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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.

Building Effective Migration Management Capacity in Mexico and Central America

Posted in International Migration, Immigration Enforcement, Migration in Mexico and Central America by Migration Policy Institute on April 16th, 2021

In response to shifting migration trends, with more Central Americans and migrants from other regions traveling through and settling in Mexico and Central America, governments in the region over the past 5 years have developed new capacities to manage migration. These efforts, however, have often been fragile, ad hoc, institutionally weak, and more often focused on enforcement than a comprehensive approach. Moving forward, these governments face an unprecedented opportunity to lay the foundation necessary to build a regional migration system that privileges safe, orderly, and legal migration.

This report release examines migration management in Mexico and Central America, in particular Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. The report examines growing government attention to migration functions, enhanced immigration enforcement, increased investments in asylum systems and existing protection frameworks, as well as labor migration policies. The discussion explores the report’s findings, along with strategies that regional and U.S. governments, as well as civil society, can employ to better manage migration. As governments in the region are being confronted with rapidly changing migration trends, it is an ever more pressing priority for governments in the region to develop institutional capacity to manage these movements and build an effective, collaborative regional migration system that works in the interest of all countries.

This is the original audio.  Speakers made their remarks in Spanish and English. There is no simultaneous interpretation in this audio.  Spanish and English interpretations will be posted online zoom. 

A Year of Pandemic: The State of Global Human Mobility & What Is on the Horizon

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on April 11th, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed mobility and cross-border movement in 2020, decimating tourism and business travel, severely curtailing labor migration, and dampening all forms of migration, including refugee resettlement. Since the onset of the public-health crisis, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has tracked the hundreds of travel restrictions, border closures, and health-related travel requirements imposed by governments globally. An IOM-Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report draws from the IOM database to sketch the state of mobility across world regions in 2020, and the range of mobility-related strategies used to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.
 

This two-panel discussion, featuring introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino, examines how the pandemic reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond. The first panel examines the government actions and regional and international coordination undertaken in 2020, including “travel bubbles” and immunity passports, along with how policymakers balanced health and economic concerns and the needs of vulnerable populations and unprecedented logistical issues in their responses. The second panel explored what policymakers should consider as the world enters into a new, uneven phase marked on the one hand by rising vaccinations, but on the other by the spread of new COVID-19 variants and additional mobility restrictions as caseloads rise in some regions. Speakers discussed what it may take to reopen fully, a possible new border infrastructure focused on public health, what regional and international coordination efforts are showing promise, and a look ahead to major decisions that will need to be made in 2021.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: The Benefits of Climate Migration

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on April 2nd, 2021

Popular discussions usually frame climate change-induced migration negatively, often as a strategy of last resort. But migrating abroad can also be an effective way to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This episode discusses how migration can bring social, economic, and other benefits to migrants and their communities, in conversation with University of Vienna human geographer Harald Sterly.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Is Climate Change Driving Migration from Central America?

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.

COVID-19 Recovery and the Next Stage of the Syrian Refugee Response After Ten Years

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration by Migration Policy Institute on March 24th, 2021

Ten years into the response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this webinar explores findings from a research project conducted by the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP) and MPI on lessons from international experiences to support pathways to solutions in the Syrian refugee context.

The convergence of the pandemic and recovery efforts with new conversations about funding offers opportunities to reflect on the Syrian refugee response ten years on, and think critically about how international donors, host governments, and civil society can best address these challenges. How should funding be directed to promote a resilient and refugee-inclusive recovery? What interventions and policies should be prioritized going forward and how can local responses be strengthened? What lessons can be learned from other displacements and from the Syrian experience?

This webinar moderated by MPI President Andrew Selee features introductory remarks from DSP Manager Kathryn Achilles, and voices from the region: Sally Abi Khalil, Country Director for Oxfam Lebanon; Zaid Eyadat, Center for Strategic Studies Director at The University of Jordan; and Hassan Jenedie, Executive Director of Bousla Development & Innovation. MPI author Camille LeCoz presented the findings of the research project that includes case studies with examples of practices and approaches for supporting the resilience and self-reliance of refugees and host communities from different displacement contexts around the world and how the lessons learned can be applied in the Syrian refugee context.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Who Manages Climate Migration? Evolving Global Governance

Climate change and international migration both are global issues with aspects that countries try to manage through treaties, pacts, and other types of agreements. But most of the global governance frameworks that exist for climate-induced migration require only voluntary commitments by states. This episode features a discussion with political scientist Nick Micinski, author of the forthcoming books, UN Global Compacts: Governing Migrants and Refugees and Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union.

