Asylum-seekers / Refugees

Asylum-seekers / Refugees

The Mixed Motives of Unaccompanied Child Migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle

This paper examines the mixed-motive migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America’s Northern Triangle states (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Using data from a 2016 survey carried out in 10 shelters for unaccompanied child migrants run by a Mexican government child welfare agency, the paper identifies the immigrating minor’s motives, which are oftentimes mixed. Some of the key findings include:

  • Around one-third of the child migrants surveyed had mixed motives, including both forced and voluntary reasons for migrating.
  • Violence appears most often as a reason for migrating among minors with mixed motives, as opposed to the search for better opportunities, which appears more often as an exclusive motive.
  • Significant differences between the three nationalities are observed: relatively few Guatemalan minors indicated violence as a motive, and few displayed mixed motives, as opposed to Hondurans, and especially Salvadorans.
  • The minors fleeing violence, searching for better opportunities, and indicating both motives at the same time were largely mature male adolescents. The minors mentioning family reunification as their sole motive were predominantly girls and young children.
  • Violence was the motive that mixed the most with other motivations.

The results indicate that binary formulations regarding forced and voluntary migration are often inadequate. The implications of these findings include the need to consider forced reasons for migrating in the context of mixed-motive migration, the need for in-depth, individual asylum screening, and the need for more flexible policy approaches that are inclusive of mixed-motive migration.

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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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Stefan Vogler of Northwestern University reviews Gendered Asylum: Race and Violence in U.S. Law and Politics, by Sara L. McKinnon. Professor  McKinnon exposes racialized rhetorics of violence in politics and charts the development of gender as a category in American asylum law. Starting...

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Migration Experts Series | Michael Doyle
Michael W. Doyle is the Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and University Professor of Columbia University, affiliated with the School of International and Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Law School. At Columbia, he co-directs...

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Responding to Hurricane Harvey and Other Natural Disasters
Hurricane Harvey has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas, forcing thousands from their homes. Many of its survivors are desperate for shelter, food, and other forms of assistance. Among the most vulnerable are the hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in...

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Matching Systems for Refugees
The paper addresses how to match refugees — who have been approved for resettlement — to particular areas, arguing for the importance of accounting for refugee preferences. It finds that matching systems between refugees and states or local areas are emerging as one of the most promising solutions to this question. This paper describes the basics of two-sided matching theory used in a number of allocation problems, such as school choice, where both sides need to agree to the match. It then examines how these insights can be applied to refugee matching in the context of the European Union, and explores how refugee matching might work in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

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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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CMSOnAir | Ron Nixon

CMSOnAir features an interview with Ron Nixon, a Washington correspondent for the New York Times who covers homeland security issues, including immigration, border and aviation security; cyber security and cyber crime, counterterrorism and violent extremism.

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