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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Humanitarian Protection in an Era of Pandemic

The rapid closures of borders around the world have been among the most dramatic migration-related effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 130 countries have introduced entry restrictions at their borders, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates. While these closures have virtually suspended leisure and business travel across the world, the effects are proving even more severe for refugees and migrants fleeing danger. Crossing an international border to a country of safety and filing an asylum claim is no longer possible in many places—a seismic shock to the foundations of a post-World War II international protection system that relies on the goodwill of national governments to grant access to their territory for those in need.

The pandemic has also placed into stark relief the unique vulnerabilities forced migrants now confront in the face of outbreak. The reception facilities where many asylum seekers live while awaiting a verdict on their claim invite outbreaks, even in high-income countries with well-run asylum and reception systems. Infection is likely to spread even more rapidly in severely overcrowded facilities, such as the camps on the Greek islands and informal settlements in Mexican border cities where migrants awaiting U.S. asylum hearings are massed. In developing countries where access to proper health care is limited even for nationals, the consequences of the pandemic could be disastrous for refugees who often live in densely packed housing with poor sanitation. At the same time, the suspension of resettlement operations by IOM and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has closed off a crucial lifeline for the especially vulnerable.

Speakers on this webinar consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected—and perhaps, remade—the global protection systems. Meghan Benton, Director for Research of MPI’s International Program, is joined by MPI colleagues, Kathleen Newland, Hanne Beirens, Sarah Pierce, and Susan Fratzke, for a free-flowing conversation regarding the effects of the pandemic on asylum systems in Europe and North America, as well as those in developing regions, where 85 percent of refugees remain. In addition to considering the immediate effects the crisis has had on national asylum systems and on refugees themselves, the conversation looks ahead and begin to assess the implications for the principle of asylum and access to protection in the future.

View MPI's resources on COVID-19

COVID-19 in Latin America: Tackling Health Care & Other Impacts for Vulnerable Migrant Populations

Governments across Latin America have taken extraordinary mobility-limiting measures in recent days as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge, with important impacts for a region that has seen a massive scale of forced and irregular migration. Most countries in the region have ordered the full closure of their land and sea borders, and imposed stringent air travel restrictions on all foreigners. In addition, government leaders in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador are among those who have announced countrywide lockdowns and declared states of emergency, ordering the closure of public spaces including businesses, schools, and shelters.

This global public health crisis comes at a critical time for regional mobility and migration. Since 2015, Latin America has experienced unprecedented migration flows, with the exodus of millions from Venezuela. There are major questions about how the pandemic-related preventative measures will impact ongoing migration flows and border communities that depend on cross-border trade and services. And there are significant concerns about how COVID-19 may affect immigrant communities that do not always have access to health services.  At the same time, several governments, such as those in Colombia and Argentina, are looking at creative ways of engaging immigrant health professionals in the effort to combat the spread of the virus.

This Migration Policy Institute webinar brings together public health and migration experts to analyze the impact these preventative measures will have on vulnerable immigrants and refugees in Colombia. The speakers also discuss how policymakers and international organizations can include migrant populations in their emergency response plans.
 
Speakers included:
Iván Darío Gonzalez Ortiz, former Vice Minister and Acting Minister, Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection
Julián A. Fernández Niño, Professor, Department of Public Health, Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia)
Christian Krüger, former Director, Migración Colombia
Gladys Sanmiguel, former Secretary of Social Integration for Bogotá, Colombia
 
Moderator: Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute
 

Expert Podcast: Meeting Seasonal Labor Needs in the Age of COVID-19

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts Hanne Beirens, Kate Hooper, and Camille Le Coz, examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer. Catch an interesting discussion as border closures have halted the movement of seasonal workers even as crops are approaching harvest in some places.

 

Migration & Coronavirus: A Complicated Nexus Between Migration Management and Public Health

Governments around the world have adopted significant migration management measures to try to contain and halt the spread of COVID-19. Border closures, travel restrictions, prohibitions on arrivals from certain areas, and heightened screening have been among the leading policy responses, initially to try to block COVID-19 from crossing borders and later, as the pandemic became a global one, as part of a raft of mobility restrictions seeking to mitigate further spread. The success of these restrictions in stemming the initial breakout of public health threats across international borders as well as their role in mitigating "community spread" within affected states is a matter of dispute. More clear, however, is that internal measures—such as business closures and "lockdown" orders—are likely to be borne disproportionately by the most vulnerable, including refugees, unauthorized populations, and other immigrants.
 