The Future of Refugee Resettlement and Complementary Pathways: Strengthening Sustainable and Strategic Humanitarian Solutions for Refugees

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on February 23rd, 2021

As one of three durable solutions traditionally available for refugees, third-country resettlement is an important part of the international commitment to refugee protection and support. Yet the vast majority of refugees in need of resettlement as a durable solution in 2021 are unlikely to be resettled. In 2020, amid a global pandemic, resettlement numbers reached a record low: only 22,770 (1.6 percent) of the 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement were resettled. In a recent paper, The Future of Refugee Resettlement & Complementary Pathways: Strengthening sustainable and strategic humanitarian solutions for refugees, Church World Service (CWS) argues that resettlement can and should be a humanitarian program to find protection for individuals and strategically contribute to the resolution of situations of forced displacement. However, achieving these goals will require political, structural, and operational changes. In particular, CWS makes the case that complementary pathways represent untapped opportunities for refugees to improve their lives through migration and proposes several key recommendations to advance complementary pathways and resettlement in the future.

This joint event organized by MPI and CWS, one of nine U.S. refugee resettlement agencies, brings together experts in the field to discuss the paper. As its primary author, Katherine Rehberg, Deputy Vice President of the Immigration and Refugee Program at CWS, presented the key findings and recommendations. The discussion then turned to the European Asylum Support Office’s work to foster closer international cooperation on resettlement submissions and processing, as well as what those experiences hold for wider cooperation between countries on resettlement processing, particularly outside the European Union. In addition, the conversation focused on what is required to implement complementary pathways at an international level.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Migrate or Adapt? How Pacific Islanders Respond to Climate Change

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on February 19th, 2021

Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations. But not everyone wants to migrate, and governments have balanced supporting people who relocate with other ways of adapting to changing conditions. Carol Farbotko, of Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Tasmania, joins the podcast to discuss the policies and dynamics in place in this region.

 

 

A Way Forward on Migration Under the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union?

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by Migration Policy Institute on February 9th, 2021

Portugal assumed the rotating EU Presidency in January 2021 and has prioritized progress on the Migration and Asylum Pact proposed by the European Commission last September. The pact tackles many of the most intractable issues in the management and governance of international migration, including how to manage mixed migration flows that have presented a near-existential challenge for the European Union. With the pact generating a great deal of interest across sending and receiving countries alike, all eyes will be on Portugal as it tries to make progress on issues ranging from managing external borders better, offering protection to asylum seekers with legitimate claims, relocating refugees and asylum seekers, and returns.

Borrowing from U.S. debates on immigration about “comprehensive” versus “piecemeal” reforms, the key questions are how much Portugal can achieve over the next six months, what it should prioritize, and where the Portuguese Presidency can find support for its ambitions. How can Europe manage the external, EU-wide, and even domestic aspects of this policy area more effectively and avoid the policy and political minefields set over the past six years? Will Europe be able to come together on this issue and give meaning to the often-used notions of “solidarity” and “responsibility sharing”? Or will the centrifugal forces on this issue grow and imperil the bloc’s ability to speak and act with one voice on difficult issues?

This MPI-MPI Europe webinar brings together senior officials from the European Union, Germany (the last holder of the presidency) and Portugal to take stock of where the conversations on the pact stand as Germany passes the baton on this issue to Portugal, and Portugal’s plans for taking forward the negotiations. The discussion focuses on two questions: (1) what lessons can be learned from the German Presidency’s work last fall on the pact and what are Portugal’s priorities for making progress on it, and (2) how can European policymakers make the case for greater solidarity on migration and asylum issues?

Prospects for a U.S. Legalization Program and the Unauthorized Immigrant Groups that Could Factor in the Debate

Posted in US Immigration Policy by Migration Policy Institute on February 8th, 2021

Sixty percent of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States have lived in the country for a decade or more, becoming an enduring part of its workforce, economy, and communities. While the resource requirements for deporting this entire group would be insurmountable, there has been sparse serious congressional action to provide any path to legalization for the last 20 years. Dogged by questions of who should be eligible for legalization and under what conditions as well as the political reactions these questions trigger, lawmakers have repeatedly hit an impasse, inevitably dooming the prospects for urgently needed broader immigration reform.  

On day one of his administration, President Joe Biden called upon Congress to enact a sweeping proposal to give unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship. How will Congress respond to this latest effort? Is it likely to garner bipartisan support?

Marking the release of a report (http://bit.ly/usimmleg) that takes stock of various legalization options, particularly amid growing calls to recognize the role immigrants deemed essential workers have played during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing upon MPI’s unique methodology to provide estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population and study their characteristics, the report examines the composition of the unauthorized population and offers important new data on various subgroups, including DREAMers and essential workers. Beyond unveiling the findings, the discussion features Republican and Democratic perspectives on possible legislative strategies surrounding legalization, the likelihood of achieving bipartisan support, and what has and has not changed in Congress since the last major effort at immigration reform in 2013.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: The Many Possible Futures of Climate-Linked Migration

Posted in Migration and Development, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on February 5th, 2021

Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme in the coming decades, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like? This episode features a conversation with Robert McLeman, a geographer and environmental studies expert at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, about the possible scenarios that lie ahead for the relationship between climate change and migration, depending on how countries act in the next few decades.

 

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: How Climate-Linked Food Insecurity Shapes Migration

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on January 12th, 2021

Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility. In this episode we talk with Megan Carney, an anthropologist and director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Regional Food Studies, to examine the role of food security in the connection between climate change and migration.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Talking Money: Climate Finance and Migration

Billions of dollars are being spent on projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including those at risk of being displaced by environmental events. This episode features Timo Schmidt, from the Migration Policy Institute Europe, in a discussion about the growing field of climate finance and its implications for migration management and displacement prevention.

