Protection of those fleeing or at risk of persecution, torture, or extreme danger represents a centerpiece of international and US immigration law. It also constitutes one of the most pressing and unattended challenges in the US immigration field. The US refugee protection system, broadly understood to encompass refugees, asylum-seekers and non-citizens in need of short-term protection, has ambitious goals and diverse responsibilities. It seeks to screen, admit and promote the integration of refugees; to adjudicate political asylum cases; and to offer temporary protection to persons from designated countries. It also seeks to detect and prevent the admission of persons that raise national security, public safety, and fraud concerns.
To address the need for concentrated academic and policy attention to this pillar of the US immigration system and the international system of refugee protection, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) published a series of papers on the US refugee protection system that offers recommendations to strengthen and reform the system. The series was made possible through the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Papers are published online and in a special print edition of CMS’s public policy journal, the Journal on Migration and Human Security. As part of its year-long 50th anniversary celebration, CMS hosted an all-day symposium featuring panel discussions on these issues with series authors and other experts on challenges and recommendations related to territorial access, refugee resettlement, political asylum, temporary protection, the stateless, migrants in “crisis,” unaccompanied minors and other populations at particular risk. The discussion also attempted to put the US system in a broader international context.