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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.

EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration: Switching Perspectives?

Many countries around the globe are grappling with policy questions surrounding the return of irregular migrants and asylum seekers whose claims have been denied. In Europe, policymakers have long been concerned about low return rates. And discussions on how to increase the number of returns (including voluntary ones), while conducting them in a humane way, and achieving sustainable reintegration are high on the European Union (EU) agenda.

In April, the European Commission took a step toward the creation of a common EU return system, releasing its first Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration. The strategy aims to increase the number of voluntary returns, but also to improve EU Member States’ coordination on their respective Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programs and make reintegration in origin countries more sustainable. To achieve these objectives, European policymakers need to secure cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin—an often-neglected dimension of AVRR programs. However, these countries may be disinclined towards cooperation, concerned about the loss of remittances, negative public opinion, and increasing pressure on job markets and public service delivery already stressed by the pandemic. Still, voluntary return and reintegration may be one area where there are tangible opportunities for EU Member States and origin countries alike to build on some converging goals.

This MPI Europe event marks the release of a new policy brief EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration: Crafting a Road Map to Better Cooperation with Migrants’ Countries of OriginSpeakers examine origin- and destination-country policy priorities, opportunities for cooperation, challenges and structural limitations that shape what can be achieved, and possible next steps for building on the principles identified in the EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration, starting a new chapter for EU-funded AVRR programs. 

Desde un éxodo humanitario hacia un crecimiento a largo-plazo: El trayecto de América Latina en respuesta al éxodo venezolano

Posted in International Migration, Migration in South America by migrationpolicy on May 20th, 2021

La convergencia de la segunda crisis más grande de refugiados en el mundo y la pandemia del COVID-19 ha dejado a los más de 5,5 millones de migrantes que han huido de Venezuela en una posición aún más vulnerable. Sin acceso a servicios de salud y frecuentemente al borde de la pobreza, estos migrantes y refugiados han enfrentado desafíos sin precedentes mientras la pandemia ha azotado al mundo entero, cerrando fronteras, presionando sistemas de salud pública y dejando una recesión económica como resultado. La crisis sanitaria también ha agotado los gobiernos de acogida que están intentando proveer servicios humanitarios y canales para la migración venezolana en la región.

En esta discusión organizada por el Banco Mundial y el Migration Policy Institute (MPI), altos funcionarios del hemisferio occidental examinaron los esfuerzos nacionales y regionales que se han llevado a cabo para integrar a los venezolanos de una manera que maximice sus contribuciones de capital humano y sus capacidades de impulsar el crecimiento económico en sus países de acogida. La discusión también considera como la comunidad internacional puede movilizarse para transformar esta crisis en una oportunidad de desarrollo para la región.

Missing Ingredients in Diaspora Engagement in Development: Destination-Country Policies and Integration

Posted in Migration and Development, Immigrant Integration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on April 24th, 2021

The role of diasporas in the development of their countries of origin is now an accepted part of migration and development analysis. However, policy recommendations have centered mostly on how origin countries engage their diasporas in development efforts. More than 110 origin countries have created specialized units devoted to facilitating diaspora contributions to development. 

While research and recommendations on country-of-origin policies have advanced in both quantity and quality, two important pieces have been left out of diaspora-and-development discussions: 1) the importance of integration to the capacity of diaspora communities to contribute to development and 2) the ways in which official development cooperation programs in destination countries support diaspora organizations and involve diasporas in official development cooperation.
There is also a growing realization of the connection between the development roles of diasporas and their integration in the countries where they have settled.

This webinar examines what roles diasporas play in the development cooperation programs of countries of destination, as well as the potential challenges and opportunities for policy design. Speakers, from government, civil society, and the diaspora community, explore how integration in destination countries influences diasporas’ ability to contribute to development in their homelands. The discussion includes examples from the diaspora engagement actions and policies of western donor governments and lessons about effectiveness and sustainability, including from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and United States. The event includes a special focus on Norway, where policy development is looking into how to strengthen civil-society engagement in the field of integration, and exploring the connections to diasporas engagement in development cooperation.

