Forced Migration

Forced Migration

Migration Experts Series | Eunice Lee
Eunice Lee, Co-Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings discusses her paper, “Seeking a Rational Approach to a Regional Refugee Crisis: Lessons from the Summer 2014 ‘Surge’ of Central American Women and...

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Seeking a Rational Approach to a Regional Refugee Crisis: Lessons from the Summer 2014 “Surge” of Central American Women and Children at the US-Mexico Border
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.

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Migration Experts Series | Karen Musalo
Karen Musalo, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings discusses her paper, “Seeking a Rational Approach to a Regional Refugee Crisis: Lessons from the Summer 2014 ‘Surge’ of...

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Migration Experts Series | Ninette Kelley
Ninette Kelley, director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), discusses her paper, “Responding to a Refugee Influx: Lessons from Lebanon.” The paper is available in a special collection of the Journal on...

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Responding to a Refugee Influx: Lessons from Lebanon
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.

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