Tag: #ahmadyakzangoogleplus

Immigration Attorney Ahmad Yakzan

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan Appears on WTSP Action 10 News

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan appeared on WTSP ABC Action News to discuss the President’s new Executive Order on H1B visas. Attorney Ahmad Yakzan highlighted the fact that the current H1B system needs grave reforms. Attorney Yakzan also discussed the fact that Executive Order did not make substantial changed to the present system.

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan appears frequently on TV to discuss immigration issues. He can be reached at yakzan@americandreamlawoffice.com or by calling 1-888-96-DREAM.


What to do if your country is included in the immigration Executive Order?

As many of you have heard, there is a lot of confusion regarding Mr. Trump’s Executive Order regarding immigration. There are several precautions that you need to take, and they depend on whether you are in or outside the US and whether your country is covered. 

If you are a national of the seven countries, please be careful. As far as we know, holders of non-immigrant visas from those seven countries are not being allowed to board planes headed the US. If you are one of these people, please contact an immigration lawyer.

If you are a lawful permanent resident and you are not being allowed to board a plane, please contact an immigration lawyer ASAP. Such prohibition is unconstitutional. Your family members in the US should contact your congressional representative in your state for help. 

If you reach the he US and you get detained or questioned, do not say anything and refuse to sign any documents, especially form I-407. This form says that you’re abandoning your residence in the US. 

If you are a lawful permanent resident and you are detained, request a hearing before an immigration judge. THIS IS CRUCIAL. 

We are her to help if you face any difficulties. 

Refugee Crisis Ahmad Yakzan

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan Participates in Discussion about the Global Refugee Crisis

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan participated in a discussion about the international refugee crisis. The discussion was held at Stetson University College of Law and included experts on international law.

Attorney Yakzan spoke about his experience in representing high profile individuals in affirmative asylum filings in the United States. He also discussed his recent visit to Lebanon and his experience relating to Syrian refugees.

The event was sponsored by the State Department and the participants included more than fifty international journalists most of whom were from Arabic speaking countries. To view the discussion visit this link.

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan Featured in GEO Magazine in a Story about the American Dream

Attorney Ahmad Yakzan, the founder and the managing attorney of American Dream Law Office PLLC, was featured in a story discussing the American Dream. The story was written by journalist Jurgen Schaefer of GEO Deutschland, in Germany. The magazine publishes human interest stories. The story featured other individuals experiencing and helping other people achieve their American Dream.
The story featured attorney Ahmad Yakzan, who has struggled immensely to reach his American Dream. Ahmad came to the United States as an 18 years old. He attended community college in Cocoa, FL, and went on to earn four degrees from the coveted Stetson University, ranging from BA in Political Science in 2003, to a Master of Laws with a concentration in International law in 2009.
Ahmad is an avid advocate for hs clients and an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL. To read the story, visit the magazine’s site.

Three reasons that should lead you to hire an immigration attorney

I have been practicing immigration law exclusively since before I passed the Florida Bar (under the supervision of a licensed attorney). I have seen this scenario more times than I care to admit.
A client comes into my office for a consultation. I find out that the client had already filed a petition on his/her own without consulting an attorney. The client now comes in because something has gone VERY wrong. The client’s petition has already been denied, or worse they have landed in removal proceedings because they should not have filed because of something in their past. Or the potential client had filed a petition for permanent residence and the government did not believe that the marriage is real and charged the immigrant with marriage fraud and referred them to immigration court.
Unfortunately, in some cases, it had been too late or it had become much more expensive to deal with the issues because of the Service’s determination. The first reason I give to hire an attorney is the fact that an attorney will always be an advocate on your behalf. Even when I ended up in court on personal matters I always hired an attorney. I believe that the attorney will take the emotions out of the matter and will be able to represent your interests in a more subdued way than you would have. This level of dedication could mean the difference between winning and losing the case.
The second reason I give is that simply you will have one additional witness, especially in cases when you know you will end up in an interview with the Service. Most of the time, the Service, represented by an immigration officer conducting the interview, will be the only other person in the room. Unfortunately, this means that the record will be written by them. Administrative immigration proceedings are not recorded, like a court proceeding, and unfortunately, in some instances, the record will be written against you. In some instances, I have heard that the officer asked questions that should not have been asked. If you were the only person in the room, it would be your word against the officer’s, and it will be very hard to prove that the officer asked these inappropriate questions. So why not have another person in the room, who will be able to prove otherwise?
Lastly, and this is the most important reason, you should hire an attorney because you are not one, or even if you are, you should still hire one as discussed above. Just like a doctor, and I hope that you are not self-medicating, the attorney will be able to diagnose the legal problem, and prescribe the best legal avenue to deal with the problem. Immigration law is very complicated, and the outcome could differ literally on one simple fact, like the date you came into the United States, your country of citizenship, or whether you were previously inspected by an immigration officer. An attorney will be able to diagnose these simple problems, because he/she knows how to do that, and you do not.
Call us before you print out that form from www.uscis.gov. We will always be your advocate and serving you would be our mission.

