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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.

Migrant Integration: Learning from What Works in Times of Uncertainty

With millions fleeing war-torn Ukraine, questions about how to effectively promote migrant integration are again front and center. Integration policy is often forged in the heat of crises and led by political priorities, with limited resources devoted to making improvements along the way. As a result, lessons from promising innovations that tend to emerge particularly during crises often get lost. Understanding what works, under which conditions, and how to use this knowledge is crucial to design effective policies. Failure to embrace an evidence culture in migrant integration may come at a high human, financial, and societal cost for not only migrants, but also for governments and host societies. 

This webinar, organized as part of the HORIZON SPRING project on Sustainable Practices on Integration, brings together experts and policymakers to examine the state of the field and promising innovations that facilitate an evidence culture in migrant integration, particularly in contexts marked by uncertainty and limited resources, such as the current effort to integrate displaced Ukrainians. The discussion spotlights projects that demonstrate how an evidence culture can be leveraged to benefit migrant integration policymaking, including from the frontline reception of Ukrainian refugees. 

The webinar marked the publication of a policy brief that maps out the state of play of an evidence culture in migrant integration and identifies obstacles and promising steps policymakers at EU and national levels could take. It also previews the launch of a toolkit that will help policymakers and practitioners in their efforts to embed an evidence culture in migrant integration.

One Year On: The Situation for At-Risk Afghans in Afghanistan and Abroad

August 2022 marks the one-year withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. While the world watched the chaotic evacuation of Afghans via airlift, the suspension of aid and diplomatic relations and rise of new leadership further drove Afghanistan into a massive social and economic crisis where women and minorities became especially vulnerable. Humanitarian and development organizations have had to revisit their operations and approach while the needs of vulnerable Afghans grew even more pressing. A year on, what is the status of Afghans who made it to the United States and Europe, what pathways are there for those who remain behind and are in peril given their past work with U.S. and allied forces, have the United States and other governments delivered on their promise to assist these individuals, and what opportunities exist to improve the humanitarian situation for Afghans abroad and in Afghanistan?

This two-panel webinar reflects on the humanitarian and development challenges in Afghanistan and for neighboring countries, the difficult choices facing aid donors and their partners, and what needs to be done to ensure still at-risk Afghans are able to reach safety. The first panel addresses the humanitarian and development situation in Afghanistan and the region, and the second panel discusses ongoing efforts to secure safe pathways and prospects for innovations and further international coordination.

Forging Partnerships to Make the Reintegration of Migrants More Effective and Sustainable

There is no "one-size-fits-all" reintegration model that can ensure success for returning migrants and the communities into which they are re-entering. Returnees have complex, interconnected economic, social, and psychosocial needs that typically cannot be covered by one single service provider. Returning migrants need to be able to access core public services (documentation, work opportunities, and health care) as well as context-specific local initiatives that will endure even after reintegration programs end. Yet while there is a growing acknowledgment that better partnerships between reintegration providers and local actors are needed to expand the variety of support measures available to returnees, there is no consensus as to how these connections (or "referrals") should be organized, what types of services referral partners should deliver (and what support they need to do so), and how outcomes can best be monitored over time.

This MPI Europe webinar, releasing a brief, examines how to design referral mechanisms so that returnees receive the core services they need, while also ensuring support is embedded within local contexts (for instance delivered by trusted providers, or calibrated to specific ethnic, cultural, or linguistic needs). Speakers explore questions around how major donors and providers can effectively partner with local actors, striking the right balance between formal reintegration programs (that are often more established but can be removed from local needs) and local initiatives (which may lack capacity but be better placed to cultivate trust with beneficiaries). How can programs be embedded within the fabric of local communities and "professionalized" to ensure that migrants do not fall through the cracks and outcomes are monitored over time?

Promising Alternatives to Irregular Migration: Expanding Temporary Worker Programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica

Violence, insecurity, and economic pressures compel tens of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras every year to seek better livelihoods and opportunities outside their countries of origin. Some may be eligible for humanitarian protection under the limited asylum systems in the region, but most cannot access existing legal migration pathways. Expanding temporary worker programs therefore can offer an important means to convert some irregular flows into legal ones.

