Every day, organizations worldwide are engaged in a collective two steps forward, one step back march toward improved immigration services and policies. What hard-earned lessons are these nonprofits, and the foundations that support them, learning from their persistent efforts? This collection of evaluations, case studies, and lessons learned exposes and explores the nuances of effective collaboration, the value of coordinated messaging, the bedrock of ongoing advocacy efforts, and the vital importance of long-term and flexible funding.

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Facing an Impossible Choice: Experiences of Asylum Seekers in Matamoros and Reynosa Two Months into the Biden Asylum Ban

July 24, 2023

The National Immigration Project and Together & Free document their observations from trips to Matamoros and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico in June and July 2023, where they conducted interviews with asylum seekers, service providers, and advocates. The report calls on the Biden administration to end and rescind the Asylum Ban and to urgently make changes to the CBP One appointment system.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Improving Language Access in the U.S. Asylum System

May 25, 2023

The lack of adequate interpretation and translation services in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) proceedings can have devastating consequences for asylum-seekers. Yet under U.S. law, asylum-seekers with limited English proficiency (LEP) have a right to an interpreter and to translated materials while they navigate the asylum system. For more than 20 years, the federal government has required all federal agencies—including those that regularly come into contact with migrants and asylum-seekers—to provide meaningful language access to individuals with LEP. But the increasing diversity of languages spoken by migrants and asylum-seekers, a shortage of interpreters, and a lack of translated materials, among other factors, have led to a significant failure of the asylum system to ensure that everyone has access to information in a language they understand.This report is presented in four sections. The first section highlights the diversity of the languages spoken by migrants and asylum-seekers and describes how the arrival of more non-English speakers poses a new set of challenges to language access needs in the asylum system. The second section outlines the major challenges government agencies that regularly come into contact with migrants and asylum-seekers face in ensuring language access. The third section lays out the various ways in which the Biden administration has prioritized language access since taking office. Finally, the fourth section makes agency-specific recommendations that would allow DHS and DOJ to overcome challenges and ensure meaningful language access at every step of the asylum process. These agencies must implement solutions to protect asylum-seekers' right to due process.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

USA: Mandatory Use of CBP One Application Violates the Right to Seek Asylum

May 7, 2023

Title 42 is expected to end on May 11, 2023, in conjunction with the administration of US President Biden ending the national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), once Title 42 is terminated, asylum-seekers will be required to use the CBP One application to schedule a time to arrive at participating ports of entry along the southern border in order to present their asylum claims. Amnesty International considers that the mandatory use of CBP One as the exclusive manner of entry into the United States to seek international protection violates international human rights law.

“Like We Were Just Animals”: Pushbacks of People Seeking Protection from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina

May 3, 2023

Croatian border police regularly and often violently push back refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina without assessing their asylum requests or protection needs. When Croatian police carry out such pushbacks—broadly meaning official operations intended to physically prevent people from reaching, entering, or remaining in a territory and which either lack any screening for protection needs or employ summary screening—they do not contact authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to arrange for people's formal return. Border police frequently steal or destroy phones, money, identity documents, and other personal property and subject children and adults to humiliating, degrading, and at times explicitly racist treatment.Croatia's pushback practices violate the international prohibitions of torture and other ill treatment, collective expulsion, and return to risk of harm (refoulement). Pushbacks of children violate child rights norms. Croatia should immediately end pushbacks and other collective expulsions to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other EU countries, including Italy and Slovenia, should not seek to return people to Croatia until Croatian authorities end collective expulsions and ensure respect for the right to seek asylum. EU institutions should hold Croatia to its human rights obligations, including by providing concrete, verifiable information on steps taken to investigate human rights violations against refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Ukraine: Addressing Protection Risks During Wartime

April 11, 2023

Ukraine has for many years been both a transit and destination country for people fleeing persecution and violence in other parts of the world. In 2021, approximately 5,000 asylum seekers and refugees were seeking refuge in Ukraine or in transit to the EU. This new report from Right to Protection (R2P) and HIAS finds that while these displaced people are heterogeneous, they share common vulnerabilities. Having already fled other conflicts or persecution, they do not have a safe home country to return to, may lack documents or even nationality, and are often denied consistent access to legal status due to serious shortcomings in Ukraine's asylum law and practice.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Gender and Security in Lebanon During and Post-COVID-19: The Case of Migrant and Refugee Women

March 18, 2023

Lebanon continues to navigate the country's most devastating political, economic, and financial crisis in its post-independence history. The layered and intersectional implications of this crisis have been felt hardest by the country's most vulnerable and marginalized communities — predominantly the country's millions of refugees and migrants. Whether in the areas of social inequality, unemployment, statelessness, homelessness, or food insecurity, Lebanon's refugee and migrant communities have been struggling to attain basic human rights.This brief examines how these intersectional factors exacerbate the insecurity and inequalities experienced by migrant and refugee women in Lebanon. It also looks at how the country's economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are compounding matters for this vulnerable population. Finally, it offers recommendations for a comprehensive approach to combat gender inequalities that equips women in conflict settings with the health care and economic support they need.

