Original Articles

Original Articles

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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Implementation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration: A Whole-of-Society Approach

This is the third of three JMHS papers on the implementation of different aspects of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The papers have been produced by three think-tanks – the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Manila, covering the Asia-Pacific region, the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) in Cape Town, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). This paper argues that nations are best served by partnering with a wide range of societal actors to implement the objectives of the GCM. Such civil society actors may include non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, the private sector, trade unions, and academia, among other relevant stakeholders. Each of these actors brings unique strengths to the implementation of the GCM, filling gaps in the care and protection of migrants. They perform tasks that governments are unable or unwilling to undertake, especially in the area of irregular migration. A “whole-of-society” approach is the most effective method for managing migration humanely and in concert with the rule of law.

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A Study and Analysis of the Treatment of Mexican Unaccompanied Minors by Customs and Border Protection

The routine human rights abuses and due process violations of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have contributed to a mounting humanitarian and legal crisis along the US–Mexico border. In the United States, the treatment of UAC is governed by laws, policies, and standards drawn from the Flores Settlement, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), and CBP procedures and directives, which are intended to ensure UAC’s protection, well-being, and ability to pursue relief from removal, such as asylum. As nongovernmental organizations and human rights groups have documented, however, CBP has repeatedly violated these legal standards and policies, and subjected UAC to abuses and rights violations. This article draws from surveys of 97 recently deported Mexican UAC, which examine their experiences with US immigration authorities. The study finds that Mexican UAC are detained in subpar conditions, are routinely not screened for fear of return to their home countries or for human trafficking, and are not sufficiently informed about the deportation process. The article recommends that CBP should take immediate steps to improve the treatment of UAC, that CBP and other entities responsible for the care of UAC be monitored to ensure their compliance with US law and policy, and that Mexican UAC be afforded the same procedures and protection under the TVPRA as UAC from noncontiguous states.

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Promoting Human Security: Planned Relocation as a Protection Tool in a Time of Climate Change

In light of the science and evidence on hazards and climate risk, and the scale and breadth of large-scale disasters witnessed around the world, it is time for states and other actors to begin developing national and local frameworks on planned relocation. While planned relocations have had a poor record in terms of their socioeconomic effects, it is precisely for these reasons that proactive action is necessary. Planned relocation has the potential to save lives and assets, and consequently to safeguard or augment the human security of populations living in areas at high risk for disasters and the effects of climate change. Among the challenges hampering better outcomes for people, however, are the lack of national and local frameworks, community-driven decision making, and sufficient lead times to plan and implement appropriate interventions that promote human security.

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Building Blocks and Challenges for the Implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Africa

This is the second of three JMHS papers on implementation of different aspects of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The papers have been produced by three think-tanks – the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Manila, covering the Asia-Pacific region, the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) in Cape Town, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). This paper from SIHMA examines the prospects for implementation of the GCR in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that, given increases in the number of forcibly displaced people in recent years, responses to refugee crises need to shift from a humanitarian system of “care and maintenance,” to more comprehensive and effective development responses. It discusses how best to promote a resilience-based development approach. It recognizes that many development initiatives that have been implemented or that still need to be implemented under the normative framework of the GCR and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), are subject to a multiyear planning and implementation cycle. Therefore, the article does not seek to evaluate their efficacy or measure their progress.  Rather, it identifies key challenges and it highlights achievements and promising initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. It particularly focuses on implementation and rollout of the CRRF in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia in Africa.

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The Use of Executive Orders and Proclamations to Create Immigration Policy: Trump in Historical Perspective

This article examines presidential immigration policy making through executive orders (EOs) and proclamations. It finds that Donald Trump’s overall volume of EOs has been remarkably similar to that of other presidents, while his number of proclamations has been relatively high. However, his immigration-related EOs and proclamations diverge from those of his predecessors in several ways. Of the 56 immigration-related EOs and 64 proclamations issued since 1945, one percent of all EOs and proclamations have been immigration related, compared to eight percent of Trump’s EOs and 2.4 percent of Trump’s proclamations. In a sharp departure from previous presidents, a greater share of Trump’s EOs and proclamations have been substantive policy-making documents intended to restrict admissions of legal immigrants and increase enforcement along the border and in the interior of the United States. This article explores Trump’s unorthodox use of executive tools to make immigration policy, circumventing Congress and even members of his own administration. It recommends that Congress reassert its power over US immigration law and policy.

