April 8, 2021: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 105

RRN Webinar Series:

Localizing Knowledge Production: 

Shifting power in forced migration studies

In collaboration with the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN)
April 20, 2021 | 10:00 EST

Register here

Drawing on the results of a review of forced displacement research centres based in the global South and interviews with the directors of these centres, this webinar encourages a shift from focusing on research partnerships to an approach that supports the localization of knowledge production in refugee and forced migration studies. The speakers invite us to consider an approach that changes the structures of knowledge production through tackling issues such as funding management of Global South-led research, transfer of power to researchers in the South, a recognition of the diverse forms of knowledge and knowledge production, and an appreciation for the diverse understandings of success and impact across contexts.

Guest speakers:

James Milner, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University and Director of LERRN: The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network.

Richa Shivakoti, Senior Research Associate at the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration and Integration.

Amanda Coffie, Research Fellow at the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana.

Roula El-Rifai, Senior Program Specialist with the Democratic and Inclusive Governance Division at Canada’s International Development Research Centre – IDRC.

Recent Publications and New Research

Sanctuary cities in Canada: practices, needs and policies, Building Migrant Resilience in Cities (BMRC), York University, April 6, 2021. This project aimed to better understand the formal practices and informal approaches associated with ‘sanctuary city’ and ‘access without fear’ policies across Canada.  It explored the approaches taken by several cities to address the needs of residents living without immigration status or with precarious status. Because immigrant-serving organizations engage directly with these populations, the research explored how these organizations assessed city efforts and their needs and preferences for municipal policy changes to better support these residents.

Francesca Esposito et. al. (2021). “Yes, But Somebody Has to Help Them, somehow:” Looking at the Italian Detention Field through the Eyes of Professional Nonstate Actors. International Migration Review. Although migration-related detention has increased worldwide, little is known about life inside detention centers for undocumented migrants. Building on 34 months of fieldwork, this article examines Rome’s detention center, including the lived experiences of center staff and the external civil-society actors working in and with the center. It discusses the emotional, ethical, and political challenges these professional actors face in their everyday work and relationships with detainees. It sheds light on life in detention and the intersections between humanitarian and security logics in this setting. In doing so, the authors problematize the idea that “humanizing detention” can be a solution for change.

Didier Ruedin (ed.) (2021). Decision-Making under Uncertainty: African Migrants in the Spotlight“, Social Inclusions (open access journal), Volume 9, Issue 1 (2021). This thematic issue examines decision-making questions under limited (and contradictory) information, focusing on migration decisions. Migrants are far from a homogenous population, but they commonly use narratives as heuristics. The authors observe much agency among migrants to pursue migration plans, with migration decisions best understood as chains of multiple decisions rather than simple push-pull or two-step models.

Silverman, S. J., & Kaytaz, E. S. (2020). Examining the ‘National Risk Assessment for Detention process: an intersectional analysis of detaining ‘dangerousness’ in CanadaJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-17. This article concerns the NRAD, a 2-page ‘risk analysis’ PDF used by CBSA to sort arrested immigrants into medium- or high-risk categories. CBSA officers use it precisely to determine whether to incarcerate someone in a provincial prison or at an immigration holding centre. Like many algorithmic tools, the NRAD appears scientific and objective, but it is affixing a sticky label of dangerousness to racialized immigrants that is very difficult to dislodge. The authors argue that the NRAD creates and further embeds ‘hybrid knowledges of risk’ about immigrants, criminality, race and gender. Importantly, these pieces of knowledge did not arrive out of the blue; rather, the NRAD and its logics are nested in an arc of penalisation contingent upon the 1994 shooting of ViVi Leimonis in a midtown Toronto cafe that locals may remember. The NRAD thus links immigration, gender, racialisation, dangerousness, and crime. The NRAD normalizes incarceration for certain non-citizens, reflecting and reinforcing negative, racialized, and gendered ideas about riskiness.

Reports, Policy Briefs and Blogposts

Calgary Refugee Resettlement: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS), Released: February 2021. This report captures the numbers and composition of the refugees who arrived in Calgary during 2020. The document also includes the executive summary of Calgary’s COVID-19 response for the vulnerable newcomer population.

One Year Later: Unmasking COVID-19, by Grace Barakat & Brenda Spotton-Visano, Islamic Relief Canada & York University, March 17, 2021.  Islamic Relief Canada, in partnership with York University, has released a new research report. This report reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic inequalities in Canada. Marginalized groups, especially BIPOC, women and low-income people, have experienced the highest percentages of illness contraction, job losses and economic hardships. The research indicates that the long-term effects on these vulnerable groups will include: an increase in poverty; SME closures; household debt and mortgage defaults; precarious housing, evictions and food insecurity; and unemployment in specific industries experiencing shutdowns. 

