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  • Author: Hanne Beirens, Aliyyah Ahad
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Interest in refugee sponsorship has taken root in a growing number of European countries since the 2015–16 migration crisis. Also called community or private sponsorship, or humanitarian corridors in certain contexts, proponents of engaging private individuals and civil-society groups in refugee resettlement tout this model’s ability to provide refugees with a warm, supportive welcome and to give sponsors a rejuvenated sense of community and purpose. Yet even as sponsorship programs are piloted and implemented in more countries, there is relatively limited evidence of whether they are living up to these high expectations and what program elements are most effective. This issue brief examines how building a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system into sponsorship programs can help answer these and other important questions. It highlights the value M&E can bring—from strengthening political commitment to sponsorship, to increasing accountability and facilitating improvements within a program. It also lays out key challenges policymakers and program designers will need to tackle to get an M&E system off the ground. The pause in humanitarian protection programs forced by the coronavirus pandemic comes at a critical time in the development of many sponsorship schemes. Their relative youth could leave them more fragile as uncertainty looms over whether and when countries will resume their protection operations. Stronger M&E can help give decisionmakers the confidence—and evidence—they need to make smart decisions about launching, managing, or expanding a sponsorship scheme.
  • Topic: Refugees, Immigrants, Resettlement, Asylum, Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dany Bahar, Brian Dooley, Andrew Selee
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: More than 5 million Venezuelans have left their country, and the majority—more than 4 million—have moved elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. While some politicians and pundits have claimed the new arrivals are leading to an uptick in crime, few studies conducted in the region have examined whether and what type of relationship exists between immigration and crime. This issue brief explores these questions by looking at migration and crime data from the three countries with the largest number of Venezuelan migrants: Colombia, Peru, and Chile. To do so, it draws on a mix of national and subnational datasets, some publicly available and others obtained by the authors through requests to government agencies. Analysis of data from 2019 suggests that, for the most part, Venezuelan migrants commit substantially fewer crimes—and certainly fewer violent crimes—than the native born, relative to their share in the overall population. This signals that public perceptions that immigration is driving up crime rates are misplaced. In discussing the policy implications of this analysis, the authors point to areas for further research and policy discussion, including the need to pay special attention to border regions, in which migration and crime dynamics often differ from those elsewhere in the country, and the value of actively addressing newcomers’ legal status and labor market integration.
  • Topic: Crime, Migration, Border Control, Employment, Trafficking , Immigrants, Integration
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Venezuela, Chile, Peru
  • Author: Aliyyah Ahad, Monica Andriescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Just weeks after the United Kingdom’s formal departure from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe with full force. The outbreak drew public and political attention away from the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, while also straining many public administrations, including agencies responsible for residency applications. With the clock ticking down on the transition period, set to end on December 31, 2020, many EU countries have yet to announce the details of the systems that will govern the future status and rights of their UK-national residents. The United Kingdom is further along, having rolled out its pilot EU Settlement Scheme to resident EU nationals in 2019. But of the 26 EU countries with responsibilities for citizens’ rights, only Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands had launched registration schemes before the pandemic began. And even where implementation had begun, many systems faced setbacks as in-person government services were suspended by lockdown measures. This has created considerable uncertainty for UK nationals in EU countries, and EU nationals in the United Kingdom—as well as their families—who will have six months after the transition period ends to acquire a new post-Brexit status. As this policy brief details, the pandemic has put some in an even more precarious position, including families with third-country-national members that have been separated by travel restrictions, and the newly unemployed, who may no longer meet the conditions of the EU Free Movement Directive (the foundation of the withdrawal agreement). This brief sets out steps governments on both sides of the Channel can take in the coming months to “pandemic-proof” their implementation plans. These include: investing in smart outreach to would-be applicants, streamlining status-adjustment processes, and supporting civil-society groups that can help applicants through the process.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Brexit, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Julie Sugarman, Melissa Lazarín
