June 17, 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. 109

Recent Publications and New Research

Dennler, K.T. (2021). Uncertain future, unsettled present: suspending and embracing engagement with life among newcomers in Toronto, CanadaJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Canada’s current immigration policies are marked by growing reliance on temporary and conditional migration and increased processing times for immigration applications. More people spend long periods living in Canada with deportability and therefore uncertainty about the future. Based on qualitative research among newcomers in Toronto, Canada, this article examines the temporalities of living with uncertainty, attending to how experiences of and responses to uncertainty are dynamic across time. The article identifies two salient responses among research participants, either suspending or embracing engagement with life in Canada. Each of these responses entails risks, making both suspending and embracing difficult to sustain. This article shows that regimes of immigration control foreclose access to rights and supports based on formal immigration status and hollow out the value of permitted activities.

Khan, Adrian A. (2021).  Embodied circular migration: lived experiences of education and work of Nepalese children and youth. Journal of Youth Studies, 1-17. Research including trans-Himalayan children and youth experiences of circular migration is often amalgamated under broader migration discourses. From 22 semi-structured interviews and three focus group sessions with 22 trans-Himalayan children/youth, this paper examines intersections of embodiment, agency, and circular migration in Nepal through what this paper frames as embodied circular migration. The paper outlines how young people’s agency towards choosing to engage in circular migration for work, circumvented structural challenges of not having identity documents (citizenship/birth certificates) needed to legally work or pursue higher studies in Kathmandu.

Mousin, C.B. (2021). Constantine’s Legacy: Preserving Empire while Undermining International Law. In P. Slotte & J.D. Haskell (Eds.), Christianity and International Law (pp. 366-94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thou shall not return a refugee to persecution. Nation-states declared they had learned that critical lesson from the tragedy of the Holocaust by enacting international refugee conventions and protocols. Today, as refugees seek safety, they find fortress-like liberal democracies building walls of steel interlaced with legal strategies that undermine the international protections forged from the fires of the Holocaust. Consequently, refugees drown in the Mediterranean, die in the Mexico-United States desert, become detained in overcrowded refugee camps and unofficial street shelters, or become victims of criminal gangs. Nation-states have all too often abdicated their responsibility to refugees. This chapter explores this interlocking struggle between Christian hospitality toward the outsider and Christian refusal to offer that hospitality in support of national security.

S.W. Allard. (2021). Hopelessly Practicing Law: Asylum Seekers, Advocates, and Hostile Jurisdictions. In P. Slotte & J.D. Haskell (Eds.), Christianity and International Law (pp. 366-94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. What does it mean to practice public international law? This is a frequent topic of conversation for many who work with law students inspired to study the law and pursue legal vocations believing that peace, justice, and human rights may be best advanced through the international legal framework. However, as many students often discover, that framework can be deeply frustrating. From its heavily bureaucratic structure anchored in the United Nations (UN) system to the unresolved tension between individuals and states as actors in and beneficiaries of international law, public international law can often seem as much an obstacle as a means to their virtue. This chapter examines the ethic of praxis in public international law by examining an often-overlooked area of international legal practice: refugee and asylum law.

Costello, C., Foster, M., & McAdam, J. (Eds.). (2021). The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law. Oxford University Press.  This handbook provides a state-of-the-art, comprehensive analysis of the field of international refugee law. It is global in scope, with ten chapters focusing on specific regions, including Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. It examines a wide range of legal instruments relevant to refugee protection, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international migration law, the law of the sea, and international and transnational criminal law. Finally, it critiques the status quo and sets the agenda for future academic research.

Reports, Policy Briefs and Blogposts

Report: From Silos to Solutions: Toward Sustainable and Equitable Hybrid Service Delivery in the Immigrant & Refugee-Serving Sector in Canada, by Jungzhou Liu, Cansu Dedeoglu & Marco Campana. AMSSA, Strengthening Diversity in BC. This final report of the Settlement Sector and Technology Task Group presents findings and insights generated through a comprehensive exploration of hybrid service delivery over six months in the immigrant settlement sector in Canada. The six main recommendations of the report are: develop a roadmap to support organizational digital transformation; establish a common and sector-wide vision for digital literacy; establish a hybrid settlement service delivery lead at IRCC; establish baseline sector competencies; establish a national sector capacity-building approach; and ensure sector nuances are taken into account.

Report: Intentional Connections for Welcoming Communities: Improving Settlement for Privately Sponsored Refugees in Ontario through Settlement-Sponsor Collaboration. Allies for Refugee Integration; a partnership of OCASI and Refugee 613, May, 2021. This final report explores the findings and recommendations from the pilots tested across Ontario to improve settlement-sponsor collaboration in support of privately sponsored refugees.

Policy Brief: Addressing the Legacy of Expedited Removal: Border Procedures and Alternatives for Reform By Yael Schacher, Refugee International, May 13, 2021. Expedited removal has been justified as a means to promote efficiency in asylum processing. Yet over the last decade, when large numbers of families have come to the border to seek refuge, expedited removal has proven highly inefficient. On February 2, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14010 on creating a comprehensive regional framework. The Order suggests implementing expedited removal in a more efficient way and respectful of due process. For reasons described in this brief, it is highly questionable that such a system will prove to be fair or even effective and workable. Thus, this issue brief suggests alternative ways the United States can have a fair and efficient system that better fulfills its obligation to provide access to protection at the border. A different reception system at the border is essential for a new, comprehensive, protection-oriented approach to migration from Central America.

Digital and Social Media

Inspirational Creative Practice: The Work of Artists after War and Violent Conflict (INSPIRE) is a research project that studies the role of artists and creative practice in and after violent conflict. The project is hosted by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO) and connected to the PRIO Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict (CCC). Working with artists and activists in Myanmar and Sudan, and exiled artists in four European countries (France, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland), we explore what motivates those engaged in creative practice and how artistic expressions inspire others into action for social justice.

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