Leaving Place, Restoring Home Enhancing The Evidence Base On Planned Relocation Cases In The Context Of Hazards, Disasters, And Climate Change, By Erica Bower & Sanjula Weerasinghe, Kaldore centre, March 2021. This report, undertaken according to the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) 2019-2022 Strategy and Workplan, seeks to enhance the evidence base on planned relocation cases undertaken within countries. It provides: (1) a global dataset of 308 cases of planned relocation identified from English-language peer-reviewed scholarly articles and grey literature; and (2) an analysis of characteristics across 34 of the identified cases. These two related outputs serve as a foundation for future efforts to augment knowledge and data on planned relocation and promote approaches to policy and practice that mitigate risk and protect people from harm.

Popp, Karoline (2021) No more Morias?’ Origins, challenges and prospects of the hot spots on the Greek islands” SVR-Policy Brief, Berlin. This new policy brief by the Expert Council on Integration and Migration explores the factors underlying the situation in the hotspots. In addition to the effects of the EU-Turkey Statement, the policy brief examines the shortcomings of the Greek administrative system and the European context, particularly the lack of responsibility-sharing on asylum among EU member states. The analysis identifies several structural causes for the situation in the hotspots. To address these, national and European actors need to create additional capacities, accelerate asylum procedures and systematically relieve the hotspots through relocations to mainland Greece and other EU countries. The EU should consider these lessons learned in its negotiations on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, including on the use of border procedures in the future. On 12 April 2021, a webinar on the theme of “No more Morias? Past and future of the hotspot approach at Europe’s border”, will be held to discuss the policy brief’s key findings and their implications.

Kordel, S. & Membretti, A. (Eds.) (2020): Classification of MATILDE regions. Spatial Specificities and Third Country Nationals Distribution, MATILDE Deliverable 2.1. This report provides an overview of the immigration processes in European rural and mountain areas, i.e., labour, forced, student, family and amenity/lifestyle migration. For this purpose, the report presents a literature review of migration studies from various social sciences disciplines. It further reveals the prevailing immigration processes, including a diachronic perspective and the framework for the description of MATILDE regions based on socio-economic, socio-demographic and territorial indicators. Finally, MATILDE regions in Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom are portrayed in terms of immigration of Third-Country Nationals and spatial characteristics. In conclusion, patterns of immigration of TCNs to MATILDE countries and regions are classified in light of broader structural transformations.

Baglioni, S., Caputo, M.L., Laine, J. & Membretti, A. (Eds.) (2021): The impact of social and economic policies on migrants in Europe, MATILDE Deliverable 3.1 and 4.1. This document presents the impact assessments of a range of policies on Third Country Nationals’ interaction with the social and economic structure of the remote and rural areas in the MATILDE countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and in the United Kingdom. Each report includes a systematic gathering of information on existing policies that have a direct/indirect impact on migrants’ interaction with the social-economic structure of remote and rural areas. A meta-analysis/literature review on the existing literature/research has been carried out for each country. Each report includes an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the policies and services explored through semi-structured interviews. Finally, the conclusions also provide an inventory of good practices.

A Year of Racist Attacks: Anti-Asian racism across Canada one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, by Justin Kong, Jessica Ip, Celia Huang & Kennes Lin, Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter, March 23, 2021. From March 10th, 2020 to February 28th, 2021, 1150 cases of racist attacks from across Canada were reportedNee on their web platforms with 835 cases reported on covidracism.ca, and 315 cases reported to elimin8hate.org. Data analysis was conducted using data up to December 31st, 2020. 40% and 44% of racist attacks and incidents were reported from Ontario and British Columbia, respectively. Individuals who reported an incident in Chinese were much more likely to report suffering from emotional distress (34% more likely) and experiencing physical assault (100% more likely) than those who reported an incident in English. Learn more by reading the full report.

Digital and Social Media

RRN webinar recording: Emerging BHER Scholars: Establishing a Refugee Research Agenda in Dadaab. March 31, 2021. The speakers in this webinar addressed the importance of ongoing research in and on Dadaab. The overarching theme was the barriers to inclusivity in education in the Dadaab refugee camp, and was addressed by Dadaab scholars with specific reference to their research in progress.

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade Event: “Still We Rise”. This online cultural event took place on March 25th, 2021 as part of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, included musical and spoken word input from a diverse range of people. It also included a live 20-minute discussion with a Q&A with a prominent personality related to the theme, “Ending slavery’s legacy of racism: a global imperative for justice.” The event was co-organized by the United Nations Department of Global Communications, UNESCO and UNFPA. Musicians included Peter Gabriel, Yo-Yo Ma and Angélique Kidjo. Canadian participants included The Hon. Jean Augustine and Webster.

Pathways to Prosperity 2021 Virtual Workshop Series, April 13-27 Schedule. In January 2021, the new Pathways to Prosperity Virtual Workshop Series was launched. The series includes up to two virtual workshops a week over several months on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 – 2:15 PM EST. The P2P 2021 Workshop Series runs until April 27, 2021. T The information is updated regularly.

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