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: As schools closed their physical classrooms in March 2020 due to COVID-19, educators across the United States reported that English Learners (ELs), immigrant students, and students in low-income families were particularly difficult to reach with online instruction. The pandemic and the sudden, forced transition to remote learning have brought into sharp relief the inequities that many of these students face in often under-resourced schools. Despite significant effort on the part of educators to support their students’ continued learning through Spring 2020, these efforts fell short for many ELs and students in immigrant families. Among the most notable barriers: a lack of access to digital devices and broadband, school–family communication gaps, parents’ limited capacity to support home learning, and inadequate remote learning resources and training for teachers on how to use them effectively. With the 2020–21 school year underway, and many schools continuing to operate partly or entirely remotely, this policy brief takes stock of the impact schools’ response to the pandemic is having on ELs and immigrant-background students. It identifies key challenges states and school districts must overcome, and outlines policy recommendations to help them ensure these students are adequately supported in this academic year and beyond. These include prioritizing ELs for in-person instruction when schools buildings begin to reopen, professional development on digital instruction that includes a focus on working with ELs, strategies for strengthening parental engagement, and funding mechanisms to shield high-needs students from the brunt of expected budget cuts. As the authors note, “depending on how states and districts adapt in the coming year, schools could emerge from this crisis having built stronger and more resilient systems on a foundation of equity for ELs and immigrant-background students.”
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Immigration, Inequality, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Caitlin Katsiaficas
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Home visiting programs are increasingly popular in communities across the United States. A two-generation model for health and social service provision, home visiting is designed to support both young children and their caretakers to promote their health, well-being, and long-term outcomes. For immigrant and refugee families, home visiting can also offer integration-related supports, such as by helping parents navigate unfamiliar early childhood, health, and social service systems. But even though they make up an important segment of the at-risk populations these programs aim to serve, immigrant and refugee families are less frequently enrolled in home visiting programs than families in which the parents are U.S. born. This brief highlights strategies adopted by some states and counties to address this gap. To do so, it looks at four case studies: King County, Washington; San Diego County, California; Illinois; and Massachusetts. Working with different populations and in varied funding environments, these state and local efforts illustrate key steps policymakers and program administrators can take to boost the equity and quality of home visiting services for immigrant families, such as by: explicitly including at-risk immigrant families in program needs assessments and prioritizing them for services alongside other at-risk families; incorporating community input into program design; adjusting procurement processes to level the playing field for community-based organizations that seek to offer home visiting services and are well positioned to connect with families of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds; and supporting research on what program models work well for immigrant and refugee families.
  • Topic: Education, Refugees, Immigrants, Integration
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kathleen Newland
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The toolbox of international migration governance has few instruments for dealing with the migration-related challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most international agreements on migration are designed to aid people on the move and to assist states in dealing with this movement, voluntary or forced. Yet the pandemic is a disaster characterized more by immobility than movement. While some migrants have been sent back to their origin countries or compelled to return due to job losses, many others have been stranded in destination countries by border closures and travel restrictions, and some would-be migrants have been unable to move abroad as intended. The most recent addition to the migration governance toolbox—the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration—does, however, offer states useful guidance. As this policy brief discusses, the objectives outlined in the compact include some that have gained added, real-time urgency during the pandemic and others that will be essential as states work to restart international migration safely. This brief also considers how the pandemic and its economic fallout have affected the relationship between migration and development, including in terms of its impacts on migrant workers and remittances. With remittances predicted to drop by at least 20 percent globally in 2020 compared to 2019, the effects on remittance-dependent countries will be particularly severe. This may spread the pandemic-induced economic pain even to places that have been relatively less affected by the virus itself. Looking ahead, this brief considers how greater cooperation between states and with multilateral agencies, civil-society organizations, the private sector, and philanthropies can assist in the immediate pandemic response, as well as in efforts to rebuild lost livelihoods and, eventually, reopen legal migration channels.
