also seen the expansion of federal, state, and local government efforts to develop and improve language access policies and programs. The Biden administration has engaged in a number of efforts to foster greater language access across federal programs. This has involved government-wide initiatives that include language access as part of advancing equity for underserved populations, supporting newcomers’ integration, and better addressing the needs of ethnic or immigrant communities with large numbers of speakers of languages other than English. Individual federal agencies also have expanded their efforts to improve language access in their services and ensure state and local programs receiving federal funding do so as well. This webinar from MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy explores executive-branch efforts related to language access provision. White House and Department of Health and Human Services officials and a leading language access advocate provide an overview of the various strands of the administration’s work and discuss former, current, and upcoming actions connected to language access. The webinar provides insights into the challenges and opportunities in this area and explore options to foster greater language access in federal programs.
MPI's Language Access Work 
Recommendations for the Task Force on New Americans on Language Access 

Wednesday Sep 27, 2023

Facing converging challenges related to climate change, natural disasters, and migration, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region in Eastern Africa is in a particularly vulnerable position. With countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda regularly impacted by drought, flooding, or other natural disasters, the decision to migrate is frequently driven by environmental factors, alongside economic and social ones. As climate-related human mobility increases, the pressing situation in the IGAD region and responses can offer broader lessons for other parts of the world.
During this MPI webinar, climate experts and regional authorities outline the challenges related to climate change and human mobility that local communities, national governments, and the IGAD region are confronting. The speakers discuss priorities within the region to address climate-related displacement, the engagement of various stakeholders, efforts to facilitate safe and orderly migration, and potential solutions. They also offer key recommendations for future policies and programs in the region and beyond. The webinar is linked to the publication of an external evaluation led by MPI of a landmark program on migration, disasters, and climate change in the IGAD region.

Tuesday Sep 26, 2023

What does the future of refugee resettlement look like? In this World of Migration episode, MPI Senior Policy Analyst Susan Fratzke leads an insightful conversation about sponsorship of refugees by private individuals and community groups. With humanitarian protection systems struggling to address record needs, more countries—including the United States—are turning to private or community sponsorship. Tune in to hear from Erin Schutte Wadzinski, who leads one of the pioneering sponsorship groups in Worthington, Minnesota. She discusses the Welcome Corps program launched by the U.S. government in January 2023. What does it mean to be a sponsor? How much responsibility do sponsors take on? What is the private sponsorship experience for refugees? Is this model working well? The conversation offers answers to these and other questions.

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