 

Moving Beyond Pandemic: Could Curbing Globalization Prevent Future Pandemics?

Posted in Mobility and Security, International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by Migration Policy Institute on December 17th, 2020

Pre-COVID-19, we lived in a hyper-global world. There were 1.5 billion international tourism trips annually, nearly 40 million flights, and 272 million international migrants. This raises a provocative question: Does international mobility contribute to the spread of pandemics? In this episode, we speak with Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn of the Center for Global Development. Drawing on their research of global pandemics dating as far back as 1889, they make the case that limits on cross-border mobility delay the arrival of pathogens by a matter of days at best. Instead, they argue that the greater success is achieved with domestic measures, not permanent limits on international mobility.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Purposeful and Coordinated: Climate Change and Managed Retreat in India

Confronting environmental change, whole communities sometimes relocate from one area to another. This purposeful, coordinated movement, while currently rare, is referred to as managed retreat. In this episode Architesh Panda, from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, explains how this climate adaptation strategy works in India.

Moving Beyond Pandemic: What’s Next for Global Migration? Gazing Into the COVID-19 Crystal Ball

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by Migration Policy Institute on December 9th, 2020

With news that viable COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, what might 2021 hold in store for the global movement of people, whether for tourism, business travel, or more enduring forms of migration? Alan Gamlen, associate professor of human geography at Monash University in Australia, tackles some of the big questions in this episode, including whether cities will be reshaped by immobility and if countries will need less labor migration. He paints a picture of a world with lower levels of mobility for the next few years, punctuated by periodic spikes.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: One Billion Climate Migrants? Not So Fast

Posted in Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 25th, 2020

There are a lot of predictions about how many people will migrate in response to climate change. Depending on where you look, the next few decades could see hundreds of millions – or even more than a billion – people pick up and move. We asked Julia Blocher, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, to explain why the predictions vary so much. We also discussed how this movement can lead to conflict.

Welfare States and Migration: How Will the Pandemic Reshape a Complex Relationship?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe was facing a set of interlocking challenges—a rise in spontaneous migration, an aging population, and a changing labor market—all of which put pressure on public finances. The public-health crisis has further exacerbated the situation, imposing huge costs on governments as they scramble to safeguard employment and protect vulnerable groups, including migrants disproportionately affected by job losses. Will this "perfect storm" rock the foundations of European welfare systems in the long term, and how? Will welfare states manage to adapt, and if so, what are the most promising innovations? How can governments close gaps in the social safety net, while laying the groundwork for economic recovery and long-term sustainability?  

This two-part MPI Europe event, moderated by MPI's Meghan Benton, examines these important questions. In the first session, veteran migration thinkers Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Grete Brochmann will reflect on the implications of this current moment for European economies and societies, and the role of immigration. The second session, with Jacopo Mazza, Scientific Officer at the Joint Research Centre, highlighted research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on the fiscal and demographic impacts of migration. MPI Europe's Liam Patuzzi and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, along with European University Institute's Martin Ruhs explored the pandemic’s particular effects on migrants and refugees, gaps in the social safety net, the role immigrant integration policy can play in maximizing the benefits of migration, and smart ideas that governments are implementing to ensure immigration is an economic and demographic asset for the future.

Mission Critical: The Evolution of U.S. Homeland Security in the 21st Century

Posted in US Immigration Policy by Migration Policy Institute on November 18th, 2020

Created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the largest reorganization of the federal government since World War II, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was designed to coordinate and execute a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism. DHS was also tasked with carrying out all functions of the 22 federal agencies and entities that were entirely or partially folded into the new department, ensuring that those not directly related to protection of the homeland were not diminished nor neglected. With a portfolio covering everything from cybersecurity and protection of the nation’s maritime waters to facilitation of trade and emergency management, DHS is arguably the largest federal agency with the most disparate policy goals.

What does it mean to “secure the homeland” in the 21st century? What lessons can be drawn from the U.S. government efforts to do so? And how do DHS work and operations on migration and border security figure into the equation?

With the department well into its second decade and on the precipice of a new presidential term with some of its component agencies pulled into the polarization around immigration and border security, this Migration Policy Institute discussion with the editors and authors of Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century examines these questions. Leading security experts, Juliette Kayyem, Chappell Lawson, Alan Cohn, and Christian Marrone assess the department’s evolution and how it organizes its operations and work on migration and border management. They offer crucial strategic lessons and detailed recommendations on how to improve the U.S. homeland security enterprise.

Does Climate Change Cause Migration? It’s Complicated

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 17th, 2020

The relationship between climate change and migration is long and complex. Human civilizations have been affected by environmental conditions for centuries, but we should be wary of arguments that huge numbers of people are inevitably destined to migrate in response to specific climate threats. In this episode, we chat with Alex de Sherbinin of Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network about what the research shows – and doesn’t show.

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