Building Effective Migration Management Capacity in Mexico and Central America (English Version)

In response to shifting migration trends, with more Central Americans and migrants from other regions traveling through and settling in Mexico and Central America, governments in the region over the past 5 years have developed new capacities to manage migration. These efforts, however, have often been fragile, ad hoc, institutionally weak, and more often focused on enforcement than a comprehensive approach. Moving forward, these governments face an unprecedented opportunity to lay the foundation necessary to build a regional migration system that privileges safe, orderly, and legal migration.

This report release examines migration management in Mexico and Central America, in particular Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. The report examines growing government attention to migration functions, enhanced immigration enforcement, increased investments in asylum systems and existing protection frameworks, as well as labor migration policies. The discussion explores the report’s findings, along with strategies that regional and U.S. governments, as well as civil society, can employ to better manage migration. As governments in the region are being confronted with rapidly changing migration trends, it is an ever more pressing priority for governments in the region to develop institutional capacity to manage these movements and build an effective, collaborative regional migration system that works in the interest of all countries.

Speakers made their remarks in Spanish and English. This version includes English interpretation. 

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: No “Climate Refugees,” But Still a Role for the UN Refugee Agency

Technically, people forced to move because of climate disasters are not considered “refugees.” But the UN refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, still takes climate issues into account, and since 2020 Andrew Harper has been its special advisor on climate action. We talked with Harper about his agency’s role in responding to climate issues, which regions of the world are most likely to be affected by climate impacts, and why climate is a “vulnerability multiplier” for refugees.

Building Effective Migration Management Capacity in Mexico and Central America

In response to shifting migration trends, with more Central Americans and migrants from other regions traveling through and settling in Mexico and Central America, governments in the region over the past 5 years have developed new capacities to manage migration. These efforts, however, have often been fragile, ad hoc, institutionally weak, and more often focused on enforcement than a comprehensive approach. Moving forward, these governments face an unprecedented opportunity to lay the foundation necessary to build a regional migration system that privileges safe, orderly, and legal migration.

This report release examines migration management in Mexico and Central America, in particular Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. The report examines growing government attention to migration functions, enhanced immigration enforcement, increased investments in asylum systems and existing protection frameworks, as well as labor migration policies. The discussion explores the report’s findings, along with strategies that regional and U.S. governments, as well as civil society, can employ to better manage migration. As governments in the region are being confronted with rapidly changing migration trends, it is an ever more pressing priority for governments in the region to develop institutional capacity to manage these movements and build an effective, collaborative regional migration system that works in the interest of all countries.

This is the original audio.  Speakers made their remarks in Spanish and English. There is no simultaneous interpretation in this audio.  Spanish and English interpretations will be posted online zoom. 

A Year of Pandemic: The State of Global Human Mobility & What Is on the Horizon

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed mobility and cross-border movement in 2020, decimating tourism and business travel, severely curtailing labor migration, and dampening all forms of migration, including refugee resettlement. Since the onset of the public-health crisis, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has tracked the hundreds of travel restrictions, border closures, and health-related travel requirements imposed by governments globally. An IOM-Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report draws from the IOM database to sketch the state of mobility across world regions in 2020, and the range of mobility-related strategies used to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.
 

This two-panel discussion, featuring introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino, examines how the pandemic reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond. The first panel examines the government actions and regional and international coordination undertaken in 2020, including “travel bubbles” and immunity passports, along with how policymakers balanced health and economic concerns and the needs of vulnerable populations and unprecedented logistical issues in their responses. The second panel explored what policymakers should consider as the world enters into a new, uneven phase marked on the one hand by rising vaccinations, but on the other by the spread of new COVID-19 variants and additional mobility restrictions as caseloads rise in some regions. Speakers discussed what it may take to reopen fully, a possible new border infrastructure focused on public health, what regional and international coordination efforts are showing promise, and a look ahead to major decisions that will need to be made in 2021.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: The Benefits of Climate Migration

Popular discussions usually frame climate change-induced migration negatively, often as a strategy of last resort. But migrating abroad can also be an effective way to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This episode discusses how migration can bring social, economic, and other benefits to migrants and their communities, in conversation with University of Vienna human geographer Harald Sterly.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Is Climate Change Driving Migration from Central America?

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.

