Migration and International Protection

Howard Duncan

Metropolis Project

Previous readers of the Metropolis World Bulletin will notice a change in the current issue with its longer, more substantial articles. This represents a shift in the original newsletter format of the publication, which dates to June 2000, to one that features expert commentary on migration issues that are of interest to all of us in the field.

For this issue, our authors take a hard look at managing the problem of refugees and displaced persons. The refugee debate is constantly evolving, the flows of refugees and asylum-seekers being as dynamic as the causes of these flows. A decade ago, states were trying to regain control of the international asylum system as its innovative use by economic migrants came to dominate the concerns of governments around the world. In those days, the extent to which economic migrants used the asylum system to gain entry to the West was such that the costs of determining whether refugee claimants had a legitimate case came to exceed the money available to the refugees in camps. As a result, protection was less available to refugees than states would have wanted. Stricter controls over the international asylum system, however, led to a decrease in asylum claims and a subsequent shift in the debate away from the so-called “migration-asylum nexus.” This allowed states to return to the pressing issue of protection and the search for the best means for offering it while avoiding a profligate re-emergence of the use of the asylum system by those not in need of protection.

(excerpted from Metropolis World Bulletin, Vol. 8, p. 2)

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