Archive

Archive for the ‘Migration Policy Institute’ Category

From Refugee to Migrant? Labor Mobility’s Protection Potential

May 21, 2015 Comments off

From Refugee to Migrant? Labor Mobility’s Protection Potential
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Refugee protection—both asylum in the country of first refuge and resettlement to a third country—is a humanitarian endeavor, distinct from economic or labor migration. As victims of persecution, under international law refugees are entitled to specific protections, above all from forcible return, and the humanitarian nature of refugee protection is fundamental. However, what is less clear is the degree to which the right to move freely both within and beyond a country of first asylum can or should be encompassed within the international community’s understanding of what refugee protection involves.

Over the years, there has been growing international recognition that continued movement and migration often play an important role in shaping refugees’ lives after their initial flight, even without the formal legal channels to do so. The economic restrictions placed on refugees in many countries—including prohibitions on the right to work and limitations on movement away from camps—lead many individuals to pursue irregular secondary migration after being granted refugee status, in search of economic opportunity and sometimes even basic physical security. In light of this reality, pursuing labor mobility policies for refugees may make sense for both political and humanitarian reasons, offering the chance to enhance refugee protection while reducing the many costs associated with long-term refugee crises.

This report considers the extent to which labor migration is being used—or could be used in the future—to strengthen the international refugee protection regime and facilitate durable solutions for more refugees. The report also outlines two possible ways that policymakers could facilitate refugees’ freedom of movement: initiatives that take advantage of existing migration pathways and regional freedom-of-movement protocols, and development of temporary and permanent refugee-focused labor migration programs.

Rethinking Global Protection: New Channels, New Tools

May 11, 2015 Comments off

Rethinking Global Protection: New Channels, New Tools
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Today’s refugee protection regime, established in the aftermath of World War II, is ill-equipped to meet the protection needs of contemporary displacement situations. Recent crises in Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic, Iraq, and elsewhere have put the international protection system under unprecedented strain, with numbers of displaced people at highs unseen in decades. At the same time, strengthened border security in prosperous countries has left few legal channels for forcibly displaced people to enter their borders to apply for asylum, work, or join family members—making dangerous irregular migration the only option for many.

While there is no reference to humanitarian assistance in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, this has become the default response to refugee crises—with limitations that are now inescapably clear. The governments of western industrialized countries are spending huge amounts of money on systems that are not producing the results—in terms of safety, security (both personal and national), protection of human rights, and economic advancement—desired by their citizens as well as by displaced people.

This report explores the main sources of strain on the existing system of protection, and examines the two most promising avenues for strengthening the system: development- and mobility-focused approaches. It makes the case for a robust, cooperative international effort to go beyond humanitarian assistance and incorporate new tools and new channels for the protection of the displaced.

From Humanitarian to Economic: The Changing Face of Vietnamese Migration

May 5, 2015 Comments off

From Humanitarian to Economic: The Changing Face of Vietnamese Migration
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Although war and conflict forced the majority of Vietnamese migration that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, Vietnam’s tremendous economic growth has driven recent migration to and from the country. No longer are the indelible images of people on unseaworthy boats trying to survive pirates to reach refuge on foreign shores the face of Vietnamese migration. With a decade of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 5 percent annually, unemployment below 6 percent, and a growing labor force, the face of Vietnamese migration today is more likely to be a student pursuing an overseas education, a construction worker in the Middle East, or a Chinese or Canadian tourist visiting the beaches of Nha Trang and boating in Ha Long Bay.

Immigrant and Refugee Workers in the Early Childhood Field: Taking a Closer Look

May 1, 2015 Comments off

Immigrant and Refugee Workers in the Early Childhood Field: Taking a Closer Look
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The face of the young child population in the United States is rapidly changing. Today, children of immigrants account for one in four of all those under age 6, and represent all the net growth in this population since 1990. With research consistently showing the importance of early learning experiences in setting the stage for children’s healthy development and academic success, it is increasingly clear that these demographic changes point to the need for a diverse, well-qualified early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce to deliver linguistically and culturally competent care.