  • Topic: Migration, Governance, Employment, COVID-19, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Doris Meissner
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The immigration enforcement regime at the U.S.-Mexico border offers a vivid example of how existing policies, laws, and resource investments are markedly out of step with new migration realities and future needs. A border enforcement system designed to address the once-dominant flows of single adults from Mexico seeking to enter the United States illegally for work is ill prepared to deal with more complex mixed flows of families and unaccompanied children from Central America, some seeking humanitarian protection, others opportunity. Consistent with its world view of immigration as threat, the Trump administration has responded by shutting down any meaningful access to humanitarian protection and asylum, by invoking a public health authority to expel more than 205,000 arrivals during the COVID-19 pandemic, and by constructing hundreds of miles of border barriers. Yet these strategies cannot succeed over the long term, nor are they consistent with U.S. law and international agreements and principles on protection. In this road map, MPI Senior Fellow and former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner Doris Meissner outlines some of the steps to a more effective approach, one that builds on border management as an enduring function. Rather than a sole focus on thwarting illegal arrivals, successful border management requires cross-agency and cross-governmental collaboration that marries effective border security with fair, humane enforcement. This report is part of MPI’s multiyear Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy initiative, which is generating a big-picture, evidence-driven vision for the role immigration can and should play in America’s future. To learn more about the initiative and read related research, check out the initiative’s home page.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Immigration, Governance, Border Control, Asylum, Deportation
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: Doris Meissner, Michelle Mittelstadt
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: President-elect Joe Biden pledged during the campaign to reverse some of the most restrictive immigration actions undertaken during Donald Trump’s four years in office, including family separation and a travel ban on nationals from majority-Muslim countries. He also vowed to temporarily halt deportations, reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, increase refugee admissions, and halt construction of the border wall. This policy brief outlines some of the incoming administration’s top immigration priorities and examines challenges and opportunities ahead. Drawing on existing and forthcoming policy ideas from MPI’s Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy initiative, the brief sketches several proposals that could begin to shape a U.S. immigration system that advances the national interest going forward. The near-total shutdown of asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, for example, does not represent a long-term strategy nor is it consistent with longstanding U.S. values. Effective long-term solutions to deal with mixed flows of economic and humanitarian migrants entail processes to provide fair, efficient processing of asylum cases, including by having the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Asylum Division oversee the merits of border asylum cases to completion—an MPI recommendation the Biden campaign embraced. The brief, among other proposals, also recommends the creation of multiagency reception centers near the border for one-stop screening of arrivals and speedy turnover to the relevant agencies.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Infrastructure, Border Control, Employment, COVID-19, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lena Kainz, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Kathleen Newland
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The world has changed dramatically since the international community came together in December 2018 to adopt the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Two years on, national governments and UN agencies are working to implement the compacts in an environment of new and intensifying challenges, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. Given the significant political energy invested in the compacts, there is immense pressure to turn the commitments made on paper into reality, challenges or not. And while the migration landscape continues to change, the movement of people across borders remains at the heart of many pressing issues, including public health, economic recovery, and social inequality. This policy brief examines how implementation of the two compacts has played out thus far, highlighting areas in which the pacts have lived up to or fallen short of expectations. It also identifies sticking points and opportunities at the intersection of the compacts that merit greater attention. To do so, the brief draws on interviews with government officials and UN agency representatives in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, as well as an in-depth review of countries’ implementation plans and progress updates.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, Governance, Immigrants, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emmanuel Sales
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Europe has an excess of savings and its companies lack equity capital. This diagnosis was made a long time ago and the crises the continent has been going through over the last 10 years have accentuated this gap. European growth companies are rapidly falling prey to large non-European firms that benefit from a deep and liquid stock market. Thus, despite the existing arrangements, Europe is unable to impose world champions that would allow it to build its sovereignty against the United States and China. The creation of a new category of UCITS funds open to all EU savers, the European Sovereign Funds, would help us respond to this challenge by providing medium-sized companies with the fresh capital they need to ensure their development and independence.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, European Union, Economic Growth, Capital
  • Political Geography: Europe