CLINIC Materials Highlighted in Education Department’s New Resource for Assisting Undocumented Students

Silver Spring, MD— Resources from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), including the Educators’ Back to School Toolkit, are featured in a new guide released Oct. 20 by the U.S. Department of Education, aimed at helping educators support undocumented students.
Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth,” is the first of two such booklets planned by the federal agency to focus on the needs of undocumented young people. It compiles basic legal information along with background material from a variety of sources and suggests resources for helping high school and college students succeed. A second guide, scheduled for release in 2016, will focus on children at the elementary and early learning levels.
The 63-page guide includes:

  • An overview of the rights of undocumented students;
  • Legal guidelines for educators;
  • Tips for teachers and other school personnel for supporting undocumented youth;
  • Information on access to federal financial aid for noncitizens;
  • A list of private scholarships for which undocumented youth might be eligible;
  • Information on federally-funded adult education programs at the local level;
  • Guidance for students and young adults in obtaining their school records for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

In addition to CLINIC’s toolkit, the guide features a link to CLINIC’s webinar for educators. All of CLINIC’s resources on DACA can be found here.
“Teachers and school personnel around the country will benefit from having material in one place that can reliably direct them in helping immigrants in their communities,” Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC Executive Director said.  “CLINIC is pleased that the Education Department collaborated with us and others who have hands-on experience in the advocacy community to create this important resource for educators. We look forward to continuing this kind of engagement and outreach to the immigrant community.” 

Source: Catholic Charities

The Emigration of Health-Care Workers: Malawi’s Recurring Challenges

One of the world’s poorest countries, Malawi faces a host of challenges, not least the status of a health-care system marked by significant shortages of doctors and nurses. Yet many Malawian health-care professionals have emigrated in search of better opportunities abroad, with dramatic effects in the early 2000s on the delivery of health-care services and a strong government response.

The global competition for health workers, with resulting migration from low- to high-income countries, has received considerable attention from policymakers in both sending and receiving countries. For a country like Malawi, which is highly reliant on international aid and has a weak health-care infrastructure, the consequences of significant emigration of health-care professionals were striking.

Health care is a highly political issue in the country of nearly 17 million people, more than half of whom live in poverty and with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US $226.46 in 2013. In the early 2000s, a drastic shortage of workers due largely to emigration severely impacted the delivery of health services, prompting the government to implement policies to reduce the flows and consider the introduction of user fees on health care, which is a cherished service in this impoverished nation.

Though the health-care system still faces significant obstacles, the emigration of much-needed health-care workers has mostly stabilized through the implementation of an action plan that increased salaries and training programs for medical professionals. Even as the government has taken steps to address this brain drain, some observers see an opportunity for “brain gain” via new knowledge transfers and remittances transmitted to Malawi by doctors and nurses abroad.

This article examines the emigration of health workers from Malawi, the government’s response, the brain drain versus brain gain debate, and recurring challenges to health worker retention.

Assessing Malawi’s Health Labor Force and Trends

Though Malawi’s first president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1966-94), was a medical doctor, the country did not have a medical school of its own until 1991. By the early 2000s, Malawi had few native-born medical personnel, and of those significant numbers chose to emigrate. For example, in 2002, 59 percent of the 493 doctors born and trained in Malawi were working abroad, as were 16 percent of the 2,248 Malawian nurses trained in their home country. The number of nurses working outside the country may have been even higher as some emigrated to pursue careers other than nursing and were thus not recorded as they did not require qualifications validation.

Coupled with the low number of graduates from the country’s only medical school, the emigration of health workers led to significant staff shortages. In 2004, Malawi had 1.1 doctors and 25.5 nurses for every 100,000 people—meaning that the entire country had about 250 doctors. In comparison, neighboring Tanzania had 2.3 doctors and 36.6 nurses per 100,000 population in 2004, while in 2006 the regional density in Africa was 22 doctors and 90 nurses per 100,000 population. The Malawi Ministry of Health reported a nearly 80 percent vacancy rate for registered nurses in 2003 and 65 percent in 2006. With such a low density of health workers, the coverage and quality of health services were significantly constrained.

This was particularly the case because of an important disparity in the distribution of medical staff within Malawi. Half of Malawi’s doctors worked in cities in 2004, even as more than 80 percent of the population resided in rural areas.

Facing such challenges, Malawi has had little capacity to meet a minimal level of health care. This has impeded efforts to deliver the country’s Essential Health Package (EHP), which is designed to direct resources to treatment that effectively and efficiently addresses the local burden of disease. Malawi’s ability to effectively put to use international aid, on which the health sector heavily relies, has also been hampered by the lack of personnel. An April 2004 Ministry of Health report stated that the human resources situation in the health sector was ‘‘critical, dangerously close to collapse” and that the sector was ‘‘facing a major, persistent and deepening crisis with respect to human resources.”

A number of push and pull factors motivate Malawi’s health workers to emigrate. The most common destinations for Malawian health-care emigrants include the United Kingdom (Malawi’s former colonial power), the United States, and South Africa.  In 2002, 191 Malawian physicians and 171 nurses were working in the United Kingdom, while 40 doctors and 171 nurses were in the United States. Push factors include low remuneration, limited career opportunities, poor working conditions and management, political instability, violence, poverty, and work overload. In 2012, a Malawian doctor earned on average US $7,000 per year, excluding housing—and that is after the government increased salaries by 52 percent in a bid to stem emigration of medical professionals. The risk of HIV infection due to lack of appropriate protection has been another significant push factor. In 2008, the National Association of Nurses in Malawi (NONM) estimated that each month four nurses were lost to HIV and AIDS-related illness.

For many Malawians the high demand for English-speaking medical personnel and the much higher wages at destination offered better opportunities to advance their careers and support their families. The two most significant factors leading to the emigration of health workers, according to a study of sub-Saharan migration, were “the real wage gaps between sending and receiving countries, and the demographic booms in the low-wage sending countries.” Moreover, a 2008 study by researchers from Trinity College, Dublin and the University of Malawi suggested that most motivating factors prompting workers to consider leaving Malawi’s health service fell into two broad categories: factors that left staff feeling undervalued and those leading to poor quality patient care.

