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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Episodes

Tuesday Sep 26, 2023

What does the future of refugee resettlement look like? In this World of Migration episode, MPI Senior Policy Analyst Susan Fratzke leads an insightful conversation about sponsorship of refugees by private individuals and community groups. With humanitarian protection systems struggling to address record needs, more countries—including the United States—are turning to private or community sponsorship. Tune in to hear from Erin Schutte Wadzinski, who leads one of the pioneering sponsorship groups in Worthington, Minnesota. She discusses the Welcome Corps program launched by the U.S. government in January 2023. What does it mean to be a sponsor? How much responsibility do sponsors take on? What is the private sponsorship experience for refugees? Is this model working well? The conversation offers answers to these and other questions.

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

While efforts to incorporate refugee voices into humanitarian protection practices continue to gain momentum, meaningful consultation of refugees in sponsorship program operations remains limited. And there is little reflection on opportunities for improvement.
Consultation with sponsored refugees on their experiences can help identify areas for improvement and inform how to do so. Involving refugees in the creation of key program elements, such as predeparture orientation or postarrival training, can help mitigate the risk of cultural shock. Engaging previously sponsored refugees as mentors for newcomers or as trainers of volunteer sponsors can help bridge cultural gaps, improve integration outcomes, and bolster volunteer efforts. Promoting refugee engagement in advocacy can also help raise awareness about the value and scale of the sponsorship pathway.
In this webinar, speakers examined the challenges that hinder refugee participation in sponsorship program design and operation and explore meaningful ways, tools, and mechanisms for effectively expanding refugees’ role in current and future programs. The conversation showcased innovative initiatives that are already making strides in refugee involvement.
This webinar was convened under the Building Capacity for Private Sponsorship in the European Union project (known as CAPS-EU), which is working to build capacity to design, implement, sustain, and scale up community sponsorship programs for refugees. Led by the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) and supported by the Belgian reception agency (Fedasil) and MPI Europe, the project is co-financed by the European Commission under the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund.

Tuesday Sep 19, 2023

Facing the adverse impacts of climate change, many people are better off migrating, whether within their country or internationally, at least for a short time. Yet for a variety of reasons, migration is not always possible. This episode of our podcast focuses on these groups, sometimes known as “trapped populations.” Why do people stay in places where their homes, livelihoods, and their very lives are threatened? We explore these questions with Caroline Zickgraf, deputy director of the Hugo Observatory at the University of Liège in Belgium.

Thursday Aug 24, 2023

Governments in West Africa have intensified their efforts to manage migration more effectively and to greater benefit. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders are exploring ways to boost remittance receipts, harness the potential of diasporas for developments, and enhance international financial connections. What are the latest migration dynamics in West Africa, and how are African leaders responding to these trends? Can European and African policymakers collaborate to create safer and better-managed migration between the two continents? In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Europe Associate Director Camille Le Coz engages in a conversation with Leander Kandilige, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Ghana. Tune in to learn more about the complexities of migration policymaking in West Africa and the opportunities.

Thursday Jul 27, 2023

West Africa’s Sahel region is experiencing crisis, with outbreaks of violence, weak economies, and governance issues. These challenges are compounded by the impacts of climate change, leading to an increasing number of people being internally displaced or seeking refuge in other countries. What do migration flows look like? And how are governments in the region responding? In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Europe Associate Director Camille Le Coz discusses displacement in the Sahel with Alexandra Tapsoba, a development economist at the Higher Institute for Population Sciences at the University Joseph Ki-Zerbo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Tune in for an interesting conversation on an often overlooked region.

Thursday Jul 27, 2023

Voluntary return and sustainable reintegration involve a large network of stakeholders in countries of origin and destination, each working under different (although sometimes overlapping) authorities and policy environments. Given the multiplicity of voluntary return and reintegration strategies and programs in recent years, stakeholders are sometimes unclear about the strategic priorities that others within their networks are pursuing. Ensuring wider awareness about goals is a key first step towards successful cooperation, including around questions of ownership and funding of initiatives. So is the success of public information campaigns around voluntary return and reintegration, as well as opportunities after return and tackling the prejudice often directed at returnees.
While public communication has improved, with dedicated awareness campaigns undertaken by civil society and government entities in countries of migrant origin and destination alike, many challenges remain. Among them are inadequate outreach to the most vulnerable groups and the need to counter misinformation and rumors about the profile of returnees. Some questions are also pending as to which actors and formats are the most suited for successful engagement, whether through official government channels, diaspora groups and other civil society actors, or returnees sharing their experience.
This Migration Policy Institute (MPI) webinar explores the goals and target audiences for public-facing information campaigns on voluntary return and reintegration, how to evaluate dissemination gaps, and the risks associated with inadvertently issuing messages that are not trusted or are misunderstood.
This webinar is part of a research partnership between MPI and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ), supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Wednesday Jul 26, 2023

The U.S. immigration court system is struggling with backlogs that have swelled to a record 1.9 million cases—with more than 700,000 added last year alone. The result is that cases, more than 40 percent of which are claims for asylum, take years to adjudicate—depriving people eligible for relief of decisions, undermining the effectiveness of immigration enforcement, and incentivizing unauthorized arrivals.
What factors have brought the court system to the breaking point? What technological and other changes are being implemented to improve the judicial process? And, recognizing that Congress is unlikely to overhaul the immigration courts any time soon, what steps can be taken administratively to strengthen the system?
This conversation marks the launch of a major report (available at: https://bit.ly/immcourtsreport) examining the status of the court system, the factors that have driven it to a state of crisis, and recommendations that would enable the courts to more reliably deliver decisions that are both timely and fair.
Speakers include: Jojo Annobil, Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps; Muzaffar Chishti, MPI Senior Fellow and Director, MPI office at NYU School of Law; David L. Neal, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Justice Department; Blas Nuñez-Neto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy and Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and the moderator Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI.

Wednesday Jul 12, 2023


Climate migration sounds simple. It’s not. This episode of the podcast speaks with Lawrence Huang, MPI’s lead researcher on climate change and migration, to answer the most common questions around one of the least understood dynamics in human movement.

Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

Migration from Haiti, while longstanding, took on new urgency after a 2010 earthquake decimated the country. In the years since, Haitians have fanned out across the Americas. Less focus has been given to the migration of Haitians within the Caribbean and their experiences there. In this episode, Migration Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Valerie Lacarte speaks with experts Bridget Wooding and Louby George about migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, is the second top destination for Haitians after the United States; the Bahamas hosts a much smaller share of the nearly 1.8 million Haitians who have sought protection or improved living conditions outside their country. What have been the policy responses? And the warmth of the welcome? Tune in.

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.

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