While expanding U.S. temporary employment programs, such as H-2 seasonal visas, is central to establishing regional alternatives to irregular migration and filling domestic labor shortages, it is insufficient without the simultaneous expansion of similar programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

As part of a Migration Policy Institute project, Building a Regional Migration System, this webcast presents research findings from a report on temporary employment pathways for Central American migrants in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Speakers offer an analysis of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada, the Border Worker Visa in Mexico, and Costa Rica’s Binational Agreement with Nicaragua, providing recommendations to improve these pathways and promote safe, orderly, and regular migration.

En Busqueda de Seguridad: Opciones de protección regional para personas de Centroamérica

En los últimos años, cientos de miles de Centroamericanos han huido de la violencia de pandillas o la violencia de género, violaciones a derechos humanos y problemas socioeconómicos exacerbados por desastres naturales en Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador. La gran mayoría han llegado a las fronteras de México y Estados Unidos para solicitar asilo y refugio, poniendo una gran presión sobre los sistemas de asilo y las capacidades de procesamiento de estos gobiernos. Como resultado, miles de personas han quedado en el limbo mientras esperan la resolución de sus casos.

Si bien los programas de reasentamiento de refugiados son una opción para evitar que las personas emprendan viajes peligrosos, hasta la fecha se han implementado de manera muy limitada en la región. Con el fin de buscar una solución a este creciente desafío, los formuladores de políticas en Canadá y Estados Unidos han comenzado a reconsiderar si el reasentamiento debería desempeñar un papel más importante en atender las necesidades regionales de protección, así como la manera en la que se podrían ampliar las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento.

A la publicación de un informe del Instituto de Política Migratoria sobre posibles vías de protección para las personas centroamericanas, este webcast ofrece un análisis sobre las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento que ya se utilizan en la región—incluido el Acuerdo de Traslado por Motivos de Protección, y otras modalidades de procesamiento dentro de país como el Programa de Menores Centroamericanos (CAM), así como el reasentamiento de refugiados en terceros países—y se discuten las oportunidades y los obstáculos para expandir estos programas. Los ponentes también brindan recomendaciones sobre acciones específicas que Estados Unidos y Canadá podrían tomar con base en sus sólidos sistemas de protección humanitaria.

El evento es en inglés con interpretación en español.

 

Seeking Safety: Regional Protection Options for Central Americans

Fleeing gang-related and gender-based violence, human-rights violations, and socioeconomic problems exacerbated by natural disasters in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, hundreds of thousands of Central American asylum seekers have arrived at the Mexican and U.S. borders, straining these governments’ asylum systems and processing capacities. As a result, thousands of asylum seekers have been left in limbo while they await the resolution of their cases. While refugee resettlement programs are an option to avoid undertaking dangerous journeys, they have been deployed on a very limited basis in the region to date.

Seeking a solution to this growing challenge, policymakers in Canada and the United States have begun to reconsider whether resettlement should play a larger role in addressing regional protection needs, and how resettlement and humanitarian pathways could be scaled up.

Marking the release of a Migration Policy Institute report on possible protection pathways for Central Americans, this webcast offers analysis on resettlement and humanitarian channels already utilized the region—including in-country processing, the Protection Transfer Arrangement, and third-country refugee resettlement—and the opportunities and obstacles to expanding these programs. Speakers will also provide recommendations for specific actions that the United States and Canada could take, given their well-established humanitarian protection systems.

Fomentar la cohesión social para todos: ¿Qué podemos aprender de las intervenciones de desarrollo sobre cómo promover la inclusión y reducir la xenofobia?

 La preocupación por el aumento de la xenofobia y la discriminación ha provocado inversiones que promueven la cohesión social y combaten los prejuicios contra las personas que se desplazan. Estas preocupaciones son especialmente urgentes debido al aumento de la migración forzada y la pandemia mundial, la cual ha provocado el uso de los migrantes como chivos expiatorios, y cuyos efectos económicos devastadores pueden dañar aún más la cohesión social de las comunidades.  

Los gobiernos, las ONG y las organizaciones internacionales han pedido nuevas ideas para aprovechar la solidaridad y reducir los conflictos. Estas ideas ocupan un lugar importante en el Pacto Mundial para una Migración Segura, Ordenada y Regular. Sin embargo, se desconoce qué estrategias, desde las campañas digitales hasta las intervenciones de creación de comunidades, funcionan realmente para eliminar los prejuicios y mitigar las tensiones sociales. Este evento del Foro de Revisión de la Migración Internacional trata de iniciar una conversación práctica y necesaria sobre qué fomenta los sentimientos de confianza y qué estrategias evitan que se produzcan tensiones y prejuicios.  