While Malawi has experienced high emigration rates of medical personnel, a significant inflow of international doctors and nurses has also occurred, largely to support the training of local staff or to temporarily fill staffing shortages. A peaceful, relatively inexpensive, and English-speaking country, Malawi has long been an attractive destination for foreign medical students and volunteers. Furthermore, Malawi’s severe poverty makes it dependent on financial aid and humanitarian organizations, particularly in the health sector. The international organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been present since 1986, with 586 staff in country in 2014. Partnerships with international academic institutes and health-service organizations have been critical to filling gaps in care provision historically, and as a pillar of the government’s response to health worker emigration.

Tackling the Pull Factors

As the cost of emigration of health-care professionals for Malawi and other impoverished countries became clear, international organizations and industrialized countries issued policy statements, codes of practice, and bilateral agreements to ensure the social and economic costs and benefits of migration are more equitably distributed at origin and destination. The topic of human resources for health has since gained significant focus, particularly with the adoption by the World Health Assembly in May 2010 of a Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, supported by all World Health Organization (WHO) Member States. The code frames the responsibilities between governments, recruitment agencies, and labor, seeking to balance the obligations of health workers to the country they were trained in and their right to seek employment abroad.

The Malawi Emergency Human Resources Program

Malawi has proactively sought to tackle human resource and health emigration issues. In 2004, the government launched a six-year Emergency Human Resources Program (EHRP), which was a pillar of the country’s policymaking on the provision of health care. The program aimed to raise staffing levels comparable to Tanzania, at 2.3 doctors per 100,000 inhabitants—less than WHO-recommended minimums but representing an attainable goal. The program, which cost US $95.5 million from 2004 to 2009, attracted major donor funding, notably from the UK Department for International Development (DfID), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

EHRP promoted the retention of workers through financial and other incentives and contained three main features:

  • a 52 percent salary increase for health workers in 11 professional cadres
  • measures to enhance the capacity of medical training institutions
  • the recruitment of additional expatriate-volunteer doctors and nursing tutors to fill key posts in the short term

The program provided a number of additional incentives, including allowances for medical professionals willing to serve in rural areas, housing, and transport, based on the premise that increased remuneration and benefits would encourage health workers to stay in Malawi. Moreover, Malawi sought to address long-term factors and root causes affecting the retention of workers, such as the unavailability of drugs and supplies, and poor management of and support for the health workforce. Malawi’s College of Medicine also increased the number of graduating doctors from 18 in 2004 to 51 in 2011.

Even with the increase in graduates, the government acknowledged it will continue to require the services of international volunteers, particularly in specialty areas of medicine. By 2009, 132 international personnel were recruited through the EHRP to provide clinical services and train local staff, up from 18 in 2004.

By 2009, the health worker-to-population density experienced a 66 percent increase as a result of the EHRP, rising from 87 per 100,000 in 2004 to 1,440 per 100,000. However, these levels still fell below the African regional average (1,910 per 100,000) and WHO’s critical threshold (2,500 per 100,000) for delivering essential health services. By the end of the six-year EHRP program in 2009, there was a sharp decline in migration; just 16 nurses emigrated that year, compared to 108 in 2003.

Recurring Challenges

Although the government succeeded in reaching its target of achieving staffing levels comparable to neighboring Tanzania, lifting health workers out of poverty, and discouraging some workers from leaving the health profession within Malawi, the challenges to health development remain great and the global competition for health workers represents a continuing threat to health care in Malawi. The remuneration gap for skilled medical staff between Malawi and developed countries remains a significant pull factor. For instance, in the United Kingdom, a newly qualified nurse earns GBP 19,166 (US $33,290), about ten times what a nurse would earn in Malawi.

The Malawi Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP) 2011-2016 continues the 2004 EHRP.  In the same spirit, it focuses on improving the retention of health-care workers at all levels, particularly in hard-to-staff areas by “maintaining the 52 percent salary top-ups, institutionalizing a performance management incentive scheme and extending [a] housing scheme to health cadres.”

Fewer numbers of health-care personnel are leaving Malawi, but the human resource challenges that remain are “acute and complex,” according to the new strategic plan. Even with increases in the intake of nursing students and introduction of new courses, it will take many years to reach the number of staff needed to provide minimum standards of health-care delivery. In May, the Executive Director of Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen), Martha Kwataine, warned that the nurse-to-patient ratio was putting patients at risk. She reported that there has been an increase in the number of nurses from 4,500 in 2010 to about 10,000 in 2015. While the nursing increases have resulted in a drop from the 76 percent vacancy rate, the health-care sector still has a 60 percent vacancy rate in nursing. The deterioration of previously strong pull factors also may be deterring departures. For example, in June 2015, the United Kingdom announced the thresholds for recruiting skilled workers from outside Europe would be raised starting in fall 2015. The Oxford Migration Observatory warned that overseas nurses are likely to be one of the first groups affected. In 2014, 454 Malawians were employed by the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, including 138 professionally qualified clinical staff. Although this move could deter Malawian nurses from migrating to the United Kingdom, they may simply choose to travel to another country.

Even as Malawians continue to leave, albeit in smaller numbers, international personnel are arriving through aid and development programs. While there was no formal exit strategy in the EHRP to end recruitment of international doctors, the government sought to phase out UN-sponsored personnel as the College of Medicine began producing more graduates. The recurring challenges to retention and poor infrastructure continue to justify the need for foreign doctors. Earlier this year, the U.S. embassy in Lilongwe welcomed 11 Global Health Service Volunteers to teach and provide clinical supervision for the year, while Rotary International has sponsored 30 doctors from India to attend to patients at Kamuzu Central Hospital. International practitioners on temporary deployments, however, cannot alone solve the high vacancies in the medical sector.

“Brain Drain” versus “Brain Gain”

The trend of health-care labor emigration from low- to high-income countries has sparked an ongoing debate on the impact on the sending country’s development. Addressing the negative impacts of such emigration has been on the WHO agenda since 2004, with a code of practice for ethical standards in international recruitment of health workers adopted in 2010.