Migrant Workers; Refugees & Asylum Seekers; Women

Spotlight on Local and Refugee-Led Efforts to Address Key Protection Needs: Lessons Learned in Three Key Regions

March 13, 2023

In 2022, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) undertook a geographic rapid assessment project to better understand the unmet legal needs and protection gaps faced by displaced people in three regions of the world: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia.This report synthesizes insights and recommendations gathered from interviews with refugee-led initiatives (RLI) and local organizations serving populations facing acute systemic legal rights violations, shares key trends impacting displaced populations in the three regions, and identifies opportunities for more productive and inclusive philanthropic engagement and international cooperation with historically excluded RLIs.

Migrant Caravans: A Deep Dive Into Mass Migration through Mexico and the Effects of Immigration Policy

March 2, 2023

U.S. immigration policy remains murky in substance as well as legislatively incomplete. Polarization of the issue by American politicians and legislators has resulted in both punitive and permissive policy pronouncements over the last four U.S. presidential administrations, most of which have done little to deter migrants from crossing through Mexico into the U.S. in search of a better life.This research paper reviews some of the implications of at least 30 migrant caravan iterations that were detected traversing Mexico en route to the U.S. from 2017 to 2022. The migrant caravan phenomenon is viewed from a broad perspective and distilled down to the individual iterations to assess commonalities between caravan waves and to determine which "push" and "pull" factors were in place when the caravans were formed and mobilized. The individual caravan iterations are also compared against permissive and punitive U.S. and Mexican immigration policies at the time to assess any discernable cause and effect.

Tracked: Stories at the Intersection of Migration, Technology, and Human Rights

December 15, 2022

Hundreds of millions of people cross borders every year. They are fleeing violence, escaping persecution, joining family, and pursuing jobs abroad. But whether they travel by land, air, or sea, these migrants encounter technologies designed to help governments manage who is coming to or passing through their countries. These technologies collect several types of migrant data.CSIS explored some of the technologies migrants encounter during their journeys as well as the human rights implications of their use. Analyzing what motivates governments to deploy technology, and how destination countries in Europe and North America influence that decision-making, is critical to understanding the implications of these decisions on migrant rights.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Tracked and Trapped: Experiences from ICE Digital Prisons

May 1, 2022

Over the last year, the Biden administration has rapidly expanded the socalled "Alternatives to Detention" (ATD) program of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Also known as the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), this electronic monitoring program now has more than 227,000 immigrants under constant surveillance as of April 2022, more than double the number enrolled in the program when President Biden took office. Though ISAP is pitched as an "alternative" to the inhumane and irreparable ICE detention system, it is not an alternative. Instead, the program expands the carceral reach of ICE and bolsters all forms of immigrant detention.This report highlights the excruciating toll that ICE electronic monitoring takes on immigrant communities, underscoring the need for a transformative shift in our approach to immigration. Despite ICE's claims to the contrary, digital prisons are physically inhibitive and harmful to health and wellbeing.

Information Nation: The Need for Improved Federal Civil Rights Data Collection

April 27, 2022

This report urges the Biden administration to prioritize and improve data collection, especially in regards to marginalized and vulnerable communities. It builds on our earlier reports documenting the broad attacks on data collection that took place under the Trump administration. It also grew out of our response to the Biden administration's efforts to improve federal data collection in its larger pursuit of racial equity in connection with Executive Order 13985. The order committed the administration to pursue a "comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality."  Our report underscores many of the recommendations in the report recently issued by the White House titled, "A Vision for Equitable Data: Recommendations from the Equitable Data Working Group." We also provide concrete examples and steps that can be taken by the Biden administration, including recommendations for the Office of Management and Budget and federal agencies to ensure stakeholder input at all stages of federal surveys and data collection; restore and expand the scope, frequency, and public accessibility of data; add much-needed data collections; increase disaggregation of data; improve cost-benefit analyses; and preserve data privacy.

The Urgency of Designating Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status

March 3, 2022

Cameroon is grappling with multiple humanitarian crises—including an armed conflict—that have increased insecurity, destabilized the nation, and caused its people immense suffering. Under existing immigration law, the U.S. secretary of homeland security is authorized to designate a country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if it meets certain conditions that temporarily preclude its nationals from returning safely. Deteriorating conditions in Cameroon along with ongoing humanitarian crises exacerbated by the pandemic make return dangerous and warrant immediate humanitarian protection for Cameroonians residing in the United States. Reports indicate that current U.S. asylum policies have failed to provide Cameroonians with due process when seeking asylum. As a result, many Cameroonians have suffered ill treatment and abuse in immigration detention, where they have faced discrimination because of their race, forcing many to return to a country where they may face grave harm and persecution.The Center for American Progress estimates that there are up to 40,000 noncitizen Cameroonians living in the United States—32,700 adults and 7,300 children—who could be made eligible for protection by a TPS designation. Given the worsening crisis in Cameroon, various Black immigrants' rights advocacy organizations such as Cameroon Advocacy Network, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and UndocuBlack Network—along with members of Congress—have been advocating to temporarily protect them from deportation. It is urgent that the U.S. government do so now and provide protection and stability for Cameroonian nationals living in the United States.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers