Refugee Protection

Refugee Protection

The US Refugee Resettlement Program — A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States

This paper examines the integration, achievements and contributions of 1.1 million refugees resettled in the United States from 1987 to 2016. It does so in three ways. First, it compares the household, demographic, and economic characteristics of refugees that arrived between 1987 and 2016, to comparable data for non-refugees, the foreign-born, and the total US population. Second, it compares the characteristics of refugees by period of entry, as well as to the foreign-born and total US population. Third, it examines the characteristics of refugees that arrived from the former Soviet Union between 1987 and 1999, measured in 2000 and again in 2016. By all three measures, it finds that refugees successfully integrate over time and contribute immensely to their new communities. Perhaps most dramatically, the paper shows that refugees that arrived between 1987 and 1996 exceed the total US population, which consists mostly of native-born citizens, in personal income, homeownership, college education, labor force participation, self-employment, health insurance coverage, and access to a computer and the internet. The paper also explores the successful public/private partnerships — with a particular focus on Catholic agencies — that facilitate refugee well-being and integration, and that leverage substantial private support for refugees. Overall, the paper argues that the United States should expand and strengthen its refugee resettlement program. The program has advanced US standing in the world, saved countless lives, and put millions on a path to work, self-sufficiency, and integration.

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The US Refugee Resettlement Program – A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen and Revitalize the United States

This paper examines the integration, achievements and contributions of 1.1 million refugees resettled in the United States from 1987 to 2016.  It does so in three ways. First, it compares the household, demographic and economic characteristics of refugees that arrived between 1987 and 2016, to comparable data for non-refugees, the foreign-born, and the total US population. Second, it compares the characteristics of refugees by period of entry, as well as to the foreign-born and total US population.  Third, it examines the characteristics of refugees that arrived from the former Soviet Union between 1987 and 1999, measured in 2000 and again in 2016.  By all three measures, it finds that refugees successfully integrate over time and contribute immensely to their new communities. Perhaps most dramatically, the paper shows that refugees that arrived between 1987 and 1996 exceed the total US population, which consists mostly of native-born citizens, in personal income, homeownership, college education, labor force participation, self-employment, health insurance coverage, and access to a computer and the internet.  The paper also explores the successful public/private partnerships — with a particular focus on Catholic agencies — that facilitate refugee well-being and integration, and that leverage substantial private support for refugees. Overall, the paper argues that the United States should expand and strengthen its refugee resettlement program.  The program has advanced US standing in the world, saved countless lives, and put millions on a path to work, self-sufficiency, and integration.

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Refugees, Development, Debt, Austerity: A Selected History
Global policymakers agree that a major challenge facing refugees is their treatment as a short-term humanitarian problem rather than also as a long-term development challenge. This paper agrees that refugees constitute a development challenge, but it argues that certain development policies have contributed to the status quo of refugee poverty and marginalization in the first place. The paper places particular emphasis on policies of austerity and of laissez-faire. In their stead, it argues in favor of policy approaches that are egalitarian and redistributive, and that emphasize refugees’ economic and social rights.

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Strengthening the Global Refugee Protection System: Recommendations for the Global Compact on Refugees
With a record 65 million displaced persons in the world, the United Nations has launched a two-year process to develop a stronger protection regime for refugees, the Global Compact on Refugees. This paper draws from the Center for Migration Studies’ special collection of papers on strengthening the global refugee protection system to outline broad themes and specific recommendations that the Global Compact on Refugees should adopt. The recommendations fall into five areas: (1) responsibility sharing for the protection of refugees; (2) filling in protection gaps, such as the use of temporary protection measures for populations fleeing natural disaster; (3) balancing and replacing deterrence strategies with protection solutions, such as the adoption of model processes that ensure safe and voluntary return; (4) refugee resettlement, including the goal of resettling 10 percent of the global refugee population each year; and (5) building refugee self-sufficiency.

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Thrive or Survive? Explaining Variation in Economic Outcomes for Refugees
Despite a growing literature on the economic lives of refugees, much of that work has lacked theory or data. The work that has been quantitative has generally focused on the economic impact of refugees on host countries rather than explaining variation in economic outcomes for refugees. This paper seeks to explain variation in economic outcomes for refugees by asking three questions about the economic lives of refugees: 1) what makes the economic lives of refugees distinctive from other populations; 2) what explains variation in refugees’ income levels; and 3) what role does entrepreneurship play in shaping refugees’ economic outcomes? To answer these questions, the paper draws upon extensive qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Uganda. The quantitative data set is based on a survey of 2,213 refugees in three types of contexts: urban (Kampala), protracted camps (Nakivale and Kyangwali settlements), and emergency camps (Rwamwanja). The paper concludes that supporting refugees’ capacities rather than solely addressing their vulnerabilities offers an opportunity to rethink assistance in ways that are more sustainable for refugees, host states, and donors.

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The “Right to Remain Here” as an Evolving Component of Global Refugee Protection: Current Initiatives and Critical Questions
This paper considers the relationship between two human rights discourses, refugee/asylum protection and the body of law that regulates deportations. It suggests that the development of rights against removal, as well as rights during and after removal, aids our understanding of the refugee protection regime and its future. This paper argues that emerging anti-deportation discourses should be systematically studied by those interested in the global refugee regime for three basic reasons: 1) the linkage between the two phenomena of refugee/asylum protection and deportation; 2) deportation human rights discourses embody framing models that might aid reform of the existing refugee protection regime; and 3) deportation discourses offer important rights protections that could strengthen the refugee and asylum regime. It concludes with consideration of how deportation discourses may strengthen protections for refugees, while also helping to develop more capacious and protective systems in the future.

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Kidnapped, Trafficked, Detained? The Implications of Non-state Actor Involvement in Immigration Detention
Proposals to shape migration management policies recognize the need to involve a range of actors to implement humane and effective strategies. However, when observed through the lens of immigration detention, some migration policy trends raise challenging questions, particularly related to the involvement of non-state actors in migration control. This article critically assesses a range of new actors who have become involved in the deprivation of liberty of migrants and asylum seekers, describes the various forces that appear to be driving their engagement in immigration enforcement, and makes a series of recommendations concerning the role of non-state actors and detention in global efforts to manage international migration. These recommendations include ending the use the detention in international migration management schemes; limiting the involvement of private companies in immigration control measures; insisting that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) actively endorse the centrality of human rights in the Global Compact for Migration and amend its constitution so that it makes a clear commitment to international human rights standards; and encouraging nongovernmental organizations to carefully assess the services they provide when operating in detention situations to ensure that their work contributes to harm reduction.

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Point of No Return: The Fear and Criminalization of Central American Refugees
On World Refugee Day 2017, CMS and Cristosal (El Salvador) released a report detailing ten cases from the Northern Triangle of Central America—four from El Salvador and three each from Guatemala and from Honduras—which chronicle the journeys of refugees in search of protection, how the system did not protect them, and what they face upon return to their home countries. The report concludes that the United States and Mexico are returning Central American asylum-seekers to danger, and, as a result, are violating the international principle of non-refoulement. Overall, 18 cases were interviewed and analyzed for the study. The report includes several policy recommendations for the governments to consider.

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