This webinar, organized by the Migration Policy Institute and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed the state of play around the globe and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. Experts compared the current response (and rhetoric) to what has been seen during prior major public health crises in the United States and internationally, and discussed how this is likely to affect future mobility and international cooperation on issues such as humanitarian protection.

Speakers included:

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow, MPI, and former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Associate Director, International Program, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, University Professor and Director, Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, and former Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Alan Kraut, Distinguished University Professor of History, American University, and MPI Nonresident Fellow

View all MPI resources related to COVID-19.

¿Se Están Cerrando las Puertas? Respuestas a la Migración Venezolana en América Latina y el Caribe

En los últimos años, más de 4 millones de venezolanos se han desplazado a otros países en América Latina y el Caribe, debido al deterioro económico y el agravamiento de las tensiones políticas de ese país. La magnitud y la velocidad en la que ha ocurrido este fenómeno migratorio lo han convertido en una de las mayores crisis de migración forzada en la historia de la región y del mundo.  

En general, los países receptores han intentado acomodar la llegada de migrantes venezolanos, ofreciendo el acceso a educación básica, atención médica de emergencia, así como la implementación de medidas para regularizar el estatus migratorio de muchos de ellos. Sin embargo, a medida que continúa el éxodo de venezolanos, algunos gobiernos han empezado a imponer barreras de entrada. Así mismo, los gobiernos están afrontando otros retos relacionados a la inclusión de la población migrante y las comunidades de acogida.

El Migration Policy Institute (MPI) ha venido monitoreando de cerca el panorama regional y los cambios en materia de política pública y tendencias migratorias en la región. En este seminario en línea, MPI lanzó dos recursos importantes relacionados a esta materia:

  • Portal sobre Migración en América Latina y el Caribe: un sitio web que ofrece acceso a estadísticas, investigación y análisis riguroso sobre las tendencias y la política de inmigración de los países en la región.
  • Un informe que examina los efectos de las políticas migratorias y de integración en 11 países en América Latina y el Caribe ante el aumento de la migración venezolana y nicaragüense.

El presidente del MPI, Andrew Selee, en compañía de Jessica Bolter, coautora del informe, compartiero un panel con tres expertos en la materia de la región—Diego Beltrand, Enviado Especial de la OIM para la Situación de Venezuela, Dra. Luciana Gandini, Profesora de UNAM y Coeditora del libro Crisis y migración de población venezolana. Entre la desprotección y la seguridad jurídica en Latinoamérica, y Luis Carlos Rodríguez, Director de Incidencia del Servicio Jesuita de Refugiados en América Latina—para analizar las políticas más relevantes.

Is the Door Closing? Latin American and Caribbean Responses to Venezuelan Migration

Nearly 4 million Venezuelans have moved to other Latin American and Caribbean countries over the past few years as Venezuela’s economy imploded and internal political tensions worsened, making this movement the largest forced migration crisis in recent Latin American history and one of the largest emergencies in the world. 

These host countries have generally tried to accommodate the arrivals, most offering basic education and emergency health care, as well as legal status for many. But as the exodus from Venezuela continues, some governments are beginning to erect barriers to entry and to struggle with the challenges of integrating newcomers into local communities. 

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is tracking the changing policy landscape and migration trends, and on this webinar launched two resources useful to publics, service providers, and policymakers alike: 

  • a Latin American and Caribbean Migration Portal that offers up-to-date, authoritative research and data on migration and policies in the region, and 
  • a report examining the migration and integration policy responses of 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to increased Venezuelan and Nicaraguan migration.

MPI President Andrew Selee and report co-author Jessica Bolter were joined by Luisa Feline Freier, Assistant Professor of Social and Political Science, Universidad del Pacífico (Peru) and Juliana Miranda Rocha, Coordinator, Serviço Jesuíta a Migrantes e Refugiados (SJMR) Brasil, who discussed relevant policies, in particular with regards to entry requirements and legal status.

MPI held a related Spanish-language webinar; click here to access that recording. 

16th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference- The Humanitarian and Migration Crisis Originating in Central America: The Need for Regional Approaches

In recent years, the humanitarian and migration crisis in the three Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has resulted in increasing international migration, particularly of women and children as well as unaccompanied minors. Most of them cross the Guatemala-Mexico border to head towards the United States, while some migrate to countries in the region, such as Costa Rica. Many are fleeing serious violence carried out by gangs and other non-state actors, though the search for better livelihoods and family reunification with relatives already in the United States plays a role as well. Governments do not control territories where gangs and drug cartels rule, nor are they able to protect women and girls from domestic abuse and other forms of violence or insecurity. Natural disasters, climate change, food insecurity, and poor economic conditions exacerbate the situation for vulnerable people. This panel discussed the best ways for governments, international organizations, and NGOs in the region to address this crisis, particularly in terms of root causes and the protection of families and children.

