Refugee Protection

Refugee Protection

JMHS Special Collection | The US Refugee Protection System on the 35th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980
The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) released, The US Refugee Protection System on the 35th Anniversary of the RefugeeAct of 1980: A Comprehensive Assessment of the System’s Strengths, Limitations,and Need for Reform, a special edition of CMS’s Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS). Authored by leading experts, the collection of 11 papers offers an exhaustive assessment and critique of the US refugee protection system, covering refugees, asylum seekers and refugee-like populations in need of protection. The series attempts to bring concentrated academic and policy attention to this pillar of US immigration and humanitarian programs and the broader international refugee protection system. The papers cover access to protection, refugee resettlement, political asylum, temporary protection, the stateless, migrants in crisis situations, unaccompanied minors, and other populations at risk.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More