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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.

Understanding the Policy Context for Migrant Return and Reintegration

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration by migrationpolicy on November 16th, 2018

In December 2018 in Marrakech, UN Member States are scheduled to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Among the compact’s many groundbreaking ambitions is a commitment to facilitate the return, readmission, and reintegration of migrants that recognizes the priorities of both origin and destination countries. Implementing this commitment may, however, prove extremely challenging.

Migrant returns take place along a spectrum ranging from wholly voluntary—at times even solicited by countries of origin—to compulsory or, at the extreme, physically forced. The ways in which returns are carried out vary widely, from individualized legal proceedings with due process and reintegration support, to coercive mass returns with no legal or humanitarian safeguards.

This webinar examines the policies, practices, and contextual factors that make compulsory returns such a difficult issue for international cooperation, and the programs that are being implemented to make reintegration of returnees sustainable. Speakers explore the competing perspectives migration policymakers must attempt to reconcile when considering returns—from the rule of law to humanitarian, development, security, and stability concerns. With all eyes turning towards the challenges of compact implementation, speakers discuss the possibility for international cooperation on returns and how reintegration assistance and development cooperation can mitigate shocks to often-fragile communities of origin, add positive incentives for return, and ameliorate the conditions at origin that motivate people to migrate.

The discussion draws on an MPI policy brief that explores the policy frameworks of return and the role of reintegration and development assistance in international cooperation on safe and sustainable returns. The brief forms part of a collaboration between MPI and GIZ supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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Surviving vs. Thriving: The Need for a Paradigm Shift in Adult Education for Immigrants and Refugees

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 31st, 2018

It is generally recognized that successful long-term immigrant integration requires a broad understanding of U.S. culture and systems, combined with strong English proficiency and other basic skills. For the past 50 years, English instruction classes provided via state adult education systems have been the default mechanism to meet immigrants’ English acquisition—and, to a limited extent, integration—needs. However, this federal-state partnership system meets less than 4 percent of adult learner needs nationally and suffers from serious flaws in the nature and design of instruction when viewed through an immigrant integration lens. Leeway within the system to support successful integration has steadily narrowed in recent years, particularly with passage in 2014 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which instituted mandatory performance measures for adult education programs that focus mainly on employment outcomes and the attainment of postsecondary credentials, placing no value on other essential integration skills or topics.

Taking stock of weaknesses in the WIOA-driven design of most current programming, MPI analysts draw on research from the integration, adult education, and postsecondary success fields in arguing for the adoption of a new “English Plus Integration” (EPI) adult education program model. Seeking to make more effective use of immigrant adult learners’ time in a formal program, the model would maintain a central focus on English language acquisition while also building skills and critical systems knowledge to support continued learning long after program exit and speed integration success along multiple individual and family dimensions.

On this webinar, MPI analysts Margie McHugh and Catrina Doxsee engage in a discussion with Art Ellison, former Bureau Administrator, New Hampshire Bureau of Adult Education, and former Policy Committee Chair, National Council of State Directors of Adult Education; Charles Kamasaki, Senior Cabinet Advisor, UnidosUS, and Resident Fellow, MPI; and Alison Ascher Webber, Director of Strategic Initiatives, EdTech Center at World Education, on strategies for implementation of this new model that will weave together supports and strengths from a range of intersecting fields.

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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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Chilling Effects at the Border and in the U.S. Interior

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 24th, 2018

Whether at the border or in the interior, the government is taking a hardline stance: separating arriving migrant families in a bid to deter future flows from Central America; stepping up pressure on “sanctuary” jurisdictions; increasing focus on denaturalization; and releasing a public-charge ruling that could deter vast numbers of legal immigrants and their U.S.-citizen dependents from accessing public benefits. What legal and political issues do these policies raise? What is their impact likely to be? And how are immigrant communities and their representatives reacting? Muzaffar Chishti, Director of MPI's office at NYU School of Law, moderated a discussion on these issues between "The New Yorker"'s Staff Writer Jonathan Blitzer; Ur Jaddou, Former Chief Counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; James F. Peterson, Judicial Watch Attorney; and Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the New York City's Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. The panel was opened by remarks from Georgetown Law Center Dean William Treanor.

