Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

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Thursday Jun 22, 2023

Making refugee participation meaningful has been at the forefront of discussions within the protection community. At the global level, refugee participation has increasingly become an important part of preparations for dialogues, policy fora, and convenings; national governments have begun to set up advisory boards and consultative mechanisms to better incorporate refugee perspectives and voices into decision-making. These developments are relatively new, however, and there has been little systematic evidence gathering or evaluation to determine whether these opportunities are truly meaningful and how effective they have been in terms of influencing policy and programming. 
As opportunities for participation proliferate, in particular in the run-up to the 2023 Global Refugee Forum, there is an opportunity to set the framework for evaluating future efforts at facilitating refugee participation. This would allow stakeholders to better understand the effectiveness of policies that result from meaningful engagement, as well as distinguish between tokenistic and meaningful participation. In this webinar, key stakeholders discuss what makes refugee engagement meaningful and how this links to improved policies, how meaningful participation can be evaluated, and what lessons learned should be implemented.
The conversation showcases findings from the publication Building Meaningful Refugee Participation into Protection Policymaking from the Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World initiative led by MPI and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Thursday Jun 08, 2023

Humanitarian organizations often race to help people affected by natural disasters. But what if they could act before catastrophes occur to mitigate disaster-induced forced migration? In this episode, we discuss this kind of anticipatory action and how it might reduce chaotic displacement. Our guests are Gana Gantulga and Zeke Simperingham from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Tuesday May 23, 2023

In the post-COVID-19 world, the response of countries to the global pandemic continues to be closely studied for an assessment of the effectiveness of mobility restrictions and other public health-related measures and what the approaches might mean for future public health crises. China, with a “zero COVID” policy that was far more stringent and for far longer than other countries, stands out as a particular case, also not least because other governments around the world imposed nationality-specific travel measures on Chinese travelers. Why did China shut its borders so quickly, so tightly, and for so long? How has China fared over the longer term? How did other countries in the Asia Pacific react? And what does this all portend for future public health crises in the region? In this episode, Lawrence Huang, who is working on MPI’s Task Force on Borders and Mobility During and After COVID-19, discusses developments in the Asia Pacific with Dr. Karen Grépin, a health policy professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Thursday May 18, 2023

The U.S.-Mexico border is one of the busiest in the world, with hundreds of thousands of vehicles and pedestrians–and hundreds of millions of dollars in trade—crossing legally through ports of entry each day. In addition, the ports of entry receive some of the asylum seekers and other migrants who are seeking to enter the United States. How have policies, procedures, and operations around would-be migrants evolved, in particular as migration to the border has increased and the nationalities diversified greatly? Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee and two colleagues who were at the border examining U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations discuss.

Friday Apr 28, 2023

The arrival of more than 8 million people from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2022 has added considerable pressure on reception and integration systems already under significant strain and confronting existing structural challenges. Governments have had to quickly register large numbers of arrivals, provide first-reception services, ensure access to education and health care, and incorporate newcomers into the labor market.
Faced with this herculean task, digital solutions became a lifeline for many governments and stakeholders. From remote registration to distance schooling and matching apps to facilitate access to housing and the labor market, the last year has borne witness to a boom of digital tools to quickly increase capacity, streamline processes, and improve support for the displaced. Yet, these are often standalone initiatives, endangering their sustainability. And while digitalization holds promise to deeply transform migration and integration systems, without a clear vision and control over their development, digital tools also carry significant risk, such as eroded data privacy and exclusion.
One year into the Ukrainian displacement crisis offers an opportunity to take stock of the digital solutions utilized. In this MPI Europe webinar, speakers examine the trade-offs, identify lessons learned, and explore how digital tools might strengthen migration and integration systems for the future. This webinar, part of an MPI Europe digitalization project, features the findings of a recent report 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 redesign the global protection and resettlement infrastructure in a way that is more equitable, flexible, and sustainable.
Related report:  https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/asylum-system-digital-tools

Tuesday Apr 25, 2023

The number of migrant children entering the United States without a parent or legal guardian reached a record high last year. Most unaccompanied children temporarily enter the care of the U.S. government before joining parents or other sponsors in U.S. communities to await the outcome of their immigration proceedings. Once they have made this transition, the services and supports that are critical to their ability to thrive—medical and mental health care key among them—can be difficult to access. This 60-minute conversation marks the conclusion of a research project undertaken in 2022 by MPI and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to study unaccompanied children’s access to medical and mental health services after release from federal custody.
AAP and MPI launched their report, A Path to Meeting the Medical and Mental Health Needs of Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities, and discussed its findings and recommendations during this webinar, including insights from field visits in Houston, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, where researchers spoke with more than 100 professionals working with unaccompanied children. The conversation featured a walk-through of the report’s findings around barriers to care for unaccompanied children and promising community practices to strengthen medical and mental health services. It also focused on the report’s recommendations on steps that governments, health systems, schools, and communities can take to improve access to medical and mental health care, for the benefit of the children and broader society.

