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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.

Taming the Seas: Safety, Protection, and Attempts to Create Order in Maritime Migration Corridors

In recent years, dramatic images of migration—struggling boats crammed dangerously beyond capacity; two sisters, champion swimmers, towing their foundering boat to safety; a little boy’s body lying face down in the sand—have seized worldwide attention and catapulted unauthorized maritime migration onto national and international policy agendas. Whether it is the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis or movements across the Bay of Bengal and the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, or around Australia, crisis has followed crisis, leaving almost intractable problems for policymakers. The challenges have only become more complex, widespread, and dangerous in recent years.  
  

While the issues presented by unauthorized maritime migration are constantly evolving, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) provides analysis, in a book discussed at this event, on some common themes that have emerged over the past decade, along with practical recommendations. This book, All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, is based on case studies of unauthorized movements by sea in several parts of the world. This book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration—the multiple state and nonstate actors; the mixed flows of refugees and other migrants; the overlapping and sometimes contradictory legal regimes; fluctuating state policies; the secondary movements of people from countries of first asylum; the constantly shifting sources, routes, and destinations; and the inter-relatedness with other equally complex problems—and how these together create a “wicked problem” for governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations to tackle together.

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The Mediterranean Dimension of the Refugee Crisis: Session II (New Solutions: Forging Alliances for Innovative Integration Models) & Closing Remarks

As record numbers of refugees and migrants undertake journeys across the Mediterranean, policymakers are faced with the challenging tasks of receiving, protecting, and integrating new arrivals—at every stage of their migration journey—while maintaining public confidence in an increasingly immigration-skeptic climate. 
  

This second session, in an event co-organized by the Migration Policy Institute during September 2016 in New York, examines what is known about promising approaches to settle and integrate newcomers, including the links between development and stability in the region and integration, and how to garner support for these policies in host communities. The session also examines what drives complex public reactions to immigration, and how policymakers and civil society can innovate to combat xenophobia, better understand rising support for populist parties, and assuage fears of loss of identity. The session is followed by brief closing remarks. 
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The Mediterranean Dimension of the Refugee Crisis: Opening Remarks & Session I (New Regional Perspectives and Solutions to Address the Mediterranean Crisis)

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration, European Migration by migrationpolicy on September 30th, 2016

Record numbers of people are on the move throughout the Mediterranean region in search of protection or opportunity, placing considerable pressure on national asylum and migration systems and fueling anxiety among publics about their governments’ ability to manage these flows. This discussion, co-organized by the Migration Policy Institute during September 2016 in New York, focuses on how governments and actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities for newcomers.

Opening comments and welcome are followed by the first session that examines how regional cooperation can complement international action to address the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. What factors are driving current flows of refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean, and how have the routes they are using to access protection and opportunity shifted? What roles are different actors playing at the international, national, regional, and local levels to help manage mixed flows across the Mediterranean, and expand protection for those in need? How can policymakers in the Mediterranean better share responsibility for providing protection and help countries on the frontline manage these flows and meet refugees’ needs?

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A New Era in Refugee Protection and Migration Management? Looking Forward After UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by migrationpolicy on September 30th, 2016

World leaders met with significant fanfare in New York in September 2016 for the UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, with the aim of developing a more humane and coordinated approach by Member States to address sizable movements of refugees and migrants. The following day, President Obama convened a Leaders Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis, and private-sector leaders also met to focus on ways to respond to the rising humanitarian crisis.

Though the UN Summit fell short of producing the outcomes sought by many in the advocacy world, it did result in a New York Declaration where UN Member States affirmed the benefits of migration, standardized international protection of migrants and refugees, committed to programs to counter xenophobia and discrimination, affirmed international cooperation and responsibility sharing for refugee protection and solutions, and committed to draft a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees by 2018.  The Obama summit gathered commitments from countries to resettle 360,000 refugees and rallied an estimated $650 million from private business leaders to empower refugees and improve their lives.

In this podcast, Migration Policy Institute experts, Kathleen Newland, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, and Gregory Maniatis, discuss the impacts of the summits and whether these efforts will gain enough momentum to respond capably to the complex threats that refugees and migrants are facing. 