Speakers include:

  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, Deputy Regional Representative for the United States of America and the Caribbean, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
  • Anthony Fontes, Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University
  • Maureen Meyer, Director for Mexico and Migrant Rights, WOLA
  • Andrew Schoenholtz, Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law; Director, Human Rights Institute; Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies

Panel: La Respuesta Internacional ante las Crisis Humanitarias Migratorias de Venezuela y Nicaragua

La respuesta internacional ante las crisis humanitarias migratorias de Venezuela y Nicaragua (Panel 3)

  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, Representante Regional Adjunto del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados para los Estados Unidos de América y el Caribe (UNHCR)
  • Luca Dall’Oglio, Jefe de Misión, Organización Internacional para la Migraciones (OIM) de EE. UU.
  • Dana Francis, Directora, Oficina de Asistencia para Europa, Asia Central, y las Américas, Oficina de Población, Refugiados y Migración, Departamento de Estado de EE. UU.
  • Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Directora, Departamento de Inclusión Social, Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA)
  • Moderador: Juan F. Jiménez Mayor, Ex Primer Ministro y Ex Ministro de Justicia de los Derechos Humanos del Perú

¿Nuevos enfoques hacia la protección y la integración de migrantes y refugiados en la región?

  • Diego Chaves, Investigador Visitante, MPI
  • Jessica Bolter, Analista de Políticas Públicas, MPI

Mientras las crisis continúan desarrollándose en Venezuela y Nicaragua, más de 4,5 millones de personas han dejado a esos países, con la mayoría instalándose en países vecinos en la región. Hasta la fecha, los países latinoamericanos generalmente han respondido por buscar maneras pragmáticas para recibir e integrar migrantes y refugiados de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Esta serie de debates en panel examina los desafíos futuros mientras países de la región busca establecer estrategias futuras para responder a flujos migratorios a gran escala. Responsables políticos y principales interesados de la región, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales destacadas involucradas en la respuesta regional, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre requisitos de entrada cambiantes; vías legales y proceso de asilo; acceso a la educación, servicios de salud y servicios públicos; y las oportunidades y retos que esos flujos migratorios exponen por el futuro de la región.

Las observaciones dadas en inglés fueron traducidas al español en esta grabación.

Panel: Respuestas Regionales a Migrantes y Refugiados Nicaragüenses

Respuestas regionales a flujos migratorios nicaragüenses (Panel 2)

  • Carlos Andrés Torres Salas, Viceministro de Gobernación y Policía, Ministro de Gobernación y Policía de Costa Rica
  • Harold Villegas-Román, Asesor al Viceministro del Interior y la Policía; y Comisionado, Comisión de Visas Restringidas y Refugio del Estado de Costa
  • Alberto Cortés Ramos, Profesor, Departamento de Ciencias Políticas, Universidad de Costa Rica
  • Manuel Orozco, Director del Programa de Migración, Remesas y Desarrollo, Diálogo Interamericano

Mientras las crisis continúan desarrollándose en Venezuela y Nicaragua, más de 4,5 millones de personas han dejado a esos países, con la mayoría instalándose en países vecinos en la región. Hasta la fecha, los países latinoamericanos generalmente han respondido por buscar maneras pragmáticas para recibir e integrar migrantes y refugiados de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Esta serie de debates en panel examina los desafíos futuros mientras países de la región busca establecer estrategias futuras para responder a flujos migratorios a gran escala. Responsables políticos y principales interesados de la región, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales destacadas involucradas en la respuesta regional, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre requisitos de entrada cambiantes; vías legales y proceso de asilo; acceso a la educación, servicios de salud y servicios públicos; y las oportunidades y retos que esos flujos migratorios exponen por el futuro de la región.

Las observaciones dadas en inglés fueron traducidas al español en esta grabación.

