December 6 2017: 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. 28

Recent Publications and New Research

Abrego, Leisy J., et al. “Making Immigrants into Criminals: Legal Processes of Criminalization in the Post-IIRIRA Era.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 5.4 (2017).

This article critically reviews the literature on immigrant criminalization and trace the specific laws that first linked and then solidified the association between undocumented immigrants and criminality in the US. It draws on quantitative and qualitative research to underscore ways immigrants experience criminalization in their family, school, and work lives. The first half of the analysis is focused on immigrant criminalization from the late 1980s through the Obama administration, with an emphasis on immigration enforcement practices first engineered in the 1990s. The second section explores the social impacts of immigrant criminalization, as people’s experiences bring the consequences of immigrant criminalization most clearly into focus. Available at:

 Betts, Alexander, Naohiko Omata, and Louise Bloom. “Thrive or Survive? Explaining Variation in Economic Outcomes for Refugees.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 5.4 (2017).

This paper asks three questions about the economic lives of refugees: 1) what makes the economic lives of refugees distinctive from other populations; 2) what explains variation in refugees’ income levels; and 3) what role does entrepreneurship play in shaping refugees’ economic outcomes? In order to answer these questions, the paper draws upon extensive qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Uganda by the Humanitarian Innovation Project at Oxford University. The quantitative data set is based on a survey of 2,213 refugees in three types of contexts: urban (Kampala), protracted camps (Nakivale and Kyangwali settlements), and emergency camps (Rwamwanja). It supplements this with qualitative research from other parts of Africa and the Middle East. Available at:

Martin, Susan F. “Environmental Change and Human Mobility: Trends, Law and Policy.” Comparative Population Studies 42 (2017)

This article identifies practical solutions, many of which are currently under consideration by governments and international organizations, to improve the lives of millions of people affected by environmental crises. It begins with a brief overview of why people move, the nature of those movements, and the relationship between human mobility and adaptation to environmental change by highlighting three types of mobility – migration, displacement and planned relocation. Next, the international and regional level will be discussed, with particular focus on legislative and policy frameworks for addressing human mobility in the context of environmental change. The article concludes that efforts to improve responses require a better evidence base than currently exists on issues such as the environmental determinants of migration, displacement and planned relocation; the multi-faceted ways in which environmental factors relate to the many other causes of population movements in the cases of human mobility; and the impact of such movements on the well-being of migrants, communities of origin, and communities of destination. Available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

IOM 2018 World Migration Report  

The ninth world migration report presents key data and information on migration as well as thematic chapters on highly topical migration issues, and is structured to focus on two key contributions for readers: Part I: key information on migration and migrants (including migration-related statistics); and Part II: balanced, evidence-based analysis of complex and emerging migration issues. The two parts are intended to provide both overview information that helps to explain migration patterns and processes globally and regionally, and insights and recommendations on major issues that policymakers are or soon will be grappling with. Available at:

Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity: Key Results from the 2016 Census, Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada released results from the 2016 Census which provide a new national statistical portrait of immigration and ethnocultural diversity in Canada. The full report can be found at:  but here are some highlights:

  • On Census Day, 21.9% of the population reported they were or had ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.
  • In 2016, Canada had 1,212,075 new immigrants who had permanently settled in Canada from 2011 to 2016. These recent immigrants represented 3.5% of Canada’s total population in 2016.
  • The majority (60.3%) of these new immigrants were admitted under the economic category, 26.8% were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country, and 11.6% were admitted to Canada as refugees.
  • In 2016, the majority (61.8%) of newcomers were born in Asia.
  • Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal are still the place of residence of over half of all immigrants and recent immigrants to Canada. More immigrants are settling in the Prairies and in the Atlantic provinces.

OCHA: Agenda for Humanity – 2017 Synthesis report, No Time to Retreat 

The new agenda for humanity resulting from the World Humanitarian Summit (Istanbul, May 2016) consists of 5 Core Responsibilities and 24 transformations that are needed to achieve progress to address and reduce humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability. Those 5 responsibilities include: (1) prevent and end conflict; (2) respect rules of war; (3) leave no one behind (which addresses displacement and statelessness); (4) work differently to end need; (5) invest in humanity. More details available at:

News reports and blogs 

Travel Ban: What is Trump’s major immigration policy, and why is it called a ‘Muslim ban’? All you need to know by Clark Mindock

President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban is set to go forward after the Supreme Court ruled this week in favour of the beleaguered measure… the ban targets travellers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. It restricts admission into the US from those countries unless the individual travelling can prove they have a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States. The bans have all included restrictive language on refugee admission as well, and have resulted in significant cuts to those programmes this year. Available at:

Expert Views: What Would Refocus Attention on Internal Displacement? By Written by Kim Bode, Charlotte Alfred

The number of people displaced inside their own countries is nearly double the global refugee population, yet this has slipped off international agendas. Refugees Deeply asked several experts what’s needed to refocus global attention on internally displaced people. Available at: 

Libyan slavery: Don’t be fooled by the ‘shock’, we’ve known about this for a while now by Sophia Akram

A recent undercover investigation by CNN revealed that black African migrants were being sold into slavery in Libya. Since the report broke, news on it has gone viral and world leaders have expressed outrage. The article argues the news wasn’t really a shock. More details available at:

Digital and social media

RLP video advocacy documentaries

Refugee Law Project, through its Media for Social Change Programme uses audio-visual medium as a tool to show the work being done at RLP as well as highlight the plight of forced migrants in Uganda. A selection of documentaries of the initiative are available at:

The Climate and migration coalition resources

The Climate and Migration Coalition is an alliance of refugee, human rights, development and environmental organisations. It offers many resources including short videos on documentaries on how climate change affects migration and internal displacement all over the world. Available at:

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