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An Uncertain Future for Somali Refugees in Dadaab

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by migrationpolicy on September 28th, 2016

Housing an estimated 263,000 Somali refugees, the Dadaab camp is one of the world's largest refugee camps, and for more than 20 years, it has been home to generations of Somalis who have fled conflict. However, in 2016, the Kenyan government closed its Department of Refugee Affairs and announced its intention to close Dadaab camp, or at the very least drastically reduce the number of refugees in the camp by the end of the year. Based on a 2013 agreement with Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the “voluntary repatriation" of Somali refugees, the Kenyan government has been encouraging Somalis in the camp to volunteer to return in exchange for cash assistance. What these refugees will find on return to Somalia, however, is questionable, as conditions there do not appear stable or conducive to large-scale return. For those Somalis who remain in the camp and do not take the volunteer repatriation package, the future is no less uncertain—will they be forced to return without assistance if the camp closes, and if they do manage to remain in Kenya, will they be left without food assistance and subject to arrest for illegal presence?

Back from a recent trip to the region, Human Rights Watch researchers have released a report exploring the situation of refugees in Dadaab. Hear them share their findings from on-the-ground interviews and observations, along with their recommendations for the Kenyan government and international community. 

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Beyond Brexit: The Policy and Political Lessons for Immigration-Anxious Countries

Posted in Mobility and Security, International Migration, European Migration by migrationpolicy on July 14th, 2016

The United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union has given new momentum to euroskeptic, nationalist, and anti-immigration movements elsewhere in Europe. While many of the policy impacts of the referendum will not be known for a while yet, the vote has pointed, in stunning fashion, to the rising public anxiety over immigration levels and concerns over governments' ability to manage flows and foster successful immigrant integration.


On this webinar, MPI Europe President Demetrios Papademetriou, who is also President emeritus of MPI, and experts associated with MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration discuss the political and policy lessons that can be learned from Brexit and applied to debates in both Europe and North America, including how to address concerns over immigration, identity, and immigrant integration while managing migration in a globalized economy. The discussion will also touched on a Transatlantic Council report, Understanding and Addressing Public Anxiety About Immigration.

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How to Fix the Global Migration Management System

More people than ever before are on the move, crossing international borders in search of safety, livelihoods, opportunity, or the chance to reunite their families. States are ill-prepared to deal with these mixed flows of refugees and other migrants, especially those who move without prior authorization from the countries they seek to enter.  

Much of the focus is on how best to address the immediate and urgent needs of refugees—and for good reason. But much less attention has been paid to protecting the human rights of other migrants, or to creating orderly processes and expanding opportunities for legal migration. Increased mobility is a fact of life in the 21st century, and cannot be continually dealt with as a crisis. 

There are signs that national governments and international institutions are working toward building collective humanitarian responses and designing more flexible systems that can respond not just to emergencies but also to protracted displacement and large-scale movements of people who are not refugees. A series of high-profile international meetings will culminate in September at a special session of the UN General Assembly and at the Leaders' Summit on Refugees convened by President Obama. These meetings provide an opportunity for states to bring greater safety, order, and benefits to international migration.

At this co-sponsored event, Lars Westbratt, State Secretary to the Swedish Minister for Justice and Migration; Simon Henshaw, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; and Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute, discuss global and national responses to rising displacement, innovations in managing migration processes, and attempt to address the dysfunctional aspects of international migration. An introduction and welcome is given by H.E. Björn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States.
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Will Britain Leave the EU? The Role of Immigration in Brexit

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on May 25th, 2016

On June 23, 2016, in what polling suggests will be a very close decision, UK citizens will decide whether the United Kingdom will remain part of the European Union (EU) or exit. The decision on the “Brexit” referendum will have enormous ramifications, in terms of trade, policy, and for the free movement of people and labor. 
 
While there have been referenda on key issues in EU countries before, this is the first time that a major Member State has put full membership to the test. Yet for many European governments, Brexit is a second-tier issue, behind the refugee crisis, the rise of the populist far right, the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, and security on the Eastern border. Nonetheless, if the United Kingdom decides to exit, it is highly likely that the broader European project will suffer, boosting Euroskepticism and spurring debates over EU membership in other countries.
 
