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 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.

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

While efforts to incorporate refugee voices into humanitarian protection practices continue to gain momentum, meaningful consultation of refugees in sponsorship program operations remains limited. And there is little reflection on opportunities for improvement.
Consultation with sponsored refugees on their experiences can help identify areas for improvement and inform how to do so. Involving refugees in the creation of key program elements, such as predeparture orientation or postarrival training, can help mitigate the risk of cultural shock. Engaging previously sponsored refugees as mentors for newcomers or as trainers of volunteer sponsors can help bridge cultural gaps, improve integration outcomes, and bolster volunteer efforts. Promoting refugee engagement in advocacy can also help raise awareness about the value and scale of the sponsorship pathway.
In this webinar, speakers examined the challenges that hinder refugee participation in sponsorship program design and operation and explore meaningful ways, tools, and mechanisms for effectively expanding refugees’ role in current and future programs. The conversation showcased innovative initiatives that are already making strides in refugee involvement.
This webinar was convened under the Building Capacity for Private Sponsorship in the European Union project (known as CAPS-EU), which is working to build capacity to design, implement, sustain, and scale up community sponsorship programs for refugees. Led by the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) and supported by the Belgian reception agency (Fedasil) and MPI Europe, the project is co-financed by the European Commission under the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund.

Tuesday Sep 19, 2023

Facing the adverse impacts of climate change, many people are better off migrating, whether within their country or internationally, at least for a short time. Yet for a variety of reasons, migration is not always possible. This episode of our podcast focuses on these groups, sometimes known as “trapped populations.” Why do people stay in places where their homes, livelihoods, and their very lives are threatened? We explore these questions with Caroline Zickgraf, deputy director of the Hugo Observatory at the University of Liège in Belgium.

Thursday Aug 24, 2023

Governments in West Africa have intensified their efforts to manage migration more effectively and to greater benefit. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders are exploring ways to boost remittance receipts, harness the potential of diasporas for developments, and enhance international financial connections. What are the latest migration dynamics in West Africa, and how are African leaders responding to these trends? Can European and African policymakers collaborate to create safer and better-managed migration between the two continents? In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Europe Associate Director Camille Le Coz engages in a conversation with Leander Kandilige, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Ghana. Tune in to learn more about the complexities of migration policymaking in West Africa and the opportunities.

Thursday Jul 27, 2023

West Africa’s Sahel region is experiencing crisis, with outbreaks of violence, weak economies, and governance issues. These challenges are compounded by the impacts of climate change, leading to an increasing number of people being internally displaced or seeking refuge in other countries. What do migration flows look like? And how are governments in the region responding? In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Europe Associate Director Camille Le Coz discusses displacement in the Sahel with Alexandra Tapsoba, a development economist at the Higher Institute for Population Sciences at the University Joseph Ki-Zerbo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Tune in for an interesting conversation on an often overlooked region.

Thursday Jul 27, 2023

Voluntary return and sustainable reintegration involve a large network of stakeholders in countries of origin and destination, each working under different (although sometimes overlapping) authorities and policy environments. Given the multiplicity of voluntary return and reintegration strategies and programs in recent years, stakeholders are sometimes unclear about the strategic priorities that others within their networks are pursuing. Ensuring wider awareness about goals is a key first step towards successful cooperation, including around questions of ownership and funding of initiatives. So is the success of public information campaigns around voluntary return and reintegration, as well as opportunities after return and tackling the prejudice often directed at returnees.
While public communication has improved, with dedicated awareness campaigns undertaken by civil society and government entities in countries of migrant origin and destination alike, many challenges remain. Among them are inadequate outreach to the most vulnerable groups and the need to counter misinformation and rumors about the profile of returnees. Some questions are also pending as to which actors and formats are the most suited for successful engagement, whether through official government channels, diaspora groups and other civil society actors, or returnees sharing their experience.
This Migration Policy Institute (MPI) webinar explores the goals and target audiences for public-facing information campaigns on voluntary return and reintegration, how to evaluate dissemination gaps, and the risks associated with inadvertently issuing messages that are not trusted or are misunderstood.
This webinar is part of a research partnership between MPI and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ), supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Wednesday Jul 26, 2023

The U.S. immigration court system is struggling with backlogs that have swelled to a record 1.9 million cases—with more than 700,000 added last year alone. The result is that cases, more than 40 percent of which are claims for asylum, take years to adjudicate—depriving people eligible for relief of decisions, undermining the effectiveness of immigration enforcement, and incentivizing unauthorized arrivals.
What factors have brought the court system to the breaking point? What technological and other changes are being implemented to improve the judicial process? And, recognizing that Congress is unlikely to overhaul the immigration courts any time soon, what steps can be taken administratively to strengthen the system?
This conversation marks the launch of a major report (available at: https://bit.ly/immcourtsreport) examining the status of the court system, the factors that have driven it to a state of crisis, and recommendations that would enable the courts to more reliably deliver decisions that are both timely and fair.
Speakers include: Jojo Annobil, Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps; Muzaffar Chishti, MPI Senior Fellow and Director, MPI office at NYU School of Law; David L. Neal, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Justice Department; Blas Nuñez-Neto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy and Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and the moderator Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI.

Wednesday Jul 12, 2023

Climate migration sounds simple. It’s not. This episode of the podcast speaks with Lawrence Huang, MPI’s lead researcher on climate change and migration, to answer the most common questions around one of the least understood dynamics in human movement.

Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

Migration from Haiti, while longstanding, took on new urgency after a 2010 earthquake decimated the country. In the years since, Haitians have fanned out across the Americas. Less focus has been given to the migration of Haitians within the Caribbean and their experiences there. In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Valerie Lacarte speaks with experts Bridget Wooding and Louby George about migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, is the second top destination for Haitians after the United States; the Bahamas hosts a much smaller share of the nearly 1.8 million Haitians who have sought protection or improved living conditions outside their country. What have been the policy responses? And the warmth of the welcome? Tune in.

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