Panel: Respuestas Regionales a Migrantes y Refugiados Venezolanos

Palabras de bienvenida y descripción general: Andrew Selee, Presidente, Instituto de Políticas Migratorios (MPI)

Respuestas regionales a la migración venezolano (Panel 1)

  • Frieda Roxana Del Águila Tuesta, Superintendente Nacional de Migraciones, Perú
  • Christian Krüger Sarmiento, Director General, Migración Colombia
  • Andrés Alfonso Ramírez Silva, Coordinador General, Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados (COMAR)
  • Hernán Yánez González, Subsecretario de Protección Internacional y Atención a Inmigrantes, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana del Ecuador
  • José Tomás Vicuña, Director Nacional, Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, Chile  
  • Raísa Ortiz Cetra, Miembro, Equipo Internacional, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales en Argentina
  • Moderador: Andrew Selee, Presidente, MPI

Mientras las crisis continúan desarrollándose en Venezuela y Nicaragua, más de 4,5 millones de personas han dejado a esos países, con la mayoría instalándose en países vecinos en la región. Hasta la fecha, los países latinoamericanos generalmente han respondido por buscar maneras pragmáticas para recibir e integrar migrantes y refugiados de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

Esta serie de debates en panel examina los desafíos futuros mientras países de la región busca establecer estrategias futuras para responder a flujos migratorios a gran escala. Responsables políticos y principales interesados de la región, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales destacadas involucradas en la respuesta regional, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre requisitos de entrada cambiantes; vías legales y proceso de asilo; acceso a la educación, servicios de salud y servicios públicos; y las oportunidades y retos que esos flujos migratorios exponen por el futuro de la región.

Las observaciones dadas en inglés fueron traducidas al español en esta grabación.

The International Response to the Venezuelan & Nicaraguan Humanitarian Crises (Panel 3) & New Approaches (Conclusion) - Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan & Nicaraguan Migration Crises

The International Response to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Humanitarian Crises (Panel 3)

  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, Deputy Regional Representative for the United States and the Caribbean, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Luca Dall’Oglio, Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM) USA
  • Dana Francis, Director, Office of Assistance for Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
  • Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Director, Department of Social Inclusion, Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Moderator: Juan F. Jiménez Mayor, former Prime Minister and former Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Peru

New Approaches toward Protection and Integration in the Region?

  • Diego Chaves, Visiting Fellow, MPI
  • Jessica Bolter, Associate Policy Analyst, MPI

 

As crises continue to unfold in Venezuela and Nicaragua, more than 4.5 million people have left both of those countries, with most settling in neighboring countries in the region. To date, Latin American countries have generally responded by finding pragmatic ways to receive and integrate migrants and refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This series of panel discussions examines the challenges ahead as countries in the region seek to chart future strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows. Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from the region, as well as representatives of major international institutions involved with the regional response, offer their views on changing entry requirements; legal pathways and asylum processes; access to education, health care, and public services; and the opportunities and challenges that these migration flows present for the future of the region.

Remarks given in Spanish have been translated into English in this recording.

Regional Responses to Nicaraguan Outflows (Panel 2) - Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises

Regional Responses to Nicaraguan Outflows (Panel 2)

  • Carlos Andrés Torres Salas, Vice Minister of the Interior and Police, Costa Rica
  • Harold Villegas-Román, Advisor to the Vice Minister of the Interior and Police; and Commissioner, Restricted Visa and Refugee Commission, Costa Rica
  • Alberto Cortés Ramos, Professor, Political Science Department, University of Costa Rica
  • Moderator: Manuel Orozco, Director, Migration, Remittances, and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue

As crises continue to unfold in Venezuela and Nicaragua, more than 4.5 million people have left both of those countries, with most settling in neighboring countries in the region. To date, Latin American countries have generally responded by finding pragmatic ways to receive and integrate migrants and refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This series of panel discussions examines the challenges ahead as countries in the region seek to chart future strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows. Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from the region, as well as representatives of major international institutions involved with the regional response, offer their views on changing entry requirements; legal pathways and asylum processes; access to education, health care, and public services; and the opportunities and challenges that these migration flows present for the future of the region.

Remarks given in Spanish have been translated into English in this recording.