One area where health-care migration can have a positive effect on a country’s development is through the generation of remittances. Although the evidence for Malawi is limited, studies from other poor countries demonstrate the power of remittances in significantly reducing poverty, according to a 2006 study by experts Richard Record and Abdu Mohiddin. For instance, the World Bank estimated the 2014 total remittance flow to developing countries to be $436 billion, a sum three times that of official development aid (ODA) to developing countries. Malawi, however, demonstrates the opposite, receiving approximately $144 million in remittances through official channels from 2004 to 2011, according to Migration Policy Institute tabulations of World Bank data, while receiving $5.3 billion aid dollars over the same period. Still, seeing potential in the flows of health workers, Record and Mohiddin argued Malawi could achieve brain gain provided the government finds a solution to avoid paying for the training of health professionals who then take their skills abroad. Possible mechanisms include requiring migrating staff who do not work in the country’s health system for a certain number of years to reimburse training costs, or encouraging host governments to remit a new tax to the Malawi government, which would allow the country to train more health workers for both local and international needs.

On the other hand, brain gain is also considered out of reach for Malawi by some because the advantages of skills transfers are lost. There is little evidence that Malawian health professionals working abroad for several years return home to share the skills and knowledge acquired internationally. Moreover, the cost to poor countries of emigration is often seen as exacerbating already weak national health systems, challenging achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The shortage of health workers has contributed to high maternal mortality in Malawi and, because of the high level of vacancies, especially in rural areas, most clinical care is performed by nurses, not by doctors. In recent years, many stakeholders have recognized the importance of human resources in the provision of health care, in efforts to improve health outcomes, and to achieve development. Indeed, following work by WHO on the importance of health to improve human development, international attention has shifted focus to strengthening human resources. The key to improving of Malawi’s health indicators thus lies in addressing emigration as one of the main factors contributing to critical human resource shortages.

The Road Ahead

Malawi’s health sector continues to face enormous challenges beyond emigration. Doctors and other hospital staff are often accused of stealing medicines because salaries, despite the 52 percent increase, remain insufficient. Wages are also often withheld for up to a month or more as funds are unavailable to pay medical staff at public hospitals and clinics, or depleted due to corruption. And as the country increases the number of health clinics and hospitals as part of the 2011-16 strategic plan, more staff will be required, thereby doing little to dent the high vacancy rate. Retention of health workers remains a problem, not just from emigration, but from personnel leaving the public sector to work elsewhere in Malawi as the day-to-day challenges in health care become too great.

Malawi has a long, but not insurmountable, road ahead. As the successes of the earlier Emergency Human Resources Program show, if the government effectively implements the current strategic plan, Malawi may yet reach its health-sector goals.

Research for this article was supported in part by the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance, which is funded and administered by the Open Society Institute (OSI). The views are the author’s own.


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Bailey, Nicola, Kate L. Mandeville, Tim Rhodes, Mwapatsa Mipando, and Adamson S. Muula. 2012. Postgraduate career intentions of medical students and recent graduates in Malawi: A qualitative interview study. BMC Medical Education 12 (87). Available Online.

Campbell, Denis, Haroon Siddique, Ashley Kirk, and James Meikle. 2015. NHS hires up to 3,000 foreign-trained doctors in a year to plug staff shortage. The Guardian, August 31, 2015. Available Online.

Chalabi, Mona. 2014. DataBlog: Who works for the NHS? Compare nationalities. The Guardian, January 27, 2014. Available Online.  

Chauwa, Alfred. 2015. 30 Indian doctors in Malawi to work at Kamuzu Central Hospital. Nyasa Times, September 9, 2015. Available Online.

—. 2015. Malawi govt backtracks on hospital user fees. Nyasa Times, April 6, 2015. Available Online.

Chimwaza, Wanangwa, Effie Chipeta, Andrew Ngwira, Francis Kamwendo, Frank Taulo, Susan Bradley, and Eilish McAuliffe. 2014. What Makes Staff Consider Leaving the Health Service in Malawi? Human Resources for Health 12 (17).

Cometto, Giorgio, Kate Tulenko, Adamson S. Muula, and Ruediger Krech.2013. Health Workforce Brain Drain: From Denouncing the Challenge to Solving the Problem. PLoS Med 10 (9).

De, Rajlakshmi and Charles Becker. 2015. The Foreign Aid Effectiveness Debate: Evidence from Malawi. Working Paper 6, AidData, Washington, DC, March 2015. Available Online.

Embassy of the United States, Lilongwe, Malawi. N.d. U.S. Ambassador Swears in Global Health Services (GHSP) Volunteers. Press release, n.d. Available Online.

Hamilton, Kimberly and Jennifer Yau. 2004. The Global Tug-of-War for Health Care Workers. Migration Information Source, December 1, 2004. Available Online.

Jensen, Nele. 2013. The Health Worker Crisis: An Analysis of the Issues and Main International Responses. London: Health Poverty Action. Available Online.

Kirigia Joses Muthuri, Akpa Raphael Gbary, Lenity Kainyu Muthuri, Jennifer Nyoni J, and Anthony Seddoh. 2006. The Cost of Health Professionals’ Brain Drain in Kenya. BMC Health Services Research 6: 89-99.

Kissick, Kasey. 2011. The “Brain Drain:” Migration of Healthcare Workers out of sub-Saharan Africa. Factsheet, Stanford University, School of Medicine, School Health Evaluation and Research, 2011. Available Online.

Manafa, Ogenna, Eilish McAuliffe, Fresier Maseko, Cameron Bowie, Malcolm MacLachlan, and Charles Normand. 2009. Retention of Health Workers in Malawi: Perspectives of Health Workers and District Management. Human Resources for Health 7 (1): 65-74.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH). 2010. Evaluation of Malawi’s Emergency Human Resources Programme, EHRP Final Report. Cambridge, MA: United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and MSH.