El debate se centra en lo que ha sido eficaz para construir sociedades socialmente cohesionadas e inclusivas, examinando las lecciones de situaciones post-conflicto sobre cómo fomentar la confianza entre grupos además de explorar ejemplos de ideas prometedoras pero fallidas para entender por qué fracasaron en la práctica.  

Making Social Cohesion Work for Everyone: What Can We Learn from Development Interventions on How to Promote Inclusion and Reduce Xenophobia?

Concerns that xenophobia and discrimination are on the rise have sparked a panoply of investments in promoting social cohesion and combatting prejudice against people on the move. These concerns are particularly acute in the wake of rising forced displacement and a global pandemic that triggered widespread scapegoating of migrants, and whose economic devastation may further fray the social fabric of communities.

Governments, NGOs, and international organizations have called for new ideas to harness solidarity and reduce conflict, and these ideas have featured prominently in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Yet not enough is known on what actually works to reduce prejudice and mitigate social tensions, especially as so few interventions—from digital campaigns to community-building interventions—have been rigorously evaluated. This side event of the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) aims to spark a much-needed, practical dialogue around what works to promote feelings of trust and blunt tensions and prejudice before they take root.

The discussion, featuring opening comments by the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Crisis Bureau, looks at what has been effective to build socially cohesive and inclusive societies—including lessons from post-conflict settings on how to build intergroup trust—as well as examples of promising ideas on paper that may have fallen short in practice, and why.

This side event was organized jointly by MPI, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Enabel (the Belgian Development Agency) on the margins of the first IMRF.

Public Narratives on Refugees: Sustaining Solidarity in Times of Crisis

The massive humanitarian exodus from Ukraine has upended global expectations of how quickly—and at what scale—host communities can welcome people fleeing their homes. The number of Ukrainians who fled to Poland within the first two weeks of the invasion surpassed the number of Venezuelans received by Colombia over a five-year period. Despite the potentially destabilizing pace and volume of arrivals from Ukraine, the policy response has been overwhelmingly supportive. So has the public response, with public opinion polling pointing to high support for Ukrainians across Europe.
 
But as the crisis continues, there are fears that these initial feelings of goodwill will fade and generosity fatigue will set in, much as occurred during the 2015-16 European migration and refugee crisis and in parts of South America with the arrivals of large numbers of Venezuelans. This raises several questions: How can immediate post-crisis solidarity be harnessed and made more sustainable, such that it can withstand emerging narratives of newcomers as threats to jobs and limited public services? How can feelings of goodwill be leveraged to spread to others rather than remaining narrowly focused on a particularly sympathetic population? And how can policy responses such as temporary stay permits build longer-term goodwill towards populations needing protection writ large?
 
This Migration Policy Institute webinar convenes international experts to consider what we know about public opinion and narratives on refugees and what this means for the Ukrainian crisis. This event marks the launch of a publication from the “Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World” initiative led by MPI and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The initiative aims to advance ideas to redesign the global protection and resettlement infrastructure in a way that is more equitable, flexible, and sustainable.

Innovation Within Government. Rethinking and Modernizing Integration Policy Plenary Session

MPI Europe Director Hanne Beirens moderated a session where Laura Batalla from Ashoka Hello Europe Initiative, David Cashaback from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Drocella Mugorewera from the Refugee Congress, Cameron McGlothlin of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Refugee Admissions, and Vincent Catot from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, discussed these questions:

  • How is integration policymaking evolving, under the combined pressures of the pandemic, economic shifts, rising social needs, and technological transformation?
  • How have policymakers in Europe and North America responded to the need for rapid and agile policy action to address COVID-19-induced disruption, at a time in which many of their usual routines, practices, and tools have been upended? How might these experiences shape integration policy in the longer run—in its objectives, practices, and overall mission?
  • How can multi-level governance approaches and multi-stakeholder cooperation help governments address evolving integration challenges and promote innovation? How to ensure systematic learning and transfer between community-level innovations and government policy?