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Not for Adults Only: Toward a Child’s Lens in Migration Policies in Asia

This is the first of three JMHS papers that will be released this month on implementation of different aspects of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The papers have been produced by three think-tanks – the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Manila, covering the Asia-Pacific region, the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) in Cape Town, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) – that belong to the global network of Scalabrini Migration Study Centers (SMSC). This paper by SMC provides an overview of the challenges faced by children as migration actors. It considers the policy responses and programs that select countries in East, South, and Southeast Asia have developed to address children’s experiences and concerns in the context of the GCM and GCR. Many Asian countries have endorsed the Compacts, which set forth objectives, commitments, and actions informed by the principle of promoting the best interests of the child. They also call for states to promote universal birth registration, to enhance access to education, health and social services regardless of legal status, and to create inclusive and socially cohesive societies. Most countries in Asia have yet to meet these standards. Endorsing the two Compacts, however, was a first step. The good practices that have been implemented in a number of Asian countries, the paper argues, provide a template for how to translate the Compacts’ objectives into action and how to ensure that the full protection and best interests of migrant children, the left-behind children of migrant workers, and those who are part of multicultural families remain a priority.

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What’s Wrong with Temporary Protected Status and How to Fix It

This paper evaluates the purpose and effectiveness of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) statute and identifies inadequacies in the TPS regime and related protection gaps in the US asylum system. It argues that TPS has not proven to be an effective mechanism for the United States to protect foreigners from generalized conditions of danger in their home countries. It calls for changing the US protection regime to make it more responsive to the risks many asylum seekers actually face by creating a broader “complementary protection” standard and a more effective procedure for assessing individual protection claims, while reserving “temporary protection” for rare situations of mass influx that overwhelm the government’s capacity to process individual asylum claims. Considering alternative models for complementary protection from other jurisdictions, this article proposes that the United States adopt an individualized complementary protection standard for arriving asylum seekers who are not able to meet the 1951 Refugee Convention standard but who would face a serious threat to life or physical integrity if returned because of a real risk of (1) cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; (2) violence; or (3) exceptional situations, for which there is no adequate domestic remedy.

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Reverse Migration to Mexico Led to US Undocumented Population Decline: 2010 to 2018

This paper presents estimates of the undocumented population residing in the United States in 2018. Since 2010, the total undocumented population in the United States has declined because large numbers of undocumented residents returned to Mexico. From 2010 to 2018, a total of 2.6 million Mexican nationals left the US undocumented population; about 1.1 million, or 45 percent of them, returned to Mexico voluntarily. Additional findings include the following:

  • The total US undocumented population was 10.6 million in 2018, a decline of about 80,000 from 2017, and a drop of 1.2 million, or 10 percent, since 2010.
  • Since 2010, about two-thirds of new arrivals have overstayed temporary visas and one-third entered illegally across the border.
  • The total undocumented population in California was 2.3 million in 2018, a decline of about 600,000 compared to 2.9 million in 2010. The number from Mexico residing in the state dropped by 605,000 from 2010 to 2018. 
  • The undocumented population in New York State fell by 230,000, or 25 percent, from 2010 to 2018. Declines were largest for Jamaica (−51 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (−50 percent), Ecuador (−44 percent), and Mexico (−34 percent).
  • Two countries had especially large population changes — in different directions — in the 2010 to 2018 period. The population from Poland dropped steadily, from 93,000 to 39,000, while the population from Venezuela increased from 65,000 to 172,000. Almost all the increase from Venezuela occurred after 2014.

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