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Systematic Plan to Narrow Humanitarian Protection: A New Era of U.S. Asylum Policy

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 24th, 2018

The administration has acted strongly and quickly to restrict the pathways to seek and gain asylum in the United States. In Matter of A-B the Attorney General overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals case in an attempt to eliminate domestic and gang violence as grounds for granting asylum. Such serious harm is often one of the central reasons why asylum seekers, especially from Central America, flee. Other new policies include criminally prosecuting asylum seekers who cross the border unlawfully for the first time; pushing back families without valid visas who seek asylum at ports of entry (despite laws that allow people to apply for protection at legal crossing points); detaining families, including pregnant women, while they pursue an asylum claim; and imposing case completion quotas on immigration judges so that they issue asylum and other immigration decisions more quickly. Whither asylum? This panel--including Georgetown Law Professor Andrew I. Schoenholtz; Dilley Pro Bono Project Managing Attorney Shalyn Fluharty; Immigration Reform Law Institute Director of Litigation Christopher J. Hajec; and U.C. Hastings College of the Law Bank of America Chair Karen Musalo--discussed the legal issues underpinning the asylum system changes and the immediate and longer-term effects of the administration’s actions on the U.S. asylum system. They also considered whether the new policies are in conflict with the international treaties to which the United States is signatory and other international law obligations.

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State of Play: Immigration Center Stage

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 24th, 2018

Immigration has played an uncommonly prominent role in elections and on Americans’ TV screens since the 2016 presidential campaign. Recent coverage has been non-stop due to family separations and zero-tolerance policies at the border. Heading into a highly contested election season, campaign strategists contend that immigration is the single issue that could move the conservative base and save GOP majorities in Congress. Yet polling shows a larger share of people say immigration is good for the nation than at any point since 2001. What role is immigration likely to play in the November mid-terms? Underneath national debates, the immigration landscape continues to fracture under the pressure of communities embracing different policies of cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, protection of vulnerable immigrants, and more. The federal government is pushing back by threatening to withhold federal dollars and heading into court to challenge state and local policies it views as harmful. This panel--with MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, Democratic Political Strategist Maria Cardona, the New Center's Co-Chair William A. Galston, Vox Senior Reporter Dara Lind, and Barry Jackson, Former Chief of Staff for Speaker Boehner and Senior Staff to President George W. Bush--assesses these and associated political and policy trends.

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USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna keynotes 15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on October 24th, 2018

L. Francis Cissna, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), delivered the keynote at the 15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference on October 1, 2018. In his remarks, he discussed his priorities for USCIS; the proposed public charge regulation; USCIS's role in the administration of the U.S. asylum and refugee admission system, including recent developments and operational challenges; policy changes surrounding the adjudication of applications and notices to appear; and USCIS's work in identifying cases that may be referred for denaturalization.

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The Next Frontier in Immigrant Integration Policy? Using Behavioral Insights to Foster Social Cohesion

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on October 16th, 2018

Can tiny tweaks in how public policy is designed and how services work really “nudge” us to become better citizens? An increasing number of governments think so. Policymakers have used behavioral insights—an interdisciplinary, research-based approach to policy design grounded in understanding how people make choices in practice—to great effect to inspire people to become organ donors, encourage them to pay their taxes on time, and more. 

But while behavioral insights have been adopted in everything from education to health policy, their application in the field of immigrant integration has so far been limited. Could this method be used to promote social mixing and reduce inequality between those with and without a migrant background? Emerging experimental and real-world evidence suggests a range of ways a behavioral lens could to help policymakers reach their integration goals, from fostering open-mindedness among young people and reducing classroom segregation to encouraging immigrants to become citizens. 

On this webinar, speakers—Meghan Benton, MPI Assistant Director for Research in the International Programme; Antonio Silva, Behavioural Insights Team Senior Advisor; Laura Gonzalez-Murphy, New York State Department of State Director of Immigration Policy and Research; and Will Somerville, Unbound Philanthropy UK Programme Director and MPI UK Senior Fellow—explored what untapped potential behavioral insights may hold for integration policy, and how policymakers can start fitting this approach into their work. The webinar marked the release of an MPI Europe-Behavioural Insights Team report, Applying Behavioural Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion, produced under the framework of MPI Europe's Integration Futures Working Group. 

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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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Addressing the Intergenerational Mental Health Needs of Refugee Families with Young Children

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on September 24th, 2018

Due to the nature of their forced migration experiences, refugees can face numerous sources of stress, including exposure to violence, separation from family members, loss of community supports, time spent in refugee camps or other precarious situations, and adjustment to a new and dramatically different culture. Such experiences, as well as the potential for intergenerational trauma, have critical implications for young children of refugees and their healthy socioemotional and cognitive development. However, mental health services and supports for refugees—when available—often overlook the unique needs of the youngest children of refugees and their parents.

