September 7, 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. 48

Recent Publications and New Research

Ekman, Mattias (2018) Anti-refugee mobilization in social media: The case of Soldiers of Odin. Social Media and Society Jan – Mar 1-11.

This article analyzes how racist actors use social media to mobilize and organize street politics targeting refugees and other immigrants. The author’s aim is to explore the relation between social media and anti-refugee mobilization in a time of perceived insecurity and forced migration. The study examines the vigilante network Soldiers of Odin as a specific case, looking at how they communicate through social media as well as at how right-wing online sites and traditional mainstream news represent them. The author proposes that although racist actors successfully utilize social media communication and protest logic, a lack of public support and negative framing in news media do constrain them. The article is part of a special collection on forced migration and digital connectivity. An open-access version of this article is available here:

Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación (2018) The coloniality of migration and the ‘refugee crisis’: On the asylum-migration nexus, the transatlantic white European settler colonialism-migration and racial capitalism. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees 34:1.

To make sense of Europe’s 2015 summer of migration, this article uses Quijano’s concept of the ‘coloniality of power’ to propose a new analytical framework dubbed the ‘coloniality of migration’. The author explores the connection between racial capitalism and the asylum-migration nexus through a focus on the economic and political links between asylum and migration. The author proposes that asylum and migration policies produce hierarchical categories of migrants and refugees as well as a nomenclature drawing on an imaginary that is reminiscent of the orientalist and racialized practices of European colonialism and imperialism. The article also outlines how these policies are inherent to a logic of racialization of the workforce as reflected in the racial coding of immigration policies related to White European migration to the Americas and Oceania in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and to migration policies in post-1945 Western Europe.

Open access versions of this article and the other papers included in this special issue are available here:

Oda, Anna, Michaela Hynie, Andrew Tuck, Branka Agic, Brenda Roche and Kwame McKenzie (2018) Differences in Self-Reported Health and Unmet Health Needs Between Government Assisted and Privately Sponsored Syrian Refugees: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

This article reports on a study of physical/mental health status and healthcare access for Syrian refugees who resettled in Canada between November 2015 and January 2017. The results indicate that there are demographic and healthcare access differences between government assisted refuges (GARs) and privately sponsored refugees (PSRs). The authors found that GARs reported significantly lower physical and mental health, as well as, higher unmet healthcare needs compared to PSRs. GARs reported higher needs, more complex medical conditions and more difficulty re-settling. The authors conclude that while timely access to healthcare is essential for good health and successful integration, the support refugees receive differs depending on sponsorship program, something that may lead to differences in healthcare service access and needs. Unfortunately, this paper is not open access:

Carlaw, John (2017) Authoritarian populism and Canada’s Conservative decade (2006–2015) in citizenship and immigration: The politics and practices of Kenneyism and Neo-conservative Multiculturalism. Journal of Canadian Studies 51(3): 782-816.

This article examines the politics and policies of citizenship, immigration, and multiculturalism in Canada in the period 2006-2015 the Conservative Party of Canada governed the country. The author employs the concepts of Kenneyism (named after Jason Kenney, Canada’s then minister of citizenship, immigration, and multiculturalism) and neo-conservative multiculturalism to reconcile that political party’s long-term outreach efforts to incorporate new, ethnicized, and racialized Canadians with the exclusionary discourses and policies they espoused and implemented. The article draws on Hall’s authoritarian populism to outline the roots of Kenneyism and neo-conservative multiculturalism within a discussion of the party’s evolution. The author discusses five key characteristics and trends of the party’s political and governmental approach that demonstrate both their creative outreach and forms of disciplinary politics and social exclusion and comments on the future of Kenneyism. Unfortunately, this paper is not open access:

Bailey, Lucy and Gül İnanç (2018) Access to Higher Education: Refugees’ Stories from Malaysia. Baton Rouge, Florida: CRC Press.

This book contains stories from a small group of successful refugees who have managed to receive higher education in a context where their existence is not recognized and where most refugees lack access to even basic education. Until 2015, no refugees in Malaysia were able to access higher education, and they were unable to attend government schooling. Since then, six private higher education institutions have agreed to open their doors to refugees for the first time. This book identifies the factors that aided these refugees, and charts the challenges that they and their communities have faced. The stories are framed by a discussion of the situation that refugees face in accessing education globally. Details for obtaining this book available here (unfortunately, not open access):

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Collett, Elizabeth and Susan Fratzke (2018) Europe Pushes to Outsource Asylum, Again. Migration Policy Institute. June.