MPI hosts a discussion exploring how the migration politics and policies of the UK government influenced the decision to hold the referendum, how it might influence the result, and how the referendum’s outcome could impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and the European Union more broadly.
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Asylum Reception in the European Union: A Flexible Model for the Future?

The pressure brought by the recent mass influx of migrants and refugees to Europe has drawn attention to the need for systems to receive and house new arrivals that can adapt to unpredictable numbers, remain cost-efficient, and meet national and EU standards. But what does it take to set up and manage a reception system that can simultaneously meet the demands of flexibility, quality, and efficiency?


Michael Kegels, Fedasil Belgium’s Director of Operational Services and author of the recent MPI Europe report, Getting the Balance Right: Strengthening Asylum Reception Capacity at National and EU Levels, discusses how to devise a more responsive asylum reception system at national and EU levels that upholds common standards. He is joined by representatives from the Austrian Ministry of Interior and EASO to reflect on the practical challenges of meeting asylum-seeker reception demand, the prospects of greater cooperation, and the place of asylum reception policy at the heart of the Common European Asylum System.  
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Resettlement Plus: Clearing the Path to Safety and Opportunity for Refugees

Following the March 30, 2016 meeting of global leaders hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), MPI Europe convened a discussion to examine the outcomes of the conference, and provide an analysis of how states and civil society can work together to realize the intensifying calls for new pathways to support the safe and legal migration—and successful integration—of refugees in practice. Speakers consider what initiatives already exist to facilitate the legal mobility of refugee groups, and critically assess the potential and pitfalls that come with each. The discussion also examines new and creative ideas that have emerged in the wake of the Syria crisis.

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Europe’s Migration Crisis: A Status Report and the Way Forward

As the migration crisis in Europe continues unabated and a deepening crisis in Syria unfolds, European policymakers are struggling to come to terms with two of the most urgent elements: making certain that 2016 is not just a repetition of 2015 (or worse) and finding the key to incorporating those among the 1.5 million migrants who will be allowed to stay (whether under some form of protection or simply because EU Member States find deportations “difficult”).


Freshly returned from several months working on the crisis from MPI Europe’s offices in Brussels, Demetrios G. Papademetriou provides a briefing on how the policy response to the crisis has unfolded at EU and national levels, and sketches an affirmative vision for what the short-, mid-, and long-term responses must be if Europe is to respond more effectively to the crisis and tackle the longer-term integration challenges. 
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Scaling Up Resettlement: The Role of Private Sponsorship Programs in Addressing the Refugee Crisis

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on February 8th, 2016

As the European Union considers scaling up plans to resettle refugees from Turkey and other countries of first asylum to improve protection, as well as reduce pressures to travel illicitly, limit the power of criminal networks and develop more equitable responsibility sharing among EU Member States, speakers, including the author of a recent MPI report, will discuss their analysis on how private sponsorship programs for refugees could possibly enhance outcomes and spread costs. 

Used by Canada, Australia, and a handful of other countries, as well as 15 of the 16 German länder, these programs permit private individuals, groups, corporations, and other entities to sponsor individual refugees for resettlement and accept financial responsibility for them for a period of time. Panelists explore how these programs, if implemented or expanded in EU countries, might provide an additional safe and orderly channel for refugees to gain protection and become one part of the broader solution that policymakers are seeking in response to the current crisis. 
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Focusing on Protection: Previewing Upcoming High-Level Fora on Migration

With global displacement at record levels, it is clear that humanitarian protection will continue to be a key focus for policymakers and the international community throughout 2016. This year's calendar is dotted with a series of high-profile international events related to migration and refugee protection—including conferences in London (February 4) and Geneva (March 30) addressing the fallout of the Syrian civil war, and a pair of summits on refugees and migrants hosted by the United Nations and the United States in September. These high-level meetings could prove crucial in paving the way for meaningful solutions for the world’s forcibly displaced populations.