 

Building off of prior research by MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy that underscores the need for early childhood programs to attempt to mitigate the effects of trauma on refugee families with young children, experts on this webinar will discuss state and local efforts being undertaken in Maryland to serve refugee families with young children through tailored, trauma-informed approaches that address their specific mental health needs. Speakers discuss state-level services available for newly arrived refugee families through the U.S refugee resettlement program, as well as ongoing barriers and other challenges related to these provisions. They also highlight innovative initiatives serving refugee and asylum-seeker mothers in Baltimore through a two-generation approach, along with efforts across Maryland to support early childhood providers in adopting a trauma-informed approach to serving refugee children. 

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Making the Global Compact on Migration a Reality: Ideas for Enhancing Regular Migration Pathways at All Skill Levels

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on September 12th, 2018

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 26, the UN Special Representative for International Migration will launch the final phase of preparations for the historic adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in Marrakesh, Morocco in December 2018. As the global compact moves from the realm of ideas and into reality, the focus of states and UN bodies is shifting from design to implementation.

This podcast considers two central objectives of the compact: enhancing the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration, and investing in skills development. Experts from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the Germany Development Cooperation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ) discuss concrete ideas for implementing these objectives. Panelists examine how migration pathways can be expanded, including through bilateral and regional agreements, to meet the needs of labor markets in destination countries while safeguarding migrants against abuse. The podcast also draws on lessons from previous migration partnerships to assess the potential of “skills partnerships,” a concept proposed by the compact that aim to facilitate the training and development of skilled workers who can fill labor market gaps in both countries of origin and destination.

The discussion draws on research conducted for the project, Towards a Global Compact for Migration: Rethinking the Links between Migration and Development, by MPI and GIZ, and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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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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Cambios en el Panorama de Control Migratorio Interno Durante la Administración Trump

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on July 12th, 2018

A Spanish language webinar examining the operation of today’s interior enforcement system and how state and local governments, civil society, and consulates are responding.    

 

La administración Trump ha estado reorientando el sistema de control migratorio en el interior de Estados Unidos mediante el cual autoridades detienen y deportan a inmigrantes indocumentados. Al mismo tiempo—junto a esfuerzos coordinados por la sociedad civil y las redes consulares mexicanas y centroamericanas—existe una resistencia creciente por parte de estados y localidades que se niegan a colaborar con las autoridades federales de inmigración. La reciente crisis de separación familiar ha contribuido una nueva dinámica a los esfuerzos de control migratorio de la administración y la manera en que comunidades locales están respondiendo.

 

El seminario web en español organizado por el Instituto de Políticas Migratorias (MPI, por sus siglas en inglés) examina el funcionamiento actual del sistema de control migratorio en el interior del país, las consecuencias para la relación entre los tres niveles de gobierno y las comunidades inmigrantes, y la manera en que procede el control migratorio en un entorno cada vez más polémico.

 

Expertos de MPI presentan los resultados de una investigación clave que evalúa los cambios en las políticas de control migratorio y sus alcances. Investigadores de MPI visitaron 15 localidades alrededor de los Estados Unidos, incluyendo localidades que cooperan con autoridades federales de inmigración, como Houston, y localidades que limitan su cooperación, como Los Ángeles. La investigación refleja un amplio espectro de perspectivas incluyendo agentes del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés), altos funcionarios de autoridades policiacas, representantes electos, abogados de inmigración, proveedores de servicios comunitarios, defensores de los derechos de los inmigrantes, funcionarios consulares y ex jueces de inmigración. El informe también proporciona un análisis de datos nacionales de ICE obtenidos a través de solicitudes de acceso a la información

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K-12 Instructional Models for English Learners: What They Are and Why They Matter

Posted in Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on June 27th, 2018

Ample data on English Learner (EL) student outcomes provide evidence of the steep challenge these students face in developing grade-level academic language and content knowledge. These data point to a critical question: are local schools and school districts using appropriate instructional program models to meet EL needs? While the effectiveness of specific instructional models for these students—such as dual language, transitional bilingual, and English-only approaches—have attracted the attention of researchers and policymakers, instructional programming actually provided by schools or school districts is often a mix of different models or approaches. For this reason, it is crucial that a range of stakeholders—including state and local education agency leaders, legislators, school board members, and community advocates—have a clear picture of what programs are offered to EL students and factors that might indicate whether they are appropriate and effective choices.

