CMS Essays

CMS Essays

Blockading Asylum Seekers at Ports of Entry at the US-Mexico Border Puts Them at Increased Risk of Exploitation, Violence, and Death
Although the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has insisted that asylum-seekers pass through ports-of-entry (POEs), rather than between them, it has denied potential non-Mexican asylum seekers access to the inspection area at POEs, and left them stranded in Mexico. This essay examines the implications of the turn away approach CBP has adopted in responding to those seeking asylum at POEs on the international boundary line.

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My Life as a Refugee
Omar al-Muqdad describes the circumstances in his home country of Syria that led to him becoming a refugee, and the kindness he encountered when resettled in the United States.

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Predicting Unauthorized Salvadoran Migrants’ First Migration to the United States between 1965 and 2007
This paper seeks to understand the predictors of first undocumented migration from El Salvador to the United States and makes policy recommendations in response to one of the most important migratory flows from Latin America. Findings suggest that an increase in civil violence and a personal economic crisis increased the likelihood of first time undocumented migration to the United States between 1965 and 2007. Salvadorans who were less likely to take a first undocumented trip were business owners, those employed in skilled occupations, and persons with more years of experience in the labor force. An increase in the Border Patrol budget and the high unemployment rate in the United States deterred the decision to take a first undocumented trip. Having contacts in the United States is not the main driver of the decision to start a migration journey to the United States. The paper recommends that the United States awards Salvadorans more work-related visas and asylum protection, and grants permanent residency to those who formerly had Temporary Protected Status. Recommendations for the Salvadoran government include investing in high-skilled job training in order to discourage out-migration.

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In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy
This paper examines the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy and how Italy has responded to their need for protection. It contains five complementary sections. Section 1 provides a statistical overview of unaccompanied minors in Italy between 2014 and 2017. In particular, it discusses unaccompanied minors who request political asylum, those in government reception facilities who do not, and those who have left reception centers without seeking asylum and have become “untraceable.” The second section addresses why unaccompanied minors leave their countries of origin and how they transit to Italy and elsewhere. This section highlights the role of families in the decision to migrate and the migration process. It distinguishes unaccompanied minors who largely seek to “escape from” particular conditions from other migrants who are in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The third section covers Italian reception policies and policymaking challenges, with a particular focus on implementation of Italy’s System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. The section argues for reception procedures and interventions that are tailored to the particular vulnerabilities and needs of unaccompanied minors. Section 4 offers a psychosocial analysis of the phenomenon of unaccompanied child migration. It describes strategies to build the competencies, sense of agency, and resilience of unaccompanied minors. The final section details the demands and requirements of acting in the “best interests” of unaccompanied minors. It ends by setting forth minimum principles of protection for unaccompanied minors, which should inform both the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

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The Regularization of Zimbabwean Migrants: A Case of Permanent Temporariness

In this essay, Sergio Carciotto of the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) examines South Africa’s temporary labor migration laws and how they apply to migrant workers from Zimbabwe.  Carciotto makes the case that low-skilled workers, such as Zimbabweans, are not provided the benefits that high-skilled workers receive, particularly the opportunity to become permanent residents. As such, they are without leverage in the workplace and are subject to exploitation. Carciotto concludes that low-skilled workers who enter on a temporary basis should be allowed to apply for permanent residency after a certain time, in order to avoid situations of indentured servitude. In other words, the longer a worker remains, “the stronger their claim to full membership in society and to the enjoyment of the same rights as citizens.” He also states that such a policy should be included in the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, currently being negotiated by United Nations member states.

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Return Migration: A Conceptual and Policy Framework

This paper on return migration is the first in a series from the Scalabrini Migration Study Centers, a worldwide network of think-tanks on international migration, on different migration issues and policy ideas that should inform the development and implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. This paper is authored by Graziano Batistella, c.s., who directs the Scalabrini Migration Center in the Philippines. It offers a conceptual framework for analyzing return migration and developing appropriate policies in response. It identifies a continuum of types of return based on the time of return and the decision to return. These are: “return of achievement,” “return of completion,” “return of setback,”  and “return of crisis (forced return).”  The paper recommends particular policies – which would benefit migrants and their communities of origin – in response to each of these types of return. It urges that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and the Global Compact for Refugees not treat return as “an act that simply concludes migration,” but one that requires effective policies to protect and ensure the well-being of migrants, to facilitate their reintegration, and to maximize their contributions.

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