Monday Apr 24, 2023

Migration to the U.S.-Mexico border, once overwhelmingly a Mexican phenomenon, has diversified and become increasingly hemispheric in nature. As the immigration flows become more complex and the encounters of arriving asylum seekers and other migrants surge to record levels, how are U.S. border operations and policies evolving? And what is driving rising immigration from across Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond? Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee speaks with two colleagues who traveled from one end of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary to the other, touring U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and interviewing U.S. and Mexican officials, NGO leaders, and others.

Friday Apr 21, 2023

Career and technical education (CTE) is frequently touted as an effective strategy to encourage high school students to persist to graduation and set themselves on a path to jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage. For English Learners (ELs), who disproportionately come from low-income families and are less likely than their peers to graduate on time, participating in CTE can be especially rewarding—if they have meaningful access to such classes and support to successfully complete them. Federal rules and state oversight play important roles in ensuring ELs are allowed to enroll in CTE, but challenges to serving them are numerous, from student schedules already packed with required classes to faculty unprepared to meet unique learning needs.
ELs’ meaningful participation in CTE requires a holistic approach to program planning and student recruitment. For example, school counselors—who play a gatekeeping role in determining the courses students can access—can benefit from working closely with EL specialists to understand student and family perspectives. Regular, two-way communication with higher education and industry partners ensures that high school staff understand local opportunities, and that those partners are ready to take advantage of the assets current and former EL students bring with them and to support their continued career growth.
This webinar marks the release of a report from MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy on CTE and ELs that describes federal and state policies that support EL inclusion in CTE, as well as local challenges and opportunities. The conversation highlights a Texas school district program in which collaborative practices between the CTE and multilingual departments are taking place to ensure ELs are appropriately supported.

Saturday Apr 15, 2023

When large numbers of asylum seekers and other migrants arrive at the borders of Western countries without prior authorization to enter, they are often treated as “spontaneous” arrivals. But migration is almost never truly spontaneous. Usually, human mobility across international borders is the result of complicated decision-making and a careful weighing of the costs and benefits. This episode features David Leblang, a professor of politics and public policy at the University of Virginia, who discusses how climate change fits into the migration calculus.

Thursday Apr 13, 2023

Marking the launch of MPI’s Global Skills and Talent Initiative, this webcast features senior policymakers and other experts discussing the extent to which labor market needs should shape future immigration policy decisions, and how countries are adjusting—and could adjust—their immigration systems to meet human capital and competitiveness needs. We were delighted to have remarks from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou; the Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Christiane Fox; the Director of the Migration and Asylum Directorate at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Michael Shotter; and Patrick Hallinan, Minister Counsellor Home Affairs and Regional Director - Americas, Department of Home Affairs, Australia.

Thursday Mar 30, 2023

Pressures on the global humanitarian protection system have only worsened as the Afghan and Ukrainian refugee crises come on top of longstanding displacement from Syria, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, and other countries. These crises have given new urgency to finding ways to connect displaced peoples with opportunities to find safety and resume their lives. The use of complementary pathways, such as existing work and study visa channels, has been touted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and others as an option running alongside traditional avenues such as asylum and refugee resettlement. But how can humanitarian migrants with skills and experience potentially use existing work or study pathways to fill labor market needs in destination countries? In this episode, MPI’s Susan Fratzke speaks with Betsy Fisher, U.S. Director of the nonprofit Talent Beyond Boundaries, about complementary pathways. Learn more about innovative solutions to support displaced peoples and connect them with job opportunities.

Wednesday Mar 15, 2023

Investor visa programs have become popular for countries seeking to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth. Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, however, there has been greater scrutiny on these programs and who is using them. This new controversy has added to a longstanding debate about whether countries should sell residency rights in exchange for passive investment. But how exactly do these programs work, and what are the potential benefits and drawbacks? In this episode, MPI’s Kate Hooper speaks with Madeleine Sumption, the director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, about the range of investment visa programs, applicants’ motives, and more.

Tuesday Mar 14, 2023

La migración ha sido durante mucho tiempo parte de la realidad de las países del Caribe.A menudo asociadas con la emigración a América del Norte y Europa, los movimientos dentro del Caribe son una parte igualmente importante de su historia. En las últimas décadas el cambio climático, los desastres naturales y los cambios en los patrones de movilidad global han modificado el panorama migratorio en el Caribe.En este webinar, expertos del Banco Interamericano (BID) y el Migration Policy Institute (MPI) presentaron las principales conclusiones de su nueva publicación sobre la realidad migratoria de la región. Además, compartieron algunos de los desafíos y oportunidades para la integración de la población migrante, así como para capitalizar el potencial de sus diásporas como un impulso para el desarrollo.