Regional Responses to Venezuelan Migration (Panel 1) - Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises

Latin American Responses to the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises

Welcome Remarks and Overview: Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

Regional Responses to Venezuelan Migration (Panel 1)

  • Frieda Roxana Del Águila Tuesta, Superintendent of Migration, Peru
  • Christian Krüger Sarmiento, Director, Migration Colombia
  • Andrés Alfonso Ramírez Silva, Director, Mexican Refugee Commission (COMAR)
  • Hernán Yánez González, Under Secretary of International Protection and Assistance for Immigrants, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador
  • Jose Tomás Vicuña, National Director, Servicio Jesuita de Migrantes, Chile
  • Raísa Ortiz Cetra, Member, International Team, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Argentina
  • Moderator: Andrew Selee, President, MPI

As crises continue to unfold in Venezuela and Nicaragua, more than 4.5 million people have left both of those countries, with most settling in neighboring countries in the region. To date, Latin American countries have generally responded by finding pragmatic ways to receive and integrate migrants and refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

This series of panel discussions examines the challenges ahead as countries in the region seek to chart future strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows. Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from the region, as well as representatives of major international institutions involved with the regional response, offer their views on changing entry requirements; legal pathways and asylum processes; access to education, health care, and public services; and the opportunities and challenges that these migration flows present for the future of the region.

Remarks given in Spanish have been translated in this recording.

Legal Migration Pathways to Europe for Low- and Middle-Skilled Migrants

Against a backdrop of large-scale spontaneous migration flows towards Europe, facilitating legal migration is often called for as an alternative to irregular migration for individuals and groups not in need of international protection. Moreover, with populations aging and workforces slated to shrink over the next few decades in many European countries, policies that can efficiently recruit migrants to meet labor and skills shortages will be at a premium. While the conversation to date has focused on high-skilled migrants, short-to-medium term projections suggest that demand may also grow for low- and middle-skilled workers in sectors such as health and elder care, manufacturing, and construction. But the changing political environment around migration means that the space for reforms to legal migration policies has narrowed in many countries. At the national level, for example, policymakers must strike a fine balance between accommodating employer demand for more flexible and responsive selection policies and meeting their obligations to protect and promote the labor market participation of local populations. And while expanding legal migration pathways is a common theme of negotiations with third countries, both political and practical considerations (such as how to test demand and scale up initiatives) have stymied efforts to deliver on this pledge.

This event hosted by MPI Europe and the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration includes a discussion of research into legal migration pathways for work and training for low- and middle-skilled migrants not in need of protection.

Speakers consider several questions:
• What opportunities for work or training in Europe can low- and middle-skilled third-country nationals access? What policies and programs have been tried and tested at EU and Member State levels and how successful have they been?
• What practical reforms can governments consider to their selection policies to ensure they are primed to assess and respond to fast-changing labor market needs? What lessons can we learn from bilateral partnerships on legal migration in this regard?
• What role can the European Union play in supporting efforts by Member States to reform or expand their legal migration channels? Where is the European Union’s added value most keenly felt?

“Legal migration for work and training: Mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection” is a project of the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration in cooperation with MPI Europe, and is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

The Colombian Response to the Venezuelan Migration Crisis: A Dialogue with Colombia’s Migration Czar

The political and economic unraveling of Venezuela has sparked the flight of more than 4 million people in what now stands as the largest exodus of migrants in the western hemisphere—a number that could exceed 5 million by year’s end. More than 1.4 million Venezuelans have settled in Colombia, which has generously opened its doors.

As the primary destination for Venezuelans, Colombia is providing a variety of legal pathways through temporary programs that allow the new arrivals access to work permits, public services, and protection from possible exploitation. And in September 2018, Colombia joined other countries in adopting the Declaration of Quito on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Region and launched an action plan emphasizing regularization and integration for migrants.

However, Colombia’s capacity to continue to host further arrivals is being stretched amid increasing pressure on public services and local economies, the growing recognition these arrivals will be more than short-term guests, and the strong possibility of additional inflows. Also at play is the slow arrival of international assistance. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has deemed the Venezuelan crisis one of the most underfunded humanitarian appeals in the world.

As the crisis continues to unfold, the Migration Policy Institute and Inter-American Dialogue hosted a conversation--with Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border; Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, MPI's International Program Associate Director;Michael Camilleri, Director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program at the Inter-American Dialogue; and MPI's President Andrew Selee--on how Colombia is coping with this influx, plans for future policy decisions, and developments in regional and international cooperation, including with the United States.

Chronicling Migration in the 21st Century Through One Family’s Journey

The story of global migration as a force shaping economies, politics, and cultures around the world is typically told via analysis of data and policies, with a focus on trends rather than individuals. Yet at the end of the day, migration is the most human of phenomena, and one that has been around as long as humans have been on the planet. This discussion with award-winning New York Times reporter Jason DeParle traces the arc of migration and its impacts through the life of an extended family of Filipino migrants that he has followed from the slums of Manila to the Houston suburbs over three decades.