Mangham, Lindsay J. and Kara Hanson. 2008. Employment Preferences of Public Sector Nurses in Malawi: Results from a Discrete Choice Experiment. Tropical Medicine & International Health 13 (12): 1433-41.

McCoy, David, Barbara McPake, and Victor Mwapasa. 2008. The Double Burden of Human Resource and HIV Crises: A Case Study of Malawi’. Human Resources for Health 6 (1): 16.

Migration Policy Institute. 2013. Remittance Trends over Time. Available Online.

Mills, Edward J., Steve Kanters, Amy Hagopian, Nick Bansback, Jean Nachega, Mark Alberton, Christopher G. Au-Yeung, Andy Mtambo, Ivy L Bourgeault, Samuel Luboga, Robert S. Hogg, and Nathan Ford. 2011. The Financial Cost of Doctors Emigrating from Sub-Saharan Africa: Human Capital Analysis. British Medical Journal, November 24, 2011. Available Online

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Muula, Adamson S. 2008. Shortage Of Health Workers in the Malawian Public Health Services System: How do Parliamentarians Perceive the Problem? African Journal of Health Sciences 13 (1).

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Source: Migration Policy Ins

Ten Facts About U.S. Refugee Resettlement

The United States, which runs the world’s largest refugee resettlement program, is being called upon to welcome more Syrian refugees as Europe struggles to absorb huge flows of asylum seekers and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and elsewhere. As of October 2015, the United States had resettled approximately 2,000 Syrian refugees since the start of civil war in Syria in 2011.

Responding to these calls, the Obama administration has announced its intention to raise the annual ceiling on U.S. refugee admissions to 85,000 for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2015 and to 100,000 the following year, up from 70,000 for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2015. These policy choices have touched off intense discussions about the capacity of the United States to help respond to growing humanitarian protection needs.

As policymakers address these questions, it is worth reviewing some key facts about refugee resettlement in the United States that have often been overlooked in current debates. This fact sheet, drawn from recent Migration Policy Institute (MPI) research, analysis of U.S. government policies, and other sources, covers key questions such as refugee benefits use, employment, and educational attainment; the screening that would-be refugees have to go through before admission; and the likely integration picture for Syrian refugees.

Source: Migration Policy Ins

What’s Next for the European Asylum Crisis?

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Demetrios G. Papademetriou

Audio, Webinars October 20, 2015

An MPI Europe video chat with the outgoing head of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on the current EU refugee crisis, what strategies Europe ought to be pursuing in response, and the growing role of EASO as well as its track record over its first five years.
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Video, Audio February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offered perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcased MPI’s publication, Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World. Book co-editors Randall Hansen and Demetrios G. Papademetriou covered the volume’s findings on the continuing and evolving challenges in border management and security—terrorism, organized crime, illegal migration, smuggling, trafficking, human rights, infrastructure, corruption, and economic and political factors—and offered an analysis of effective and ineffective policies and programs. The discussion focused on North American experiences with the challenges and successes these governments have had in pursuing better, more effective, and smarter border controls and on deepening regional cooperation.
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Audio October 24, 2012

Large-scale immigration has led to unprecedented levels of diversity, transforming communities in fundamental ways and challenging long and closely held notions of national identity. Backlash against immigration has manifested itself in Europe partly through vocal criticism of “multiculturalism,” and in the U.S. as a growing tendency to conflate immigration and illegality. In response, many countries have narrowed rights to residence and citizenship and attempted to more rigidly enforce cultural conformity. These topics are explored in The Relationship Between Immigration and Nativism in Europe and North America. This discussion focuses on factors and players that contribute to this environment, an analysis on the current situation in both Europe and U.S., and a discussion on its implications for community cohesion and national identity in European countries and the U.S.
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IOM Asia Pacific

Audio September 24, 2015

This discussion, at the Bangkok launch of an MPI-International Organization for Migration issue brief, explores the social and health impacts of international labor migration on the children who remain at home when one or both their parents emigrate.
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Refugees and migrants pictured moments before rescue by the Italian Navy/UNHCR

Audio, Webinars September 18, 2015

A webinar/call with senior officials from two EU Member States, Austria and Slovenia, to discuss their differing perspectives on the current refugee crisis, and consider what is needed to ensure a unified, practically feasible response to the biggest crisis that has faced the Common European Asylum System since its inception.

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Video September 24, 2013

The Mexican-origin population in Hawai’i represents a small, but fast-growing group, that is little examined. This briefing at the State Capitol in Honolulu, organized in conjunction with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, marked the formal release of an MPI report that presents key demographic and socioeconomic information about this population in Hawai’i.

The briefing to discuss the report, Newcomers to the Aloha State: A Portrait of Mexicans in Hawaii, featured researchers Jeanne Batalova of MPI and the University of Hawaii’s Monisha Das Gupta and Sue Haglund. The speakers discuss demographic characteristics and experiences of this population and the immigration enforcement and other policies affecting them. 

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Video, Audio September 14, 2015

A discussion, including the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, examining the huge strains on the global protection system and how it can better respond to protracted refugee situations and other long-term displacement, focusing on the conclusions of the Transatlantic Council on Migration’s recent meeting, Beyond Asylum: Rethinking Protection Policies to Meet Sharply Escalating Needs.
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Video, Audio April 22, 2010

With nearly 500 million U.S. border crossings a year and over one-quarter of Americans possessing passports, the U.S. government faces a daunting challenge in protecting people on the move from the risks of direct attack.