At the same time, just as the number and share of children of immigrants have grown substantially, the foreign-born share of ECEC workers has also risen: immigrants now account for nearly one-fifth of the overall ECEC workforce. However, these immigrant workers—and the linguistic and cultural diversity that they bring to the field—are highly over-represented in lower-skilled and lower-paying sectors of the profession such as family-based child-care workers; few hold leadership positions as center directors or work as prekindergarten (pre-K) teachers. Despite the increasing demand for culturally and linguistically sensitive ECEC services, these competencies are often not recognized as important for ECEC workers; less than one-quarter of the workforce speaks a language other than English, and there is a mismatch between the growing diversity of languages spoken by immigrant children and families and the languages typically spoken by the ECEC workforce.

Destination China: The Country Adjusts to its New Migration Reality

April 29, 2015 Comments off

Destination China: The Country Adjusts to its New Migration Reality
Source: Migration Policy Institute

China’s place in the global migration order has been transformed by three decades of rapid economic development. Policies to reform and open the country initiated in 1978 accelerated Chinese emigration and internal migration towards the industrialized coast. While these flows remain important, another trend has gained momentum: Increasing numbers of foreigners are making their way to China.

Migration to China is exceptionally diverse. With a robust economy, welcoming universities, and low living costs, the country attracts people from all parts of the world. Relatively lenient visa policies have allowed entry to migrants from a range of backgrounds. The passage of new legislation in 2012, however, marked a step towards stricter immigration control.

Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Between 2011 and 2014, the number of Central American children and “family units”—parents traveling with minor children—who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border increased rapidly, reaching a peak of 137,000 in fiscal year 2014. While many of these migrants have valid claims for asylum or other forms of humanitarian relief, others are chiefly driven by economic concerns and a desire to reconnect with family members. This mixed flow has challenged the capacity of the United States to carry out its core immigration functions of preventing the admission of unauthorized immigrants while also providing protection to those who cannot be safely returned to their home countries.

Media coverage of Central American arrivals in 2014 portrayed their entry as a failure of border security, but the actual policy failures were in the processing and adjudication of claims for relief from migrants presenting in a mixed migration flow of humanitarian and irregular migrants. Inadequate judicial and legal resources left some migrants waiting two years or more for a hearing before an immigration judge. Such delays amounted to a de facto policy of open admission for children and families. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s responses to the rising Central American flows, including greater law enforcement resources at the border, expanded detention facilities, and the establishment of dedication child and family immigration court dockets, focused exclusively on immediate needs rather than longer-term solutions and they failed either to adequately protect vulnerable immigrants or to prevent future unauthorized flows.

This report explains the shifting patterns of Central American migration between 2011 and 2014, analyzes the root of the policy challenges posed by these flows, and outlines U.S. and regional policy responses to address the crisis. It also makes recommendations on policies that advance both critical protection and enforcement goals in situations of complex, mixed flows, and provides additional policies that the United States, Mexico, and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras might adopt to better manage child and family migration pressures today and in the future.

Assessing the Political Impact of Immigration as the United Kingdom Heads to the Polls

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Assessing the Political Impact of Immigration as the United Kingdom Heads to the Polls
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigration has featured early in the opening week of the United Kingdom’s general election campaign, which officially began on March 30, 2015. Prime Minister David Cameron was pressed on the issue in a televised interview and the Labour Party was criticized for producing campaign mugs emblazoned with pledges to control immigration.

As voters head to the polls on May 7, it remains to be seen how central the often-roiled debate over migration will be in what is a deeply unsettled election year. Immigration is a key political issue, brought about through major changes in immigration patterns over the past two decades, significant policy changes that have failed to reassure the public, and the rise as a political force of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)—which has pressed for a temporary ban on new immigration. Paradoxically, immigration may have less visibility during the general election, given the issue is now political poison for the major parties.

Above all, this election cycle will determine the next stage in a long-running political fight: the question of the United Kingdom’s continued membership in the European Union and a possible voter referendum on the matter. Immigration and Europe have now become entangled in voters’ minds and it is likely that the issue of free movement within the European Union could be the determining factor for many voters in any such referendum.

This article briefly reviews the politics of immigration in the United Kingdom since 2010 before examining whether immigration will impact the election and exploring how immigration politics will develop in the future, particularly in regard to the United Kingdom’s place in Europe.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,051 other followers