Recent Work on Refugees & Forcibly Displaced Persons

Center for Migration Studies

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Recent Work on Refugees & Forcibly Displaced Persons

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) has recently released five new resources describing and proposing solutions to the challenges faced by refugees and forcibly displaced persons globally. A new CMS essay provides an overview of the Venezuelan crisis and closely examines legal contexts and responses of countries receiving Venezuelans. A new paper from CMS’s Journal on Migration and Human Security outlines the legal protections afforded migrants in places of armed conflicts and describes the obstacles to realizing those protections in the context of the Yemeni and Libyan conflicts. CMS has also published a new story from Omar al-Muqdad, a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee. Al-Muqdad reflects on a Syrian refugee camp that was set ablaze and shares the hopes of Abdul Qadir, a father living in a Syrian refugee camp. A new video interview with Donald Kerwin, executive director of CMS, provides an informal overview and reflection on the world’s forcibly displaced persons and the conditions they face at the advent of a new year. Finally, CMS and Refugee Council USA released an exhaustive report on ways to rebuild and strengthen the US refugee resettlement program.

Below is a description of each new resource.


Where Are Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees Going? An Analysis of Legal and Social Contexts in Receiving Countries

This paper outlines conditions in Venezuela, compares the refugee, asylum, and immigration policies in the countries to which Venezuelans have fled, and describes the challenges faced by Venezuelans in host communities. Almost 5.5 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2014, and host nations have granted legal status to over 2.4 million of them. However, many of these countries have been hit hard by COVID-19 and have imposed new restrictions on Venezuelan migrants.

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Caught in the Crossfire: Challenges to Migrant Protection in the Yemeni and Libyan Conflicts

This article examines the legal framework governing the protection of migrants in armed conflict under international humanitarian and human rights law. It also identifies two adverse incentives produced by the conflicts in Yemen and Libya that impede the exercise of these legal protections: (1) profits derived from migrant smuggling and trafficking, and (2) the use of migrants to support armed groups. The intractable nature of the two conflicts has also led to the strategic use of migrants as armed support, and more specifically as combatants, weapons transports, and human shields. Given these realities, this article recommends that states, particularly those neighboring Yemen and Libya, strengthen regular migration pathways to help reduce the number of migrants transiting through active conflict zones. It further advises that the international community increase the cost of non-compliance to international humanitarian law through the use of accountability mechanisms and through strategic measures, including grants of reciprocal respect to armed groups that observe protections accorded to migrants in conflict situations.

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The Hope of Refugees as a New Year Approaches

Omar al-Muqdad – a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee – writes a regular blog for CMS titled, “Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection.” In his latest post, Muqdad reflects on the conditions facing Syrians who have spent years in “squalid refugee camps.” He shares the hopes of Abdul Qadir, a Syrian refugee and father of three who was given permission to enter the United States in 2016, but was then barred from resettling because of Donald Trump’s travel ban. Qadir wishes to send his children to a normal school and to work as a carpenter again.

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An Update on Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons Globally – December 2020

In this interview, Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Center for Migration Studies, provides an informal update and reflections on the conditions facing refugees and forcibly displaced persons throughout the world. He also shares findings from the recent CMS and Refugee Council USA report on refugee resettlement and he reflects on how Catholic social teaching views refugees.

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Charting a Course to Rebuild and Strengthen the US Refugee Admissions Program

This report analyzes the US refugee resettlement program, leveraging data from a national survey of resettlement stakeholders conducted in 2020. The report finds that the US resettlement program serves important purposes, enjoys extensive community support, and offers a variety of effective services. Overall, it finds a high degree of consensus on the program’s strengths and objectives, and close alignment between its services and the needs of refugees at different stages of their settlement and integration. Because the US refugee program has been decimated in recent years, the new administration’s main challenges will be to rebuild and revitalize the program and try to regain broad, bi-partisan support for it. The report outlines myriad ways the program’s services can be strengthened.

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