COVID-19 Recovery and the Next Stage of the Syrian Refugee Response After Ten Years

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by migrationpolicy on March 24th, 2021

Ten years into the response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this webinar explores findings from a research project conducted by the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP) and MPI on lessons from international experiences to support pathways to solutions in the Syrian refugee context.

The convergence of the pandemic and recovery efforts with new conversations about funding offers opportunities to reflect on the Syrian refugee response ten years on, and think critically about how international donors, host governments, and civil society can best address these challenges. How should funding be directed to promote a resilient and refugee-inclusive recovery? What interventions and policies should be prioritized going forward and how can local responses be strengthened? What lessons can be learned from other displacements and from the Syrian experience?

This webinar moderated by MPI President Andrew Selee features introductory remarks from DSP Manager Kathryn Achilles, and voices from the region: Sally Abi Khalil, Country Director for Oxfam Lebanon; Zaid Eyadat, Center for Strategic Studies Director at The University of Jordan; and Hassan Jenedie, Executive Director of Bousla Development & Innovation. MPI author Camille LeCoz presented the findings of the research project that includes case studies with examples of practices and approaches for supporting the resilience and self-reliance of refugees and host communities from different displacement contexts around the world and how the lessons learned can be applied in the Syrian refugee context.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Who Manages Climate Migration? Evolving Global Governance

Climate change and international migration both are global issues with aspects that countries try to manage through treaties, pacts, and other types of agreements. But most of the global governance frameworks that exist for climate-induced migration require only voluntary commitments by states. This episode features a discussion with political scientist Nick Micinski, author of the forthcoming books, UN Global Compacts: Governing Migrants and Refugees and Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union.

The Future of Refugee Resettlement and Complementary Pathways: Strengthening Sustainable and Strategic Humanitarian Solutions for Refugees

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration, European Migration by migrationpolicy on February 23rd, 2021

As one of three durable solutions traditionally available for refugees, third-country resettlement is an important part of the international commitment to refugee protection and support. Yet the vast majority of refugees in need of resettlement as a durable solution in 2021 are unlikely to be resettled. In 2020, amid a global pandemic, resettlement numbers reached a record low: only 22,770 (1.6 percent) of the 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement were resettled. In a recent paper, The Future of Refugee Resettlement & Complementary Pathways: Strengthening sustainable and strategic humanitarian solutions for refugees, Church World Service (CWS) argues that resettlement can and should be a humanitarian program to find protection for individuals and strategically contribute to the resolution of situations of forced displacement. However, achieving these goals will require political, structural, and operational changes. In particular, CWS makes the case that complementary pathways represent untapped opportunities for refugees to improve their lives through migration and proposes several key recommendations to advance complementary pathways and resettlement in the future.

This joint event organized by MPI and CWS, one of nine U.S. refugee resettlement agencies, brings together experts in the field to discuss the paper. As its primary author, Katherine Rehberg, Deputy Vice President of the Immigration and Refugee Program at CWS, presented the key findings and recommendations. The discussion then turned to the European Asylum Support Office’s work to foster closer international cooperation on resettlement submissions and processing, as well as what those experiences hold for wider cooperation between countries on resettlement processing, particularly outside the European Union. In addition, the conversation focused on what is required to implement complementary pathways at an international level.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Migrate or Adapt? How Pacific Islanders Respond to Climate Change

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by migrationpolicy on February 19th, 2021

Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations. But not everyone wants to migrate, and governments have balanced supporting people who relocate with other ways of adapting to changing conditions. Carol Farbotko, of Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Tasmania, joins the podcast to discuss the policies and dynamics in place in this region.

 

 

A Way Forward on Migration Under the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union?

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on February 9th, 2021

Portugal assumed the rotating EU Presidency in January 2021 and has prioritized progress on the Migration and Asylum Pact proposed by the European Commission last September. The pact tackles many of the most intractable issues in the management and governance of international migration, including how to manage mixed migration flows that have presented a near-existential challenge for the European Union. With the pact generating a great deal of interest across sending and receiving countries alike, all eyes will be on Portugal as it tries to make progress on issues ranging from managing external borders better, offering protection to asylum seekers with legitimate claims, relocating refugees and asylum seekers, and returns.

