In the early summer months of 2014, an increasing number of children and families from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — three of the most dangerous countries in the world — began arriving at the US-Mexico border in search of safety and protection. Responses to this “surge,” and explanations for it, varied widely in policy, media, and government circles. Two competing narratives emerged. One argues that “push” factors in their home countries drove children and families to flee as bona fide asylum seekers; the other asserted that “pull” factors drew these individuals to the United States. The first section of this paper examines and critiques the Obama administration’s policies during and after the 2014 summer surge, which took the form of expanded family detention, accelerated removal procedures, raids, and interdiction. The second section examines the “push” factors behind the migration surge — namely, societal violence, violence in the home, and poverty and exclusion in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The penultimate section explores the ways in which the United States’ deterrence-based policies echo missteps of the past, particularly through constructive refoulement and the denial of protection to legitimate refugees. The paper concludes by offering recommendations to the US government for a more effective approach to the influx of Central American women and children at its border, one that addresses the reasons driving their flight and that furthers a sustainable solution consistent with US and international legal obligations and moral principles.
Between 2011 and 2015, Lebanon received more than one million Syrian refugees. Already beset by political divisions, insecure borders, severely strained infrastructure, and over-stretched public services, the mass influx of refugees further taxed this small country. That Lebanon withstood what is often characterized as an existential threat has primarily been due to the remarkable resilience of the Lebanese people. It is also due to the unprecedented levels of humanitarian funding that the international community provided to support refugees and their host communities. The refugee response was not perfect, and funding fell well below needs. Nonetheless, thousands of lives were saved, protection was extended, essential services were provided, and efforts were made to improve through education the future prospects of close to half-a-million refugee children residing in Lebanon. This paper examines what worked well in Lebanon and where the refugee response stumbled, focusing on areas where improved efforts in planning, delivery, coordination, innovation, funding, and partnerships can enhance future emergency responses.
This article analyzes the responses of Central American and Mexican migrant children to one interview question regarding how to help youth like themselves, and identifies several implied “no-win” situations as potential reasons for the migration decisions of unaccompanied children. Furthermore, the children’s responses highlight the interconnected nature of economics, security, and education as migratory factors. Examination of children’s political speech revealed primarily negative references regarding their home country’s government, the president, and the police. The police were singled out more than any other public figures, with particular emphasis on police corruption and ineffectiveness. Additional analysis focused on children’s comments regarding migration needs and family.
Asylum lies at the heart of the international refugee protection regime. Yet, today, most states in the developed world implement a range of deterrence measures designed to prevent access to asylum on their territories. With particular attention to Europe’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this paper categorizes contemporary deterrence policies. It then questions the sustainability and effectiveness of such policies. A number of deterrence measures do not conform with refugee and human rights law, rendering the refugee protection regime vulnerable to collapse. Finally, this article suggests some ways forward to address these problems. It discusses the partial success of legal challenges to deterrence measures and opportunities for alternative avenues to access protection. Ultimately, however, it argues that the viability of the refugee protection regime requires collective action and international burden-sharing.
This paper provides an overview of contemporary, empirical scholarship on clandestine migration facilitation. It argues clandestine migration is not merely the domain of criminal groups. Rather, it also involves protection mechanisms crafted within migrant and refugee communities. Yet amid concerns over national and border security, and the reemergence of nationalism, said strategies have become increasingly stigmatized and perceived as an inherently criminal activity. This paper constitutes an attempt to rethink the framework in everyday narratives of irregular migration facilitation.
This paper seeks to develop a working definition of the externalization of migration controls and how such externalization of the border implicates the human rights of migrants, and asylum seekers in particular.
This article describes the significant attempts to enact legislation related to refugees and international migrants since 2013 and examines the reasons why those attempts have not succeeded. It also describes American attitudes toward refugees and assesses whether those attitudes affected the fate of legislation.
CMS and the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), a not-for-profit organization focusing on protection and development programs for migrants, report back from a fact-finding mission in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico where the delegation toured migrant detention and return facilities, met with public officials and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and assessed how the US-Mexico policies of deterrence and interdiction have impacted the region and particularly those seeking to flee the record levels of violence in the Northern Triangle states of Central America.
This essay proposes some ethical perspectives that can help in the task of reassessing the structure of the global refugee protection system in light of the extraordinarily high levels of refugee movement and forced migration occurring today.
This article discusses the principles of voluntariness, safety, and dignity in the context of refugee repatriation. It begins by setting out the applicable legal framework, and discusses how that framework has been elaborated upon and refined since 1951. The article then discusses how the principles of voluntariness, safety, and dignity have, in practice, been applied (or, in a few unfortunate cases, ignored). After noting that we are now living in an era of protracted refugee emergencies, the article concludes with a number of recommendations regarding alternatives to repatriation and the conditions under which repatriation can take place without offense to the principles of voluntariness, safety, and dignity.