February 14, 2018: 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. 33

Recent Publications and New Research

Wasem, R. E. (2018). Immigration Governance for the Twenty-First Century. JMHS 6 (1): 97-120

At the crux of understanding immigration governance is acknowledging that immigration is not a program to be administered; rather, it is a phenomenon to be managed. This paper studies the administration of immigration law and policy with an eye trained on immigration governance for the future. It opens with a historical overview that provides the backdrop for the current state of affairs. It then breaks down the missions and functions of the Immigration and Nationality Act by the lead agencies tasked with these responsibilities. The paper concludes with an analysis of options for improving immigration governance. Each of these options poses unique challenges as well as political obstacles. Download the PDF of the article

Bruno, G. C., et. al. (2017). Migration and the Environment: Some Reflections on Current Legal Issues and Possible Ways Forward.

This paper aims at examining legal options to fill the protection gap affecting environmental migrants in the EU. It starts with a discussion about the (limited) scope of application of EU harmonised protection statuses. Options based on humanitarian grounds and on EU human rights obligations will be evaluated. It takes a closer look to further means of protection within (resettlement programmes, humanitarian admission schemes, private sponsorship) and outside (Regional Development and Protection Programmes) the EU territory. It argues that existing means of protection in the EU are very limited in scope and not designed to fill in a satisfactory way the protection gap of EMs. Available for academia.edu members at:


Kerwin, D. and Warren, R. (2018). The Legally Resident Foreign-born Population has the Same Percentage of Skilled Workers as the US-Born Native Population

This paper outlines the results of a study on young immigrants, known as the Dreamers, who would be eligible for conditional permanent status under the DREAM Act of 2017. The study paints a portrait of a highly productive, integrated group of young Americans, who are deeply committed to the United States. The paper highlights potential DREAM Act recipients’ large numbers, prevalence throughout the country, high levels of employment and self-employment, long residence, US families, English language proficiency, and education levels. It argues that with time and, particularly, with a path to citizenship, the Dreamers would be able to contribute significantly more to their communities. Finally, the study finds that a large number of TPS recipients, who will soon lose this status, would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act. To read more, visit http://cmsny.org/publications/foreign-born-same-skilled-native/.

Lucassen, L. (2017). Peeling an onion: the “refugee crisis” from a historical perspective. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-28.

This paper asks: why did Western and other European politicians become so alarmed and, in some cases, downright apocalyptic at the rise of asylum seekers in 2014–16, especially compared to the previous refugee crisis in the 1990s? This paper argues that in 2014/2015, a “perfect storm” developed, bringing together factors that in the past had been largely unrelated and then converged with new ones. Peeling the onion of societal discontent with migrants and refugees has revealed five necessary and sufficient conditions: (1) discomfort with immigration and integration of colonial and labour migrants from North Africa and Turkey (1970–80s); (2) growing social inequality and widespread pessimism about globalization (1980s–); (3) A growing discomfort with Islam (1990s–); (4) Islamist terrorism (2000s–) and (5) the rise of radical right populist parties (2000s). available to subscribers at:


Reports, working papers and briefs

IDMC Case Study: Going “home” to displacement – Afghanistan’s returnee-IDPs

Up to half a million Afghans are expected to have returned from Pakistan and Iran back to Afghanistan by the end of this year, with most returning directly into a situation of internal displacement. Afghans who have returned to their country but cannot go back to their area of origin because of violence, known as “returnee-IDPs”, struggle to secure basic living conditions, livelihoods or basic services. This case study reports on research conducted on the ground, hearing from returnee-IDPs and IDPs on their reintegration needs and the obstacles they face in securing durable solutions. Available at: 


Working paper: Involuntary migration, context of reception, and social mobility: The case of Vietnamese refugee resettlement in the United States by Carl L. Bankston III and Min Zhou

This study examines the Vietnamese population of the United States as a case study in the integration of a refugee group in a host country. It starts by offering a brief review of Vietnamese refugee resettlement in the US and the making of a new ethnic community. It then provides a quantitative analysis of socioeconomic mobility among Vietnamese refugees using American Community Survey data from 1980 to 2015 and survey data. It examines how this ethnic population has changed over time by focusing on key socioeconomic indicators, such as poverty rates and levels of education, occupation, and income. Finally, it seeks to explain what enables Vietnamese refugees and their children to overcome initial disadvantage and move up in society based on our own work over the span of 20 years with in-depth qualitative data. The study considers how policies, institutions (government, civil society, and ethnic), and patterns of social relations in the Vietnamese American community have interacted with individual agency to shape mobility. Available at:


News reports and blog posts

Trump’s Misuse of Barbara Jordan’s Legacy on Immigration by Susan Martin

In this essay, Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration Emerita at Georgetown University and CMS board member, explains how the White House misconstrues the recommendations of the Jordan Commission and how, in fact, the commission’s approach on immigration and refugee policy is considerably at odds with Trump policies. Available at:


Stanford Refugee Research Project explores ways University can aid refugee crisis by Olivia Mitchel

Launched in Aug. 2017, the Stanford Refugee Research Project (SRRP) explores how Stanford can have a positive impact on the refugee crisis in the Middle East. The campus-wide initiative focuses on health, education, resettlement, employment and more. It comprises a team of Stanford undergraduate and graduate research fellows, a Stanford faculty steering committee and a non-Stanford advisory committee. More about the project available at: https://www.stanforddaily.com/2018/02/12/stanford-refugee-research-project-investigates-university-involvement-in-syrian-refugee-crisis/

Subscribe to The Refugee Brief, the UN Refugee Agency’s daily news digest

This daily newsletter covers the day’s top refugee stories and highlights some of the best refugee-related reporting, analysis and videos from across the web, all in a highly readable, concise format. Subscription link available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refugeebrief/

Digital and social media

OCASI’s Working for Refugees

OCASI has launched a new online discussion forum on WelcomeOntario.ca. The forum titled, Working for Refugees: Discussions with Settlement Workers & Sponsors, will provide the space for sponsoring groups and the settlement sector to connect, share and support one another on issues related to serving privately sponsored refugees. To join this conversation today, visit http://welcomeontario.ca/forum. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at WOforum@ocasi.org.

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