Bridging the Digital Divide for U.S. Children in Immigrant Families

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response by Migration Policy Institute on February 25th, 2022

The Omicron surge caused many U.S. schools to return to remote learning, an all-too-familiar status since the sudden shift to virtual learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The public-health crisis has tested school systems across the country and continues to pose operational challenges as schools transition between in-person, remote, and hybrid instruction. 

Remote learning has become a controversial tool and now is often considered a last-resort pandemic response. One reason is the digital divide in who can access computers, high-speed internet, and digital skills training. Children in immigrant families often have disproportionately less access to digital tools and training than their peers, which can lead to knowledge gaps, lower grades, chronic absenteeism, and disenrollment.

This webinar features findings from an MPI report that takes stock of lessons and promising practices from the pandemic, with insights from educators, community leaders, and other stakeholders on how to support immigrant children and U.S.-born children with immigrant parents during remote learning. Speakers from MPI, Internationals Network for Public Schools, Office of Global Michigan, and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, examine related parts of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and how federal, state, and local governments; school districts; schools; libraries; and service providers can advance digital equity for children in immigrant families.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: A Note of Caution about Exaggerating the Climate-Migration Link

Concerns that large amounts of people will be displaced by climate change and head to wealthy countries in North America and Europe are often misplaced, according to migration scholar Hein de Haas. These types of narratives can tap into anti-immigrant sentiments, allow governments to avoid responsibility for their own failures, and may overlook the large numbers of people forced to remain in place amid environmental disaster, he argues in this episode. 

Biden at One: Assessing the Administration’s Immigration Record

On his inauguration day one year ago, President Joe Biden proposed a sweeping list of immigration policy priorities, including advancing legislation legalizing millions of unauthorized immigrants and rolling back key executive actions taken by his predecessor. Now at its first anniversary, the administration has advanced numerous further immigration actions that range widely across the immigration system.

Migration surges at the U.S.-Mexico border and partisan deadlock on Capitol Hill have complicated moving forward on legislation that would revamp the U.S. immigration system. Courts and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic have stymied some of the administration’s other efforts. Yet, while less noted, the Biden administration has pursued a broad agenda that encompasses immigration changes in the U.S. interior—including overhauling immigration enforcement priorities, humanitarian relief by extending temporary protection to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans and others from troubled countries, and administrative measures affecting important legal immigration processes.

This discussion with MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Doris Meissner, the White House's Deputy Director for Immigration Esther Olavarria, former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention Elizabeth Neumann, and Community Change Co-President Lorella Praeli examines the Biden track record on immigration and what lays ahead. The conversation draws from an article published in MPI's online journal, by Jessica Bolter and Muzaffar Chishti, detailing the administration’s first-year actions on immigration.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: When Climate Change Comes to Refugee Settings

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on December 10th, 2021

Environmental disasters can force people out of their homes and communities, complicating responses to ongoing humanitarian protection efforts. As a result, many humanitarian organizations have started paying attention to the impacts of climate change for multiple aspects of their refugee protection work. For this episode, we speak with Joan Rosenhauer, the executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, about how natural disasters and other environmental harms affect her organization’s work and its faith-based mission.

SI4RI Conference: Planning and Shaping Inclusive Post-COVID-19 Recovery

In this session moderated by MPI's International Program Director of Research Meghan Benton, panelists Anila Noor, Member, European Commission's Expert Group on the Views of Migrants, and Founder, New Women Connectors, the Netherlands; Scarlet Cronin, Acting Executive Director, The Tent Partnership for Refugees; Katharina Bamberg, Policy Advisor on Migration and Integration, Eurocities; and Christina Pope, Senior Director of Welcoming International, Welcoming America discussed the following questions:

  • Over the past year-and-a-half, we have heard a lot of conversations about (and calls for) "inclusive recovery". If we were to make this more concrete: what does inclusive recovery look like for you?
  • How can government, the private sector, and social-sector organizations partner design and promote strategies for post-COVID-19 recovery that reflect the needs and resources of diverse communities? Where can we identify examples of these strategies?
  • How can "social innovation for inclusion" evolve into "inclusive social innovation"—expanding opportunities for diverse groups to participate in social entrepreneurship, community engagement, and policymaking?