Marking the launch of DeParle's new book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century, this conversation with MPI's Andrew Selee and the World Bank's Dilip Ratha explores migration at both a global and very personal level.

As he chronicles the story of three generations of a Filipino family, DeParle documents the personal, cultural, and economic challenges and opportunities the family faces, whether as migrants or those remaining behind. His reporting and analysis on immigration trends, the costs and rewards of migration to both sending and receiving communities, and examination of the political and economic questions surrounding migration offer the opportunity for a rich discussion. 

On the Wrong Path? Protecting the European Union’s External Border in the Western Balkans

The European Union’s more stringent controls on its external border are having serious effects for its near neighbors. In Bosnia, thousands of people trying to make their way to EU Member States last year had their paths blocked at the Croatian border. Many spent the winter in Bosnia, a country ill-equipped to deal with their needs. Bosnian authorities have struggled to adapt, even with help from international agencies and the European Union, with whom they signed an agreement in January to facilitate joint operations and so-called "rapid border interventions."

With thousands more migrants potentially traveling through the Western Balkans this year, this MPI Europe webinar explores the implications of the buttressed EU border on the bloc’s neighbors. Is this another example of the European Union outsourcing its toughest political issues on migration control? How can the European Union support efforts to address irregular migration in neighboring countries, many of which are already struggling with complex economic and political challenges? If the incoming crop of EU leaders continues these policies, what are the tradeoffs and considerations that they must weigh? In a conversation led by MPI Europe Acting Director Hanne Beirens, Save the Children International Senior Advocacy Adviser Karen Mets, Central European Initiative Project Manager Ugo Poli, and Peter Van der Auweraert, International Organization for Migration Western Balkans Coordinator, address these and other questions on this webinar.

“Merit-Based” Immigration: Designing Successful Selection Systems

The U.S. administration is calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, looking to Canada and Australia as potential models. An immigration proposal under consideration by the administration would adjust the composition of legal immigration, giving greater preference to skills over family ties. Much of the advanced industrial world—from Germany and the European Union to China and other Asian states—is also grappling with how best to attract and retain highly skilled immigrant workers as a means of enhancing human capital and economic competitiveness.

The conversation between Jean-Christophe Dumont, Head of the International Migration Division at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change. The discussion relied on recent MPI and OECD research on this topic, focusing primarily on the Canadian and Australian selection systems. MPI’s Julia Gelatt commented on the conversation from a U.S. policy perspective, discussing how lessons from abroad could apply to the United States.

International vs. National Protection for Refugees: Diverging Trends?

The global response to the rising challenge of refugee displacement has been marked by two contradictory trends. First, at the international level there has been a recognition of the gravity of the problem and a move toward responsibility sharing and global governance of refugee situations—most notably through the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees in December 2018. At the same time, a very different trend is emerging among countries in the Global North as a number of governments have actively narrowed their protection frameworks, tightened asylum policies, and limited the rights of refugees through laws and policies, effectively strengthening barriers to movement for those who are seeking refuge or asylum.

This conversation explores the factors behind this divergence between the international community and national policies and what it means for cooperation at the international level.  MPI’s Kathleen Newland discusses what has been accomplished through the Global Compact on Refugees and what its implementation is likely to accomplish. Mary Giovagnoli, of Refugee Council USA, examines how protection policy has shifted in the United States and the implications this has for the ability of the international community to respond to global refugee needs. David Scott FitzGerald shares insights from his book, Refuge beyond Reach, regarding how asylum policies in high-income democracies have been adapted to shut down most legal paths to safety for refugees through a range of deterrence methods that, while complying with the letter of their international commitments to refugees, do not adhere to them in spirit.      

A Conversation with António Vitorino, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration

The world is home to approximately 258 million international migrants, who represent 3.4 percent of the global population. About 10 percent of them are refugees. As countries seek to come to terms with record forcible displacement and manage other human movement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with partners in the international community to respond to humanitarian emergencies and meet the operational challenges of migration management, advance a better understanding of migration issues, and promote orderly migration policies that can benefit migrants and Member States alike.

In this first and only public address during his inaugural formal visit to Washington, DC. Director General António Vitorino discussed his vision for IOM; reforms and changes in the UN system designed to address migration matters better; the coordination of efforts between IOM, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other international partners in addressing humanitarian protection; and the operational steps IOM is taking to respond to forced migration and displacement in hotspots around the world, including Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Libya. Following a conversation with Demetrios Papademetriou, Mr. Vitorino took audience questions.

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