Migration Policy Institute (MPI) experts join the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on International Migration, Peter Sutherlan, for a webinar focusing on what can be expected to be discussed at this year’s high-level migration summits, and what tangible results might occur. In addition to Mr. Sutherland, the webinar features MPI Senior Fellow T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, and MPI Senior Fellow and Co-Founder Kathleen Newland.
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Shortage Amid Surplus: Emigration and Human Capital Development in the Philippines

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on December 29th, 2015

The Philippines has the most sophisticated labor-exporting model in the world. Despite the robust supply of workers in the Philippines, there is a concern that emigration—coupled with limited capacity of local training institutions—has contributed to labor shortages in key industries.

The International Organization for Migration and the Migration Policy Institute hosted a breakfast briefing to discuss these critical issues and launch the Issue in Brief, Shortage amid Surplus: Emigration and Human Capital Development in the Philippines, the fifteenth in this joint-publication series offering succinct insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region today.

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Reception and Reintegration Services in Central America: Ending the Deportee Revolving Door

Posted in International Migration by migrationpolicy on December 11th, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, deported from Mexico and the United States, have arrived back in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in the past five years. Often facing conditions that are worse now than when they departed, this rapidly growing population of deportees—including tens of thousands of children—are in danger of entering a revolving door of migration, deportation, and remigration. 


As deportations have increased in recent years, finding successful ways to disrupt the revolving-door phenomenon by providing more and better opportunities for Central America’s people, including through reception programs and reintegration services, is crucial to Central America, Mexico, and the United States.
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What’s Next for the European Asylum Crisis?

With uncontrolled migration to the European Union growing by leaps and bounds and asylum applications recorded by EU Member States at an all-time high, calls for ‘solidarity’ and increased support from the EU level for Member States under pressure have grown louder. In this webinar, MPI Europe President Demetrios Papademetriou and EASO Executive Director Rob Visser, the agency’s first director, had a candid discussion on the role EASO has played in its first five years and its potential for the future, along with what strategies Europe ought to be pursuing with regards to the current crisis.

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A Discussion on the Effects of Asian Labor Migration on the Health of Left-Behind Children

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration by migrationpolicy on September 24th, 2015

The IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific launched the 14th Issue in Brief in a series from MPI and IOM, which focused on left-behind children of Asian labor migrants. This event explores the social and health impacts of international labor migration on the children who remain at home when one or both their parents emigrate. The launch was attended by several representatives from diplomatic missions and UN agencies, including the embassies of Bangladesh, the Philippines, and UNICEF.
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Exploring Innovative Ideas to Strengthen the Global Protection System

This discussion explored the tensions facing asylum systems in Europe and North America, and asked what tools governments have at their disposal to respond proactively to forced displacement and reduce its costs for refugees and host communities alike. Where and when should governments focus their protection investments to have the most impact? What actors and stakeholders need to be engaged, both within a government and internationally? What lessons can be drawn from responses to past asylum flows? 

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No End in Sight: The Worsening Syrian Refugee Crisis

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by migrationpolicy on May 4th, 2015

To date, almost 4 million refugees have fled the Syrian civil war, the vast majority seeking shelter in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, but with growing numbers also moving to Egypt and Northern Iraq. At this Migration Policy Institute briefing, Erol Kekic from Refugee Council USA and Anastasia Brown from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who recently visited the region, report on their findings on the space for humanitarian protection. Also joining the panel is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Simon Henshaw, whose portfolio in the Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration includes Syrian refugees. He discusses recent developments in the region and in the U.S. humanitarian response. The discussion is moderated by Kathleen Newland, director of MPI's Refugee Protection and Humanitarian Response Program. 

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The Asia-Pacific and Women’s Labour Migration

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on March 27th, 2015

At this briefing, hosted by the International Organization for Migration and the Migration Policy Institute, speakers discuss the critical issues surrounding women's labour migration in the Asia-Pacific region and the related opportunities and challenges. The event marks the launch of the IOM-MPI Issue in Brief, Women’s Labour Migration from Asia and the Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges, the twelfth in a joint-publication series offering succinct insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region today.

Note: Due to technical errors, the audio does not include opening remarks and starts with the author's presentation. 

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