Original Articles

Original Articles

JMHS Special Collection | New Demographic Directions in Forced Migrant and Refugee Research

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is pleased to announce the release of New Demographic Directions in Forced Migrant and Refugee Research, a special collection of the Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS). This special collection aims to advance forced migrant and refugee research. It considers refugee resettlement and integration in the United States within the broader framework of the literature on migrant integration and reflects on the role that population research can play in promoting successful and healthy refugee resettlement in the United States. Articles in this special collection also explore the ethical challenges of forced migration research, humanitarian work with children and adolescents, the resilience of forced migrant communities, the value of computer modeling for human migration and health, demographic methods for estimating and forecasting migration, and research priorities for US refugees and refugee communities.

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The Role of Demographic Research in Promoting Refugee Resettlement and Integration in the United States

This introduction to this special issue of the Journal on Migration and Human Security discusses the background and focus of two meetings precursory to this collection, considers refugee resettlement and integration in the United States within the broader framework of the literature on migrant integration, and reflects on the role that population research can play in promoting successful and healthy refugee resettlement in the United States. Other contributions to the special issue are based on five of the presentations at a scientific workshop held in May 2019 in Washington, DC, entitled, “Forced Migration Research: From Theory to Practice in Promoting Migrant Well-Being.” A sixth article evolved from a virtual stakeholder meeting held as a follow-up activity in December 2020, entitled, “Refugee Resettlement in the United States: The Role of Migration Research in Promoting Migrant Well-being in a Post-Pandemic Era.” Both the workshop and the virtual meeting were hosted by the Committee on Population of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with dedicated support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Ethics in Forced Migration Research: Taking Stock and Potential Ways Forward

Migration research poses particular ethical challenges because of legal precarity, the criminalization and politicization of migration, and power asymmetries. This paper analyzes these challenges in relation to the ethical principles of voluntary, informed consent; protection of personal information; and minimizing harm. It shows how migration researchers — including those outside of academia — have attempted to address these ethical issues in their work, including through the recent adoption of a Code of Ethics by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM). However, gaps remain, particularly in relation to the intersection of procedural and relational ethics; specific ethical considerations of big data and macrocomparative analyses; localized meanings of ethics; and oversight of researchers collecting information outside of institutional ethics boards.

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Modeling and Simulation as a Bridge to Advance Practical and Theoretical Insights About Forced Migration Studies

Modeling and Simulation (M&S) is a relatively unused research approach in forced migration studies. In most of its application areas, M&S is applied in several broad thematic policy-oriented topics: predicting human movement, humanitarian logistics, communicable diseases, healthcare, policing, and economics. More recently, there has been increased use of M&S in predicting human movement and health impacts resulting from climate change. Computer modeling has benefits for both policy and theoretical advancements in the field.

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Promoting Voice and Agency Among Forcibly Displaced Children and Adolescents: Participatory Approaches to Practice in Conflict-Affected Settings

Globally, large numbers of children and adolescents are displaced by armed conflict, which poses significant threats to their mental health, psychosocial well-being, and protection. Although humanitarian work to support mental health, psychosocial well-being, and protection has done considerable good, this paper analyzes how humanitarian action is limited by excessive reliance on a top-down approach. Although the focus is on settings of armed conflict, the analysis offered in this paper applies also to the wider array of humanitarian settings that spawn increasing numbers of refugees globally.

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Resilience within Communities of Forced Migrants: Updates and the Path Forward

This article explores the current state of the principal literature relevant to resilience and vulnerability within and among communities of forced migrants. It highlights strengths, gaps, and weaknesses in these literatures, utilizing a case study to illustrate the importance of what we deem to be essential omitted variables. It makes recommendations for moving these literatures—and their associated underlying conceptual frameworks—forward.

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The Role of Migration Research in Promoting Refugee Well-Being in a Post-Pandemic Era

This paper summarizes the presentations and discussions of a virtual stakeholder meeting on Refugee Resettlement in the United States which built on the foundation of the May 2019 workshop represented in this special issue. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and hosted by the Committee on Population (CPOP) of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Dec 1–2, 2020, the meeting convened migration researchers, representatives of US voluntary resettlement agencies, and other practitioners to consider the role of migration research in informing programs serving refugees and migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing an emphasis on bringing global learning to those on the ground working with refugees. The goal of CPOP’s work in this area has always been to build bridges between communities of research and practice and to create a dialogue for a shared agenda.

 

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Can You Hear Me Now? Attorney Perceptions of Interpretation, Technology, and Power in Immigration Court

The Executive Office for Immigration Review houses America’s trial-level immigration courts, which adjudicate hundreds of thousands of cases annually, many resulting in deportations. Most proceedings require interpretation and all rely heavily upon technology. Yet, we know little about communication and technology in these hearings, and even less about the views of attorneys who navigate this system daily. I examine the effects courtroom interpretation and technology have on immigrant voices as described in interviews with immigration attorneys representing clients facing deportation. Attorneys overwhelmingly characterize the court as procedurally unjust, pinpointing how flaws in interpretation, telephonic conferencing, and videoconferencing offer the illusion of due process.

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When Internal Migration Fails: A Case Study of Central American Youth Who Relocate Internally Before Leaving Their Countries

This paper examines the experiences of Central American youth who have attempted internal relocation before migrating internationally. Based on interviews and participant observation with Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran youth migrating through Mexico, this paper shows how youth from the Northern Countries of Central America turn to their domestic networks to escape labor exploitation and gang violence before undertaking international journeys. The paper further demonstrates how those domestic networks lead youth into contexts of poverty and violence similar to those they seek to escape, making their internal relocation a disappointment. The failure of their internal relocation attempts makes them turn to international migrant networks as their next option. This paper sheds light on the underexplored issue of internal migration among Central American youth and that migration’s synergy with Central American youths’ migration to the United States. The paper finds that internal relocation is unsuccessful when the internal destination fails to resolve the issues from which youth are attempting to escape. This failure ultimately triggers their departure from their home country.

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Disrupting the Traffic Stop-to-Deportation Pipeline: The New York State Greenlight Law’s Intent and Implementation

This article analyzes the traffic stop-to-deportation pipeline in New York State, how it harms children of immigrants, and how New York’s Greenlight Law seeks to disrupt it but has been hobbled by an implementation gap. It first establishes the phenomenon of the traffic stop–to-deportation pipeline by documenting how traffic stops are a key cause of deportations in New York State. Second, it analyzes how the pipeline harms (mostly US citizen) children of undocumented immigrants in New York State, who are more than 7 percent (more than 300,000) of New York State’s children. The pipeline makes these children fear and mistrust the police; harms their educational, social, and brain development; and consumes family income with the Mexican driver tax (costs incurred because parents could not get a driver’s license). Third, the article analyzes how the Greenlight Law should help remedy these harms, and how an implementation gap leaves many parents and children vulnerable to the pipeline. The implementation gap is partly due to the pandemic but also driven by political and other factors that could be addressed by policy. Finally, the article analyzes how variation in implementing the Greenlight Law could leave the pipeline undisrupted and lead to unequal protection of the law by place in New York State. The article makes policy recommendations for stronger enactment to reduce the pipeline’s harms.

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