This discussion follows the book release of Securing Human Mobility in the Age of Risk: New Challenges for Travel, Migration, and Borders, in which author Susan Ginsburg, MPI Nonresident Fellow and former Senior Counsel, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (9/11 Commission), argues that the nation’s approach to immigration and border security is off-kilter and not keeping pace with the scope and complexity of people’s movement around the world, nor with expectations regarding freedom of movement.

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Video, Expert Q&A September 11, 2015

Demetrios Papademetriou, President Emeritus of MPI and President of MPI Europe, explains the origins of the refugee crisis in Europe and discusses actions that Europe and other regions can take in the near and long term to address the flows.
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Video, Audio February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) at UC Hastings College of the Law, A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System. The panel moderated by Kathleen Newland, Director of the Refugee Protection Program at MPI, includes speakers Elizabeth Dallam, KIND National Legal Services Director; Lisa Frydman, CGRS Associate Director and Managing Attorney; Karen Musalo, GGRS Director; and KIND Executive Director Wendy Young. The discussion focuses on the conclusion that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests. Unaccompanied children are not provided lawyers to help them navigate the complex requirements of immigration proceedings. The report is available at www.supportkind.org and www.cgrs.uchastings.edu.
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Video, Audio, Webinars July 22, 2015

This webinar examines innovative ideas to adapt the global protection system to better meet the growing challenges of forced migration and to empower refugees through development-led responses to displacement.
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Video, Audio December 12, 2013

This panel discussion focuses on the circulation of skilled immigrant professionals and the recognition of foreign qualifications in the United States and Europe. The event brought together experts and policymakers to discuss what governments can do to improve the recognition of foreign credentials—particularly in regulated occupations where time-consuming and expensive licensing processes can delay access to skilled employment. The discussion highlights promising practices (including an example from Quebec), and identifies ways U.S. policymakers can learn from European innovations in qualifications recognition and how international cooperation can help. The event coincided with the release of the final report of a two-year research initiative funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Skilled Immigrants in the Global Economy: Prospects for International Cooperation on Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.
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Video, Audio May 4, 2015

A discussion on the situation of Syrian refugees, recent developments in the region, and the U.S. humanitarian response, along with reports from recent fact-finding missions to the region by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Refugee Council USA. Speakers from both organizations, as well as a leading official in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, discuss conditions for refugees in camps and urban settings, as well as U.S. policy regarding the Syrian crisis. 
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Video, Audio May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group’s final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

The discussion includes Co-Chairs Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Eduardo Stein, former Vice President and Foreign Minister of Guatemala. Joined by MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou; Doris Meissner, Director of MPI’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program; and Andrew Selee, Vice President for Programs, Wilson Center.

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IOM Asia Pacific

Audio March 26, 2015

Marking the release of the 12th MPI-IOM Issue in Brief, this event in Bangkok examined the emerging trends in women’s labor migration in the Asia-Pacific region, and the related opportunities and challenges. The audio does not include opening remarks and begins with the author’s presentation.
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Video, Audio April 19, 2012

The Migration Policy Institute celebrated its first decade as the authoritative, unimpeachable resource on immigration and immigrant integration analysis and policy design in the United States and internationally. From its humble beginnings, the Institute has grown both in size and influence as it strives to engage and help set smart policy that both benefits immigrants and their families, and the countries in which they settle.

You can read about the Institute’s accomplishments here.

In this video, MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou discusses the past decade and next decade of MPI’s work, engaging in thoughtful, fact-based research and analysis of migration and refugee policies in the United States and internationally, followed by comments from award recipients The Honorable Romano “Ron” Mazzoli, U.S. House of Representatives (D-KY, 1971-95); Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Foundations; and Uyen Nguyen and James Huy Bao, Co-Founders of the OneVietnam Network. MPI’s Kathleen Newland and Doris Meissner also provide remarks.   

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IOM discussion in Bangkok of ASEAN skilled labor flows. (Photo credit: IOM)

Audio December 16, 2014

This Bangkok launch of the MPI-IOM Issue in Brief A ‘Freer’ Flow of Skilled Labour within ASEAN: Aspirations, Opportunities and Challenges in 2015 and Beyond explored the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community and its vision of a freer flow of skilled labor. In response to the mounting evidence that migrants in the region lack the skills recognition required to put their knowledge and training to use in destination countries, ASEAN Member States are taking steps toward better qualifications recognition to prevent the resulting waste of human capital, as this discussion explores.

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Video October 28, 2009

This event served as a discussion of Talent, Competitiveness, and Migrationthe first book from the Transatlantic Council on Migration. MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou was joined by Michael S. Teitelbaum, Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Carl Haub, Senior Demographer and Conrad Taeuber Chair of Public Information, Population Reference Bureau; and Joseph J. Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Committee for Economic Development.

The discussion focused on a number of key issues related to the accumulation of talent that influences both economic growth and migration trends. Panelists also touched on why certain systems have developed as they have, what various systems attempt to accomplish, and expectations for coming years. 

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Video, Audio November 18, 2014

A day-long conference in Brussels, co-sponsored by the International Labour Office and the European Commision’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, where panelists discuss the dynamics by which migrants get stuck in low-skilled work, and the role of training and employment services in helping them progress in their occupations. The conference concludes a project and series of reports prepared on the Labor Market Integration of New Arrivals in Europe
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Video, Audio March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse. The discussion provides analysis on the reasons behind the growing migration of this vulnerable population and offers recommendations. Read the report here.

