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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Pushing Back Protection: How Offshoring And Externalization Imperil The Right To Asylum

August 3, 2021

The 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Refugee Protocol created the framework for asylum law at a global level. Key to this framework is the principle of non-refoulement, which prevents countries from returning asylum seekers to places where they may face persecution or torture. Most nations, including affluent countries such as the United States, Australia, and European Union Member States, ratified these treaties, incorporating the core principle of non-refoulement into their domestic laws. However, in recent decades, with the goal of preventing asylum seekers and migrants from reaching their borders, these nations have chipped away at the principle, claiming compliance with legal obligations while in practice rendering safety elusive for refugees fleeing harm.These nations turned to two mechanisms to achieve their goals: offshoring or transferring asylum seekers to other nations for processing or detention under tenuous bilateral agreements; and/or externalization or interfering with the journey of asylum seekers and seeking to halt their arrival through pushbacks by public or private proxy entities.This report traces restrictions on the ability of vulnerable people to seek asylum across three continents in recent history and describes the deadly impact these policies have had on people seeking protection around the world. The U.S.-based authors of the report conclude with recommendations for the United States government to draw from these global lessons.

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

A Chance to Come Home: A Roadmap To Bring Home The Unjustly Deported

April 28, 2021

For decades, the U.S. immigration system has deported hundreds of thousands of individuals, permanently separating them from their families and destabilizing communities. In some cases, people were deported despite having strong legal grounds for remaining in the United States. In other cases, the U.S. government has repeatedly abused its considerable discretion to decide whether, and when, to order deportation. These deportations have disproportionately harmed Black and Brown immigrant communities. The government must begin the work of redressing these injustices.The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) issues this white paper in support of the growing call among communities in the United States and abroad for the Biden administration to establish a meaningful opportunity to return home for those who have been unjustly deported. NIJC provides concrete proposals for a centralized mechanism to consider post-deportation requests in an efficient yet individualized manner. Most importantly, the white paper underscores the urgency of these proposals for those long separated from their loved ones, longing to come home.

Ending Mandatory Detention

March 26, 2021

Each year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains over 100,000 immigrants, including people who have lived in the U.S. for decades, parents of U.S. citizens and individuals who come to the country seeking safety. ICE subjects people in detention to dangerous conditions and substandard medical care. Detention facilities are often located in rural, hard to reach areas, inaccessible to families and legal counsel. The unprecedented scale of immigration detention has been driven in large part by private prison companies that capture the lion's share of the over one billion dollars spent every year to lock up immigrants.This policy brief describes the harms and racial injustices that have resulted from U.S. laws requiring the detention of certain categories of individuals based on past involvement in the criminal legal systems, as well as recommendations for steps Congress can take to address these injustices.