This commentary examines the preoccupation of European politicians with the idea of processing asylum claims outside Europe’s borders. These authors argue that this approach could spell the end for the key principle of global migration law that asylum claims must be processed in the territory where the application is lodged. The authors ask what these schemes would look like in reality, including who would pay for them, and where the legal responsibility would lie. They argue that such ideas are not new and have previously buckled under the weight of their own cost and complexity. The article underlines that it is vital that these proposals be scrutinized and critiqued. This commentary is available here:

Betts, Alexander, Remco Geervliet, Claire MacPherson, Naohiko Omata, Cory Rodgers and Olivier Sterck (2018) Self-reliance in Kalobeyei? Socio-Economic Outcomes for refugees in northwest Kenya. University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre and the World Food Programme.

This study compares outcomes for refugees from South Sudan who are now in two places in northwest Kenya, the Kolobeyei settlement established in 2015 using a self-reliance model and the older Kakuma camp that uses more of an ‘aid model’. The authors consider how to assess self-reliance of refugees in the two locations, examine to what extent self-reliance is greater in the new Kolobeyei settlement compared to the old Kakuma camp, and how to enhance self-reliance. The report is available here:

Kerwin, Donald (2018) The US Refugee Resettlement Program – A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States. Report. Center for Migration Studies.

This report describes how the US refugee program serves US interests and values and raises concerns regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken and undermine the program. The author outlines how the program saves the lives of the world’s most vulnerable persons, promotes a stable world, reduces unregulated arrivals, encourages developing nations to remain engaged in refugee protection, and promotes cooperation in regards to US military and counter-terrorism strategies. The report outlines the achievements, contributions and integration of 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the United States between 1987 and 2016 and asserts that the US refugee resettlement program should be a source of immense national pride because it has saved countless lives, put millions of impoverished persons on a path to work, self-sufficiency, and integration, and advanced US standing in the world. The author laments that the current administration has taken aim at this program as part of a broader attack on legal immigration programs. The open-access report is available here:

Marwah, Sonal (2018) Untangling the Current U.S. Refugee Program. Project Ploughshares.

Canadian policymakers, civil society organizations and immigration attorneys are scrambling to navigate the new and frequently altering immigration landscape in the U.S. This brief provides an overview of the U.S. refugee program at the present time. The article is available here:

News and blog posts

Yaxley, Charlie (2018) UNHCR Team Hears Accounts of Barbaric Violence in Eastern Congo’s Ituri Region. UNHCR. July 13.

A UNHCR team has recently been able to obtain access to DR Congo’s Ituri region where they met some of the 150,000 people formerly displaced people who are now returning in hope of finding their homes. The UNHCR team has learned that conditions are grim, that around 350,000 people have fled the violence, and that those who have returned so far are in many cases finding that their villages and homes have been reduced to ash. The report is available here:

Silverman, Stephanie J. (2018) The disgrace of detaining asylum seekers and other migrants. The Conversation. July 15.

The author, a well-known expert on the detention of refugees and asylum seekers, argues that we must not lose sight of how the Trump administration is steadily expanding its detention arsenal under the cover of massive changes to its immigration and asylum architecture. The article is available here:

Desmarais, Anna (2018) Analysis: Debunking Canada’s responsibility to the United States under the Safe Third Country Agreement. iPolitics. July 16.

This article examines key arguments that propose that Canada ends its Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. An open access version of this article is available here:

Turse (2018) A slaughter in silence: How a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign in DRC was made worse by Trump’s “America First” policies and the world’s neglect. Vice News. August 1.

This in-depth article describes a wave of massacres and related forced displacements the Democratic Republic of Congo in early 2018. The author laments that the wave of massacres was ignored by the world, and that the humanitarian crisis that followed was amplified by international neglect. The author also argues that the Trump administration’s “America First” agenda played an important part in this disaster, nothing that the abrupt change to U.S. support for peacekeeping efforts in 2017 contributed to the constellation of catastrophes that enabled militiamen to kill with impunity and led to the forced displacement of more than 350,000 people from the Hema ethnic group. The open access article is available here:

Brandt, Jessica and Claire Higgins (2018) Europe Wants to Process Asylum Seekers Offshore – The Lessons it should Learn from Australia. Brookings. August 31.

These authors outline how costly Australia’s offshore system for processing asylum seekers has been. They warn that even if Europe is able to find a country in North Africa willing to take on this role that it is likely to be as costly as in the Australian case. The article is available here:

Alexander, Christopher (2018) Asylum seekers must be invited to use Canada’s front door. Globe and Mail. August 3.

The author of this article is a diplomat and politician who was Canada’s minister of citizenship and Immigration from 2013 to 2015. He calls for the suspension of the U.S. Canada Safe Third Country Agreement. The article is available here:


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