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Video October 28, 2014

A discussion on the extraordinary boom in investor immigration. From the rapidly expanding EB-5 visa in the United States to Malta’s controversial “cash for citizenship” policy and a host of programs across Europe and the Caribbean, governments are increasingly offering residence rights or citizenship to wealthy individuals in return for a significant economic investment. These trends raise a host of policy questions. Which programs are most attractive for investors? Are destination countries getting a good deal? How can governments prevent the security lapses and corruption scandals that some investor programs have suffered? The webchat addresses these questions and discusses MPI’s report Selling Visas and Citizenship: Policy Questions from the Global Boom in Investor Immigration.
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Video, Audio February 19, 2014

This panel discussion, presented in cooperation with the Greek Embassy, explores how the 2014 Greek Presidency of the European Union and the United States can work to address the challenges of managing migration while meeting humanitarian obligations and nurturing economic growth. Speakers are: Ambassador of Greece to the United States Christos P. Panagopoulos; U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard; MPI CEO Michael Fix; and moderator Demetrios G. Papademetriou, the President of MPI. As the 2014 Greek Presidency works to formulate the European Union’s next five-year program, two interconnected challenges have come to the fore: building a comprehensive migration system whose parts work harmoniously to meet humanitarian obligations and nurture economic growth and social cohesion, and doing so with very limited resources.

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Video, Webinars September 18, 2014

In this webinar, experts and policymakers from Europe and the United States discuss the relationship between immigration, residential segregation, community relations, and economic opportunities. This event concludes a Transatlantic Council on Migration series of papers on how cities and regions in North America and Europe can make the most out of immigration. 

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Video February 5, 2014

During this public briefing in Guatemala City (conducted in both English and Spanish), the Co-Directors of the Migration Policy Institute-convened Regional Migration Study Group, MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, presented the Study Group’s final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. The report outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and much of Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. The Study Group, co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President and Foreign Minister Eduardo Stein, offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda for the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness. 
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Integrating Migration into the Post-2015 © Joe Lowry/IOM

Audio September 18, 2014

A discussion and release in Bangkok of an MPI-IOM issue brief examining the role of migration as a driver for development in Asia and how to integrate migration-related targets and indicators into the post-2015 development agenda. The issue brief highlights three areas that require specific attention: (1) fostering partnerships to promote development, (2) promoting and protecting migrants’ rights and well-being, and (3) reducing the costs and risks of human mobility.
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Video, Audio October 21, 2013

In this panel discussion at MPI, Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and former Founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, discussed the state of rights protection in Europe as well as his agency’s role in this evolving arena. The FRA’s goal is to promote understanding and secure fundamental rights in the European Union, and the discussion explored the organization’s work collecting and analyzing hard-to-find data, and its strategies for using this to combat discrimination against migrants and other minority populations. Other speakers focused on the evolution of the immigrant-rights movement in the United States, with comments by Lucas Guttentag, Founder and former National Director and Senior Advisor of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Becky Monroe, Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The speakers discussed shared challenges and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, a particularly relevant conversation in light of the loss of human life at Lampedusa and the deportation of a teenage Roma girl seeking asylum in France. The panel was moderated by MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix.

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Video August 13, 2014

MPI analysts and representatives from London and Detroit discuss the policies and strategies—at national and local levels—to attract immigrants into local economies and the challenges faced in doing so. The discussion focuses on two Transatlantic Council on Migration case studiesDetroit and London—as well as a report on giving cities and regions a voice in immigration policy, and the related Transatlantic Council statement Presenters address questions such as: How can national immigration policies be designed to be responsive to local human capital needs? What are the risks and opportunities associated with recruiting immigrants as a tool to reverse depopulation? How might “city visas” actually work in practice?
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Audio September 17, 2013

Diaspora engagement has become a key and accepted component in the arsenal of development strategies. The question of how to effectively and efficiently harness the force of a country’s diaspora through government intervention and policy remains one that many governments and international organizations must grapple with. Diaspora interventions tend to be organic and outside the confines of government and institutional structures. MPI’s edited volume, How Can Talent Abroad Induce Development at Home? Towards a Pragmatic Diaspora Agenda includes commentary from leading experts in the field. During this book launch discussion, volume editor Yevgeny Kuznetsov, a World Bank senior consultant and MPI nonresident fellow, discusses findings with Kathleen Newland, Director of MPI’s Migrants, Migration, and Development program; and Lev Freinkman, author of research in the volume and former World Bank senior economist. The discussion offers new insight into how governments and international organizations can effectively implement diaspora engagement strategies.
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Sara Prestianni

Audio, Webinars June 18, 2014

This MPI Europe telebriefing, releasing the brief Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum, examines Europe’s current reality with respect to migration and asylum and assesses the possibilities for future development of EU immigration policy. MPI Europe Director Elizabeth Collett and brief author Madeline Garlick, a former head of policy at UNHCR Brussels, discuss the tensions surrounding asylum, the European Council agenda-setting in this area for the 2014-2020 period, and more.
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Video, Audio April 5, 2013

The Mexican story on migration is changing – with net unauthorized migration from Mexico to the United States at a standstill. Additionally, the Mexican economy continues to grow and key “push” factors in Mexico, such as demographics and lack of job opportunity, are weakening. Mexico’s transition and growing role in the global economy will continue to evolve, reshaping its role as a country of large-scale emigration.

This discussion with Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Eduardo Medina Mora, focused on these changing dynamics in Mexico, and their implications for both Mexico and the United States.

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Video, Audio May 20, 2014

A discussion with findings from an ORSAM report that evaluates the effect of the Syrian refugee crisis on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as on the more than 3 million Syrians who have fled their homeland to become refugees in neighboring countries. The discussion focused on the social and economic impact of the refugees in Turkey, with remarks by the Director General of Turkey’s state-run relief agency, AFAD. He was joined by speakers for ORSAM, the Middle East Research Institute, and the Atlantic Council in a discussion moderated by Kathleen Newland, who leads the refugee protection work at MPI.
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Video, Audio May 23, 2012

During this MPI event on the role of national governments in immigrant integration, MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou leads a discussion on the complexities of managing effective immigrant immigration systems.

