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.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas discusses refugee resettlement and other pressing immigration issues in this keynote address opening the 2016 Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
There has been considerable policy activity and innovation over the last 50 years to improve educational equity across student populations, starting with civil-rights lawsuits in the 1960s over access to high-quality education and continuing through the 2001 and 2015 reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Disproportionately lower achievement outcomes for several student subgroups have remained a top concern during this time, including those for economically disadvantaged students, English Learners (ELs), and certain racial and ethnic minority groups.
Marking the release of a new report, this webinar will explore the key funding mechanisms in place to support EL students, including federal Title III and state supplementary funding sources. In light of broad trends toward more decentralized decisionmaking and the increased opportunities that follow for stakeholder input to shape key educational policies, presenters discuss the diverse sources of information that should be brought to bear on public conversations about funding. These include demographic trends in the student population, district and school-based services that meet diverse student needs, and what efforts are being made to improve educational quality and student outcomes. Drawing examples from recent national and state-level actions, the speakers demonstrate how efforts to improve educational quality for ELs are tightly bound to efforts to improve the equitable distribution of educational resources.
August marks the fourth anniversary of implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since its launch in 2012, DACA has provided a reprieve from deportation and temporary eligibility to work legally in the United States to more than 700,000 young unauthorized immigrants. And in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to allow a more expansive deferred-action initiative for parents to go forward, DACA remains the only large-scale initiative that offers relief from deportation to unauthorized immigrants.
This webinar marked the release of a new Migration Policy Institute issue brief that includes the most current estimates of potential DACA beneficiaries, which were generated using data from the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) and MPI’s unique assignments of unauthorized status to noncitizens in the data. Webinar participants discussed their findings regarding the rates of those who have applied, have sought renewal, and may apply for a second renewal of status, along with data on those who might be eligible in the future for DACA or able to gain eligibility through education. They also discussed recent policy and political developments, present trends in DACA requests and application rates by country of origin and at U.S. and state levels, and examine how DACA has affected the social integration, education, and employment of qualifying young unauthorized immigrants.
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.
The educational needs of immigrant students in primary and secondary schools pose a growing challenge for policymakers and educators, whether in countries such as the United States, where nearly 10 percent of students are learning English, or in Germany, which is dealing with record numbers of asylum seekers. Many local schools lack the resources and capacities to meet the needs of these students, particularly given that many have limited or interrupted formal education, coupled with low or no proficiency in the language of instruction.
Speakers on this webinar discuss the need for supplementary funding to support the educational needs of migrant-background students and provide an overview of the mechanics of school funding for migrant-background students in the four focal countries examined in the report. They also discuss how schools use those funds to provide specialized services, and highlight the most salient choices facing policymakers who seek to use supplementary funding mechanisms to better support effective, high-quality educational services for children from immigrant and refugee families.
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.
On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Texas, the Obama administration’s appeal of a lower federal court order suspending DAPA implementation. How the court rules in this legal challenge filed by 26 states will have both economic and social impacts on the population of eligible parents, their families, and the communities in which they reside. MPI experts explore who makes up the affected population, analyzing the legal arguments presented to the court, and examining the potential immediate and long-term implications of this case.
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.
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.
On this webinar, MPI analysts and experts in the field discuss the results of an analysis comparing young children of refugees to other U.S. children on several key indicators of well-being. This analysis is based on U.S. Census Bureau data with MPI’s unique assignments of refugee status to the foreign-born population, as well as administrative data on refugee arrivals from the U.S. Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and Office of Refugee Resettlement. Key indicators to be discussed include geographic resettlement patterns, languages spoken, English proficiency, family structure, parental education and employment, poverty rates, use of public benefits, and health insurance coverage. The report analyzed these indicators for the most common refugee origin groups, including Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, Ukraine, Somalia, Haiti, Russia, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Burma, and 10 others.
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.
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.
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.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recently signed into law updates the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and provides a stronger focus on closing the achievement gap between English learners and other students. The law maintains accountability for subgroups of students, including English learners. Most importantly, it builds on that requirement by elevating English proficiency outcomes to be a key element of statewide accountability systems.
Despite these changes and other improvements for English learners, the law moves many critical accountability decisions from the federal to the state level, meaning that new strategies and efforts will be needed to ensure quality education services for these children. The creation of state plans and accountability measures to implement the new law’s provisions will provide immigrant groups and other English learner stakeholders with numerous opportunities to safeguard English learners’ rights to an equitable education and ensure they can excel along with other students. Join us January 21 to learn more about ESSA’s provisions and particular areas of concern for stakeholders who seek to maintain and build policies and practices that support immigrant and English-learner students’ success.
Research finds that growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents places children at a disadvantage. Over the past decade, legislation that would provide a pathway to legal status for these parents stalled in Congress several times, and last year federal courts blocked implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)—an Obama administration initiative to extend work permits and a temporary reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrant parents. Absent major policy changes, millions of American children will continue to face the possibility of parental deportation and other risks associated with having an unauthorized immigrant parent.
MPI analysts and a leading education scholar present and discuss findings on the citizenship and immigration status of children with unauthorized immigrant parents, their age structure, variations in status by age, school enrollment patterns, geographic distribution, English proficiency, and educational attainment rates. Presenters also discuss the effects of parental unauthorized status on children and the risks unique to this population in comparison to children of immigrants generally and all U.S. children, along with policies that could compound or ameliorate the negative effects of parental unauthorized status on children.
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.
Timed to coincide with the release of a series of new fact sheets that provide in-depth data profiles of immigrant and refugee adult learners and workers, this webinar explores the relationship of key Census data findings to current state and local efforts to devise plans for implementation of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
In recent decades roughly 1 million foreign-born individuals have settled in the United States per year, many with needs for adult education and workforce training services. WIOA’s implementation could play a critical role in supporting the upward mobility of these immigrants and refugees in the workforce and their successful integration into the civic life of the cities and states where they have settled. However, the law’s narrow accountability measures are expected by many to make it more difficult for local providers to serve immigrants and refugees seeking to learn English or improve their basic skills, especially those who are not on track to earn postsecondary credentials or who do not have this as a goal.
MPI Leadership Visions held a discussion with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz-Massieu, for the first public appearance during her first visit to Washington, DC in her current capacity. With the growing importance of migration matters tying the United States and Mexico together, this Leadership Visions program moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner offers a special opportunity to hear from and engage with a critical figure in the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Minister Ruiz-Massieu was appointed to her post by President Enrique Peña Nieto on August 27, 2015, having previously served as Minister of Tourism since 2012. Prior to joining the Peña Nieto administration, she served two terms as an elected member of Mexico's House of Representatives. Minister Ruiz-Massieu has also had a distinguished academic career.