As European policymakers and advocates increasingly express interest in developing managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many refugees undertake when searching for protection, there is a pressing need to inform the debate with reliable and comprehensive data—both on how protection seekers currently enter Europe and how new pathways are likely to be used.
Yet as this report explains, it is “nearly impossible” at present to obtain a clear picture of how protection seekers enter Europe and what legal channels are available to them. Still, while incomplete, data from EURODAC, Eurostat, Frontex, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and national databases, suggest several important trends. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Greek government policies, taken to implement the March 2016 EU-Turkey agreement, have left thousands of men, women, and children trapped on Greece’s small islands in appalling circumstances. These policies seek to end the arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants to Greece by sea, but have left thousands suffering in harsh living conditions, deprived of services and medical care, and often experiencing deteriorating mental health. A number of asylum-seekers refer to their lives confined on the Greek islands as living in a “prison.”
This report examines the impact of the EU-Turkey agreement and the practices of Greek authorities in their handling of thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants. The report is based on findings from an RI mission to the islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samos in July 2017.
Though the EU-Turkey statement does not explicitly require it, Greece has put in place a containment policy on its Aegean islands with the aim of sending people back to Turkey: as a general matter, asylum-seekers and migrants arriving on these islands are not allowed to leave for the mainland. While the law allows for some people, including those identified as vulnerable to be allowed to leave for the mainland, flaws in the system meant to identify such people results in many people falling through the cracks. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, immigrants and immigration are at the forefront of the national conversation. Although much of the discussion has focused on national security and who should be able to live in the United States, a key aspect of the issue is what immigrants contribute to or cost this country. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) commissioned a panel of experts to examine this issue and released The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration (NAS 2016) summarizing what we know about this multifaceted topic. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As Europe faces its largest movement of refugees and migrants since World War II, the majority of refugees and migrants are reaching its borders by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While the majority of refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by crossing the sea between Turkey and Greece in 2015 and early 2016, the main route is currently between Libya and Italy. Whether they went to Libya to work or just as a place of transit on their way to safety and protection in Europe, migrants and refugees who have spent weeks, months or years in Libya face abuses that include arbitrary detention, torture, unlawful killings, rape, forced labor, kidnapping, and even slavery. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Still, as this report points out, the challenge is manageable—if the international community is able to get its response right. This report offers key principles for closing the humanitarian-development divide and practical guidance for designing effective compacts. The authors encourage policymakers and implementers alike to carefully consider these recommendations to ensure that humanitarian and development dollars have a real impact on the lives of refugees and host communities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
People who are trying to access the EU in search of safety and dignity are being routinely abused by abuseofficials in countries in the Western Balkans. State agents responsible for upholding fundamental rights are instead subjecting people to violence and intimidation and denying access to asylum procedures to those seeking international protection. Governments in the region must immediately end these violations and initiate processes to ensure safety and dignity for people on the move in their territories. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As the immediate pressures of the migration and refugee crisis in Europe have begun to abate, policymakers have refocused their energies on two goals: anticipating and preventing the next crisis and ensuring that newcomers—and the communities in which they settle—have the tools to thrive. These two objectives are deeply interdependent. Getting it right with these new arrivals is the linchpin on which all future asylum and immigration policies will be built, as this Transatlantic Council Statement explains. [Note: contains copyrighted material].