To improve understanding about the critical nature of the choices schools make with regard to EL instruction programs, MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy released an issue brief, the second in an EL Insights series, that describes the goals and main features of common instructional models and key factors that often shape their selection and implementation by schools. In this webinar, the brief’s author, Julie Sugarman, discusses the key features of EL instructional models, how they are sometimes woven together to address language- and content-learning needs of students, and factors that can account for varied approaches within and across schools.

Other experts discuss state- and district-level approaches to supporting schools in implementing effective EL program models. They highlight the evolution of bilingual and dual language programming in Madison, Wisconsin, and New York State’s implementation of English as a New Language units of study as the foundation for more effective EL programming. Both speakers illustrate how, in order to improve the academic trajectories of EL students, ongoing reflection guided policy revisions and changes to the design and support of EL programs.

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Chilling Effects: The Expected Public-Charge Rule and Its Impact on Immigrant Families

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration by migrationpolicy on June 12th, 2018

The audio from this webinar highlights findings from a Migration Policy Institute report examining the potential impacts of expected changes to the public charge rule by the Trump administration. Leaked draft versions indicate that the rule could allow the administration to make changes to the legal immigration system, in part by making it more difficult for legally present noncitizens to acquire a green card or visa if they or their family members have used public benefits. The rule likely would discourage millions from accessing health, nutrition, and social services for which they or their U.S.-citizen dependents are eligible.

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Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together

Posted in US Immigration Policy by migrationpolicy on June 5th, 2018

There may be no story today with a wider gap between fact and fiction than the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Deeply intertwined social, economic, cultural, and family relationships make the U.S.-Mexico border more seam than barrier, weaving together two economies, societies, and cultures. Mexico has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past two decades that has made it a more educated, prosperous, and innovative nation than most Americans realize. And this emerging Mexico increasingly influences our daily lives in the United States in surprising ways—the jobs we do, the goods we consume, and even the new technology and entertainment we enjoy. 

At this discussion, marking the release of MPI President Andrew Selee's latest book, speakers explore the emerging trends in migration, economic interdependence, technology innovation, and cultural exchange that are transforming the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the policy implications of these changes for our future.

INTRODUCTION:
Andrew Selee, President, MPI
Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
 
OPENING REMARKS
Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Mexico to the United States

SPEAKERS

Alan Bersin, former Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2012-17), and former Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (2010-11)
Carla Hills, Chair and CEO, Hills & Company, and former U.S. Trade Representative (1989-93)
Antonio Ortiz-Mena, Senior Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group, and Adjunct Professor, Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) and Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

CLOSING REMARKS
Roberta Jacobson, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2016-18)

 
ADJOURNMENT
Doris Meissner
, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI  
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The Changing Landscape of Interior Immigration Enforcement Under Trump

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Mobility and Security, Immigration Enforcement by migrationpolicy on May 8th, 2018

Within days of the inauguration, the Trump administration announced sweeping changes that are reshaping the immigration enforcement system in the U.S. interior by which removable noncitizens are arrested, detained, and deported. 
 
In ways big and small, the administration is reorienting the enforcement system. At the same time, there is growing pushback, particularly from states and localities unwilling to cooperate with federal enforcement. How do arrests and deportations under the Trump administration compare to past administrations? How are state and local governments, civil society, and consulates responding? What are the impacts of new policies on federal enforcement, federal-state-local enforcement relationships, and immigrant communities? 
 
To assess the changes and their impacts, Migration Policy Institute researchers visited 15 jurisdictions across the United States, both those cooperating, such as Houston, and those limiting cooperation, such Los Angeles. Their findings are contained in a major MPI report. It reflects interviews across a broad spectrum including ICE field leadership, senior local law enforcement and elected officials, immigration attorneys, community service providers, immigrant-rights advocates, consular officials, and former immigration judges. The report also provides analysis of national ICE data obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests. 
 
This discussion examinining the operation of today’s interior enforcement system features remarks by:

Randy Capps, Director of Research, U.S. Programs, MPI

Muzaffar Chishti, Director, MPI's office at NYU School of Law

J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County, Maryland, and President, Major Cities Chiefs Association

Gary Mead, former Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 

Rafael Laveaga, Head of Consulate of Mexico in Washington, DC (responsible for DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) 

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI  

   

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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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