Tuesday Mar 14, 2023

Migration has long been part of Caribbean nations’ reality. Often discussed in the context of emigration to North America and Europe, movements to and within the Caribbean are an equally important part of its history. In recent decades, climate change, natural disasters, and shifts in global mobility patterns have reshaped the migration landscape in the Caribbean.
In this webinar, offered in English and Spanish, experts from the Inter-American Bank and the Migration Policy Institute present a policy review, Migration, Integration, and Diaspora Engagement in the Caribbean, on migration in nine Caribbean countries, outlining challenges and opportunities for the integration of the migrant population and a successful engagement with diasporas to advance the development of the region. The conversation also focuses on recommendations for key Caribbean stakeholders and external partners interested in strengthening the region’s capacity to accommodate changing patterns of migration.

Monday Mar 06, 2023

Increasingly, human beings are city dwellers. More than half the global population lives in an urban area, and the rates are increasing. Some new urban residents may be fleeing rural areas vulnerable to the impact of climate change. But are they likely to fare much better in the city when it comes to climate impacts? And are fast-growing cities around the world prepared to confront environmental challenges that come with rising populations? This episode discusses these questions with noted climate expert Neil Adger, a professor of human geography at the University of Exeter.

Wednesday Feb 15, 2023

The war in Ukraine reaches its one-year milestone on February 24, 2023. Whilst the fallout of the Russian invasion, whether geopolitical, economic, energy- or food-related, has left few countries untouched, the European Union has had to gear up for the prolonged stay of nearly 5 million displaced Ukrainians and face the prospect of new arrivals amid unrelenting violence. This has presented policymakers with the multi-pronged challenge of integrating Ukrainian refugees into housing, education, and labor markets while also preparing for the eventual rebuilding of Ukraine and return of millions of its citizens. Nearly one year into the massive displacement and the relief effort, this MPI Europe webinar examines what has been done to foster the integration of those staying long(er) in host societies, to organize first reception services for any additional newcomers, and to prepare the return of those set on going home and rebuilding Ukraine. Speakers explore responses ranging from swift implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive to improvements in labor market integration, as well as efforts to facilitate social and economic reintegration for those intent on returning. The speakers also consider how the tension between reception, integration, and return (to rebuild) has materialized in the context of the Ukrainian response, and the challenges that lie ahead. The time is ripe to devise a range of approaches that can serve the interests of displaced Ukrainians, host societies, and Ukraine alike. This webinar examines whether the emerging practices are adequate.
Read the related commentary.

Thursday Feb 02, 2023

People displaced by climate change are not eligible for refugee status. But should countries extend any sort of legal protections to them? Our guest, Ama Francis, a climate displacement project strategist with the International Refugee Assistance Project and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, thinks so. In this episode, we discuss some small ongoing initiatives and what new legal pathways might look like. 

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Is the world facing a chaotic century of mass migration spurred by climate change? As the planet’s temperature warms, award-winning environmental journalist Gaia Vince thinks so. In her book, Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World, she contemplates a future in which hundreds of millions of people move from one part of the globe to another in a planned and deliberate migration. We discuss her bold solutions for managing what she terms a species emergency in this episode.

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

As of November, more than 12.7 million crossings had been recorded into the European Union from Ukraine, with 4.5 million registered under the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) or similar national protection. The exodus of those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine beginning in February exceeded that of any recent humanitarian crisis in speed and scale and represents the largest displacement in Europe since World War II. European policymakers, the general public, and volunteers mobilized rapidly to respond.
Across the European Union there has been a generally strong welcome for those displaced from Ukraine, including the first-ever activation of the TPD, which opened quick residence and work rights. Recently, the European Commission extended TPD until March 2024.
But as winter approaches and the brutal conflict in Ukraine drags on, Europe is facing another set of challenges related to longer-term protection and integration for the newcomers. During this armchair discussion, Monique Pariat, the European Commission’s Director General for Migration and Home Affairs, reflects on Europe’s rapid and unprecedented response to the crisis; the tangible outcomes of TPD activation for Ukrainians and host societies alike; Ukrainians’ access to labor markets, education systems, and housing; and reform of the European asylum system.

Thursday Dec 08, 2022

Anxiety around immigration is far from recent, yet there are concerns that it is reaching a new peak with far-right parties attaining positions of power in places such as Sweden and Italy, and nationalistic rhetoric entering the daily mainstream. Populist and radical-right politicians from the United States to France, Denmark, and beyond have exploited anxiety around large-scale demographic change, stoking fears of immigrants “replacing” natives and erasing their culture and way of life. Our Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan discusses with researcher Justin Gest (author of “Majority Minority”) the ways in which the confluence of polarization, nationalism, and immigration seen today can be interpreted. How can increasingly diverse societies come up with a new definition of “we” that is both meaningful and inclusive?  

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