Borrowing from U.S. debates on immigration about “comprehensive” versus “piecemeal” reforms, the key questions are how much Portugal can achieve over the next six months, what it should prioritize, and where the Portuguese Presidency can find support for its ambitions. How can Europe manage the external, EU-wide, and even domestic aspects of this policy area more effectively and avoid the policy and political minefields set over the past six years? Will Europe be able to come together on this issue and give meaning to the often-used notions of “solidarity” and “responsibility sharing”? Or will the centrifugal forces on this issue grow and imperil the bloc’s ability to speak and act with one voice on difficult issues?

This MPI-MPI Europe webinar brings together senior officials from the European Union, Germany (the last holder of the presidency) and Portugal to take stock of where the conversations on the pact stand as Germany passes the baton on this issue to Portugal, and Portugal’s plans for taking forward the negotiations. The discussion focuses on two questions: (1) what lessons can be learned from the German Presidency’s work last fall on the pact and what are Portugal’s priorities for making progress on it, and (2) how can European policymakers make the case for greater solidarity on migration and asylum issues?

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: How Climate-Linked Food Insecurity Shapes Migration

Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility. In this episode we talk with Megan Carney, an anthropologist and director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Regional Food Studies, to examine the role of food security in the connection between climate change and migration.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Talking Money: Climate Finance and Migration

Billions of dollars are being spent on projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including those at risk of being displaced by environmental events. This episode features Timo Schmidt, from the Migration Policy Institute Europe, in a discussion about the growing field of climate finance and its implications for migration management and displacement prevention.

 

Moving Beyond Pandemic: Could Curbing Globalization Prevent Future Pandemics?

Posted in Mobility and Security, International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by migrationpolicy on December 17th, 2020

Pre-COVID-19, we lived in a hyper-global world. There were 1.5 billion international tourism trips annually, nearly 40 million flights, and 272 million international migrants. This raises a provocative question: Does international mobility contribute to the spread of pandemics? In this episode, we speak with Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn of the Center for Global Development. Drawing on their research of global pandemics dating as far back as 1889, they make the case that limits on cross-border mobility delay the arrival of pathogens by a matter of days at best. Instead, they argue that the greater success is achieved with domestic measures, not permanent limits on international mobility.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Purposeful and Coordinated: Climate Change and Managed Retreat in India

Confronting environmental change, whole communities sometimes relocate from one area to another. This purposeful, coordinated movement, while currently rare, is referred to as managed retreat. In this episode Architesh Panda, from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, explains how this climate adaptation strategy works in India.

Moving Beyond Pandemic: What’s Next for Global Migration? Gazing Into the COVID-19 Crystal Ball

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by migrationpolicy on December 9th, 2020

With news that viable COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, what might 2021 hold in store for the global movement of people, whether for tourism, business travel, or more enduring forms of migration? Alan Gamlen, associate professor of human geography at Monash University in Australia, tackles some of the big questions in this episode, including whether cities will be reshaped by immobility and if countries will need less labor migration. He paints a picture of a world with lower levels of mobility for the next few years, punctuated by periodic spikes.

Welfare States and Migration: How Will the Pandemic Reshape a Complex Relationship?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe was facing a set of interlocking challenges—a rise in spontaneous migration, an aging population, and a changing labor market—all of which put pressure on public finances. The public-health crisis has further exacerbated the situation, imposing huge costs on governments as they scramble to safeguard employment and protect vulnerable groups, including migrants disproportionately affected by job losses. Will this "perfect storm" rock the foundations of European welfare systems in the long term, and how? Will welfare states manage to adapt, and if so, what are the most promising innovations? How can governments close gaps in the social safety net, while laying the groundwork for economic recovery and long-term sustainability?  

This two-part MPI Europe event, moderated by MPI's Meghan Benton, examines these important questions. In the first session, veteran migration thinkers Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Grete Brochmann will reflect on the implications of this current moment for European economies and societies, and the role of immigration. The second session, with Jacopo Mazza, Scientific Officer at the Joint Research Centre, highlighted research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on the fiscal and demographic impacts of migration. MPI Europe's Liam Patuzzi and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, along with European University Institute's Martin Ruhs explored the pandemic’s particular effects on migrants and refugees, gaps in the social safety net, the role immigrant integration policy can play in maximizing the benefits of migration, and smart ideas that governments are implementing to ensure immigration is an economic and demographic asset for the future.

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