Asylum-seekers / Refugees

Asylum-seekers / Refugees

The Risk, Care, and Imagination of Moral Agency: Two Women’s Narratives of Life After Refugee Resettlement

Nadra and Ghazel first came to North America as refugees. Today, they participate in their communities as mothers, teachers, learners, and leaders. Although much of the literature on refugee resettlement focuses on refugee-serving agencies, refugee women can have a profound impact on fellow refugees in their new home communities. Interviews from 2017 and 2019 with Nadra and Ghazel about their post-resettlement experiences reveal insight into both the nature and effects of moral agency under constraint. The constraints refugee women encounter in the United States operate like a downward-turning spiral; with each twist of the “spiral,” a new obstacle appears that makes overcoming subsequent obstacles all the more daunting. However, Nadra’s and Ghazel’s narratives indicate that acts of moral agency—characterized by hopeful risk, holistic care, and future-oriented imagination—can reverse the direction of the spiral by lowering barriers to integration and expanding opportunities for refugee women, their families, and their communities to thrive.

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Revisiting the Refugee–Host Relationship in Nakivale Refugee Settlement: A Dialogue with the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre

Uganda has long promoted refugee self-reliance as a sustainable livelihood strategy with progressive land-allocation and free-movement-for-work policies. Framed as a dialogue with Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre (“the Centre”), this article explores sustainable solutions that benefit refugees as well as the host populations that receive them. It explores the self-reliance opportunities that depend on the transnational, national, and local markets in which refugees participate. It acknowledges the Centre’s substantial work and welcomes its focus on economic outcomes. For Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, however, the discussion of “refugee economies” may not be complete without problematizing the effects on the host populations living alongside the refugees.

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More than a Wall: The Rise and Fall of US Asylum and Refugee Policy

This article uses a multidisciplinary approach — analyzing historical sources, refugee and asylum admissions data, legislative provisions, and public opinion data — to track the rise and fall of the US asylum and refugee policy. It shows that there has always been a political struggle between people who advocate for a generous refugee and asylum system and those who oppose it. Today, the flexible system of protecting refugees and asylees, established in 1980, is giving way to policies that weaponize them.

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Rebuilding the US Refugee Resettlement Program

This paper offers an historic review of the US refugee resettlement program.  It spans the colonial era, to the establishment of the first distinct US admissions policies for persons fleeing persecution in 1917, to the creation of the formal US Refugee Admissions Program in 1980, and to the Trump administrations’ denigration of and attempts to eviscerate the program. It proposes ways that a new administration can rebuild this crucially important program and put it on more secure footing. In particular, it recommends that a new administration:

  • Reframe the discourse on refugee resettlement to emphasize its central importance to the nation’s identity and the way it serves the national interest.
  • Rebuild the capacity of the federal government to administer the program and the badly depleted community-based resettlement infrastructure that is central to the program’s success.
  • Hold emergency consultations with Congress to increase refugee admissions in Fiscal Year 2021, and consult soon after the inauguration with international, state and local, and non-governmental partners to plan FY 2022 resettlement goals, including a robust admissions ceiling and budget.
  • Reform and reinvigorate federal consultations with states and localities to ensure their receptivity, capacity and support for refugees, and eliminate the current veto power of states and municipalities over resettlement in their jurisdictions.
  • Explore legislative fixes to the refugee admissions process and attempt to depoliticize the process by setting a “normal flow level” that does not require an annual Presidential determination.
  • Join the Global Compact on Refugees, which seeks to expand the availability of durable solutions for refugees, and encourage other nations to follow the U.S. example of resettling larger numbers of refugees.

 

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Border Enforcement Developments Since 1993 and How to Change CBP

Enforcement along the US-Mexico border has intensified significantly since the early 1990s. Social scientists have documented several consequences of border militarization, including increased border-crosser deaths, the killing of more than 110 people by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents over the past decade, and expanded ethno-racial profiling in southwestern communities by immigration authorities. Less attention has been paid to the pervasive and routine mistreatment migrants experience on a daily basis in CBP custody.  

This paper traces major developments in border enforcement to three notable initiatives: the “prevention-through-deterrence” strategy, the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Consequence Delivery System, initiated in 2011. Despite the massive buildup in enforcement, CBP has operated with little transparency and accountability to the detriment of migrants. The paper provides an overview of the findings of nongovernmental organizations and social scientists regarding migrant mistreatment while in CBP custody. It then highlights important shifts in migration patterns over the past decade, as well as changes in border enforcement efforts during the Trump administration. It discusses how these transformations affect migrants’ everyday encounters with CBP officials. 

The paper concludes by providing specific recommendations for improving CBP conduct. Its core theme is the need to emphasize and inculcate lessons of appropriate police behavior, civil rights, and civil liberties in training and recruiting agents and in setting responsibilities of supervisors and administrators. It offers recommendations regarding important but underrecognized issues, including ending the use of CBP agents/officers as Asylum Officers, as well as better-known issues such as militarization and the border wall.

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Thoughts from the First Floor: How Do We Move Forward?

It has been a remarkably interesting three months from the fourth floor at the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana. The virus has not disappeared, and to be honest, I doubt that it ever will.  So, the question on everyone’s mind is, “How do we move forward?”  Well a few things are certain: 1) You need to wear a mask; 2) You need to stay six feet from people you do not live with; 3) You need to wash your hands very often. It seems to be a rather simple roadmap to success, but for some reason, a lot of people do not get it. Meanwhile, after almost five months confined to the fourth floor, with an occasional trip to the US Post Office, I came to the conclusion that I cannot stay on the fourth floor forever and we cannot keep the Casa closed indefinitely.

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The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Program: Estimates of the Potentially Eligible

The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (“LRIF”) program is the first US legalization program – creating a path to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status – in many years. There is a significant risk that many eligible Liberians and their family members may not meet the application deadline due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and poor roll-out of the program. To highlight this concern, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has produced estimates – rounded to the nearest hundred – of the Liberian nationals who arrived in 2014 or earlier, and who are not naturalized US citizens or LPRs, and of their non-US citizen, non-LPR spouses and unmarried children who are also potentially eligible to adjust under LRIF.

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Statelessness in the United States: A Study to Estimate and Profile the US Stateless Population

In October 2017, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) initiated a study to map the stateless population in the United States. This study sought to:

  • Develop a methodology to estimate the US stateless population;
  • Provide provisional estimates and profiles of persons who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness in the United States;
  • Create a research methodology that encouraged stateless persons to come forward and join a growing network of persons committed to educating the public on and pursuing solutions to this problem; and
  • Establish an empirical basis for public and private stakeholders to develop services, programs, and policy interventions to prevent and reduce statelessness, and to safeguard the rights of stateless persons.

This report describes a unique methodology to produce estimates and set forth the characteristics of US residents who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness.

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