Original Articles

Original Articles

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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Statelessness in West Africa: An Assessment of Stateless Populations and Legal, Policy, and Administrative Frameworks in Ghana

Drawing on qualitative interviews that are complemented by the analysis of government policy documents, this study examines statelessness in Ghana. It addresses a range of policy, legal, institutional, administrative, and other politico-socioeconomic matters attendant to the concept. The study defines statelessness in its strict legal sense. It recognizes populations at risk of statelessness that may be restricted from benefiting from the protection and privileges of their host state. Persons identified by the study as stateless or at risk of statelessness include persons from traditionally nomadic migratory communities, former refugees, persons residing in border communities, members of Zongo communities, trafficked persons, and those affected by gaps in previous constitutions. The study also identifies the consequences of statelessness, including lack of access to healthcare, education, justice, and work. The study offers several recommendations to prevent and reduce statelessness in Ghana.

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Empathic Humanitarianism: Understanding the Motivations behind Humanitarian Work with Migrants at the US–Mexico Border

This paper sets forth a typology to better understand the motivations of volunteers working to help migrants at the US-Mexico border who are in need of humanitarian assistance. The typology is centered on empathic concern, differentiating secular/faith-based motivations, and deontological/moral-virtue motivations. It offers four categories of humanitarian volunteers: the Missionary Type, the Good Samaritan Type, the Do Gooder Type, and the Activist Type. And, it sets forth additional self-centered (non-altruistic, or not-other-centered) types: Militant, Crusader, Martyr, and Humanitarian Tourist. This typology can help organizations working with migrants and refugees better understand and channel the enthusiasm of their volunteers and better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations they serve.

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DACA and the Supreme Court: How We Got to This Point, a Statistical Profile of Who Is Affected, and What the Future May Hold for DACA Beneficiaries

In June 2012, the Obama administration announced the establishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which sought to provide work authorization and a temporary reprieve from deportation to eligible undocumented young immigrants who had arrived in the United States as minors. Hundreds of thousands of youth applied for the program, which required providing extensive evidence of identity, age, residence, education, and good moral character. The program allowed its recipients to pursue higher education, to access more and better job opportunities, and to deepen their social ties in the United States. This paper provides a statistical portrait of DACA recipients based on administrative data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and estimates drawn from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) Census data. Beyond its statistical portrait, the paper provides testimonies from DACA recipients who recount how the program improved their lives and their concerns over its possible termination. It also recommends passage of legislation that would create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and programs and policies to support and empower young immigrants.

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Putting Americans First: A Statistical Case for Encouraging Rather than Impeding and Devaluing US Citizenship

This paper examines the ability of immigrants to integrate and to become full Americans. Naturalization has long been recognized as a fundamental step in that process and one that contributes to the nation’s strength, cohesion, and well-being. To illustrate the continued salience of citizenship, the paper compares selected characteristics of native-born citizens, naturalized citizens, legal noncitizens (most of them lawful permanent residents [LPRs]), and undocumented residents. It finds that the integration, success, and contributions of immigrants increase as they advance toward naturalization, and that naturalized citizens match or exceed the native-born by metrics such as a college education, self-employment, average personal income, and homeownership. The paper also explores a contradiction: that the administration’s “America first” ideology obscures a set of policies that impede the naturalization process, devalue US citizenship, and prioritize denaturalization. The paper documents many of the ways that the Trump administration has sought to revoke legal status, block access to permanent residence and naturalization, and deny the rights, entitlements, and benefits of citizenship to certain groups, particularly US citizen children with undocumented parents. It also offers estimates and profiles of the persons affected by these measures, and it rebuts myths that have buttressed the administration’s policies.

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Universal Representation: Systemic Benefits and the Path Ahead

This paper describes the genesis and expansion of the universal representation model for persons facing removal from the United States.  This public defender-like system — which takes different forms in different communities – is based on the idea that indigent individuals should be entitled to counsel regardless of the apparent merits or political palatability of their cases.  The paper describes the benefits of such systems, such as a fairer process for persons facing removal, a more just and efficient immigration adjudication system, and strengthened communities. It also considers challenges regarding the criteria for representation, the need for context-specific models, possible restrictions on representation, and expansion to additional populations, particularly non-detained persons. An overarching challenge in “universal” representation models is to choose the category of persons in removal proceedings who are most in need, most deserving, or who will gain the greatest relative benefit from representation.  The paper concludes that the more than 15 existing or soon-to-launch universal representation programs provide a clear picture of the limitations and eligibility restrictions likely to appear as the movement progresses.

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