The discussion includes remarks and discussion from Rosario Farmhouse, High Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue in Portugal; Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Jasenko Selimovic, State Secretary to the Minister for Integration in Sweden; Peter Sylvester, Associate Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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IOM Asia Pacific

Audio May 8, 2014

During the last seven years, many governments in the Asia-Pacific region have been actively engaged in the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) not only as participants to the process but also as leaders driving its direction and continuity. To continue its success and to remain as relevant, the GFMD has to be as instrumental in shaping the reality on the ground as much as the global discourse on migration and development. This Bangkok discussion launches the MPI-International Organization for Migration issue brief, The Global Forum on Migration and Development: Perspectives from Asia and the Pacific, which explores the Asia-Pacific priorities for the GFMD 2014 and provides recommendations on how the GFMD can be a development-focused and results-oriented forum.
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Video, Audio February 27, 2012

The Migration Policy Institute has been active in the European immigration debate for nearly a decade. In recognition of MPI’s ever closer engagement with immigration policymakers and stakeholders in Europe, MPI Europe has been established in Brussels as a nonprofit research institute dedicated to the promotion of a better understanding of migration. This event marks MPI Europe’s official launch in Brussels.

MPI Europe hosts this panel discussion to explore what is driving societal discontent in Europe, the role immigration plays in this, and why there is a growing perception that immigrant integration efforts are failing. Panelists seek to answer some of the key questions posed at the most recent plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, a flagship initiative of the Migration Policy Institute, and reflect on some of the evidence produced for this meeting.

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Audio April 30, 2014

In advance of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) convening in Stockholm in May 2014, MPI hosted a conversation with H.E. Eva Åkerman Börje, Ambassador and Chair of the 2014 GFMD to discuss the forum’s agenda, policy areas that seem ripe for action, and what impact the GFMD discussions will have on the post-2015 development agenda. Also taking part in the call: Kathleen Newland, Director of MPI’s Migrants, Migration, and Development Program, and MPI Senior European Policy Fellow Gregory Maniatis.  
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Audio January 12, 2010

This panel conversation focused on the politics of citizenship and its evolving implications in Europe. Marc Morjé Howard, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University and author of The Politics of Citizenship in Europe joined Migration Policy Institute President Demetrios G. Papademetriou to discuss citizenship in various European countries and how policies impact integration efforts.

During the discussion, Howard speaks about both the similarities between European countries and their distinct national policies when it comes to defining citizenship. Howard and Papademetriou reiterate the continuing significance of national citizenship, and suggest that citizenship will continue to grow in importance as an integration tool in the future. 

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IOM Asia Pacific

Audio March 20, 2014

This MPI event, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), discusses the critical issue of climate-related displacement in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on the vulnerability of environmental migrants and how the international legal framework can better ensure their protection.

Video May 15, 2009

Once a narrow, largely placid legal backwater, citizenship has become a dynamic policy vehicle in Europe and North America for promoting the political incorporation of immigrants. This symposium examines immigrant civic and political participation, the notion of local voting rights for noncitizens, the concept and practice of dual citizenship, and the role of citizenship in integration. 

The first panel examines approaches to local voting rights across the Atlantic, and addressed how the EU and U.S. have approached the concept of dual citizenship. The second panel examines the role citizenship policy plays in achieving integration and how the increasing reality of “transnational” lives redefines how “integration” will be understood in the future. The third panel approaches citizenship policy from a comparative perspective.

Source: Migration Policy Ins

The Academic Engagement of Newly Arriving Somali Bantu Students in a U.S. Elementary School

This report examines the findings of a two-year ethnographic study of newly arrived Somali Bantu refugee students in a U.S. elementary school (K-6) in Chicago. The Somali Bantu had been displaced in refugee camps for more than 12 years, and the children had no prior exposure to formal schooling and limited literacy skills. Upon their resettlement, a number of school districts voiced concerns about meeting the mental health and social adjustment needs of Somali Bantu students and questioned whether local schools were equipped with suitable teaching strategies. The authors led a research team that carried out observations of select classrooms and interviews with school staff over a two-year period, before coding the resulting field notes to identify key themes and patterns.

These data paint a detailed picture of students’ behavioral and academic adjustment to school, which included disruptive behavior, refusal to participate in the learning process, hoarding of classroom materials, and expressions of distress. It also outlines teachers’ experiences with the children, who found working with the Somali Bantu children particularly challenging, and often reported feeling ill equipped to cope with their academic and behavioral issues.

This study illustrates the difficulties faced by refugee students with limited formal education (LFE) when adjusting to U.S. schools, and the pressures placed on teachers and other school staff. These findings, published for the first time in this report, extend the literature on the academic engagement of immigrants to this group of LFE refugee students. Many studies that focus on behavioral, cognitive, and personal engagement and their interconnections attribute disengagement to a lack of interest and suggest that behavioral incidents are the product of this disengagement. However, in this study, LFE refugee students were disengaged not because of lack of interest but because they were unfamiliar with the culture of schooling. This study also illustrates the need to provide schools with adequate support to successfully accommodate the needs of LFE refugee students.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. The Somali Bantu Refugees

III. Methods

A. The Sample

B. The School

C. Data Analysis

D. Theoretical Framework and Key Concepts

E. Study Limitations

IV. Findings: The Students

A. Behavioral Incidents

B. Engagement and Disengagment in Learning

V. Findings: The Teachers

A. Challenges Presented by the Bantu Students

B. Teacher Attitudes

C. Strategies for Teaching Bantu Students

VI. Discussion and Conclusions

A. Implications for Refugees’ Academic Engagement

B. The Politics of Accommodation

Source: Migration Policy Ins