SI4RI Conference — Where Challenges Intersect: Promoting the Inclusion of Migrant Women and Vulnerable Groups

In a breakout session, MPI Europe Senior Policy Analyst Jasmijn Slootjes led a discussion with Beba Svigir, Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Immigrant Women's Association; Lama Jaghjougha, Founder, Raise Women's Awareness Network; Kava Spartak, Director, YAAR e.V; and Drocella Mugorewera, Board Member of Refugee Congress and Executive Director of Bridge Refugee Services, United States on the following topics:

  • What are the key success factors for interventions aiming to protect groups at high risk of exclusion and marginalization, promoting their well-being and participation? How far have we come since 2015-16, and what is still missing?
  • How have organizations adapted their models of service provision in response to the pandemic, and how successful are these adaptations proving to be—for example, in recreating a sense of community and trust even in virtual and hybrid formats?
  • How can holistic, highly tailored, and often resource-intensive forms of support be sustained and brought to scale?
  • What models can help leverage the entrepreneurialism, innovativeness and resilience of migrant and refugee women, whose vital role in our societies has been further highlighted by the pandemic?

WELCOMING REMARKS - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion (SI4RI): Sowing Innovation in the Cracks of Crisis

This virtual conference explores how the diverse landscape of partnerships, social enterprises, participatory models, and community-led initiatives spearheading social innovation for inclusion has fared during COVID-19. It also focuses on how this ecosystem can emerge strengthened from the pandemic, and be a vital force in addressing new humanitarian challenges.

Welcoming Remarks by:

Hanne Beirens, Director, MPI Europe

Brian Street, Refugee and Migration Affairs Officer, U.S. Mission to the European Union

Mary Coulter, Counsellor for Migration, Mission of Canada to the European Union,

Paul Soete, President of the Thematic Study Group on Immigration and Integration, European Economic and Social Committee

MPI 20th Anniversary Conference: Migration & Humanitarian Protection in a Rapidly Evolving World - Armchair Discussion

In the 20 years since the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) was founded, international migration trends and policies have changed in dramatic ways. The number of migrants has increased, many more migrants are in mixed flows with humanitarian protection needs, and migration has become a much more salient political issue in countries around the world. What do these trends presage for the future in terms of international migration governance and humanitarian protection?

During an armchair discussion, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, António Vitorino, and MPI cofounder and President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou discussed the evolution of international migration governance and its possible future. The conversation was moderated by Meghan Benton, Director for International Research, MPI and MPI Europe.

MPI 20th Anniversary Conference: Migration & Humanitarian Protection in a Rapidly Evolving World - Opening Panel

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration, MPI‘s 20th Anniversary by Migration Policy Institute on December 2nd, 2021

In the 20 years since the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) was founded, international migration trends and policies have changed in dramatic ways. The number of migrants has increased, many more migrants are in mixed flows with humanitarian protection needs, and migration has become a much more salient political issue in countries around the world. What do these trends presage for the future in terms of international migration governance and humanitarian protection?

The conference opened with a panel discussion on humanitarian protection with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, MPI co-founder Kathleen Newland, and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) President Wendy Young.

Changing Migration to Costa Rica and Implications for Immigrant Integration Policy

Within Latin America, Costa Rica is a top immigrant-destination country. New dynamics emerged beginning in 2015 as migration flows became increasingly mixed, with the arrival of refugees, seasonal and permanent immigrants, and extracontinental migrants transiting the country en route to destinations further north. With increasing numbers of Venezuelans and extracontinental migrants, and more recently a surge in Nicaraguan arrivals, there are greater pressures on the Costa Rican migration system’s capacity. The arrivals also have tested society’s acceptance of immigrants amid the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, which strained government resources and presented unique challenges for migrants. Yet migration holds opportunities as Costa Rica potentially stands to benefit from this influx of human capital if properly managed.

This webinar marks the release of a report examining the state of Costa Rica’s institutional framework and initiatives supporting the integration of migrants and refugees, a particularly critical policy area as the immigrant population continues to grow. The discussion, which features key Costa Rican government officials and members of the private sector and civil society,  explores where the migration system is most advanced and where challenges remain, along with how to better foster immigrant integration, in particular for recent arrivals, as well as social cohesion. Topics include regularization and registration, health, employment, and education.

The event was in Spanish and this is the live English interpretation.

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