Last month the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School convened a meeting of experts on refugee law and policy to deliberate on, and to make concrete recommendations for, the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). You can find the Conclusions and an Explanatory Note here.
UNHCR's consultations on the Global Compact on Refugees are well underway. I am sharing below a copy of a statement I submitted for the October 17 Thematic Discussion, which included a panel discussion on "how can we support States to receive large numbers of refugees in a safe and dignified manner." I would invite and welcome (1) comments on the proposals for a Global Action Platform for Displaced Persons and enhanced mobility for refugees, and (2) other submissions, ideas, etc for the Consultations and Compact. UNHCR appears genuinely interested in innovative strategies and ideas, and it behooves the academic and policy communities to respond with realistic proposals that materially advance reform of the international refugee regime while remaining within the scope of the GCR.
Comments on the new UNHCR report on educational opportunities for refugees.
Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President for Government and Development at Mastercard, has published an interesting short piece on the World Economic Forum website. She joins the current new thinking supporting refugee self-reliance that benefits both refugees and hosting communities. In Nathan’s words: “A new model must create communities in which the forcibly displaced can become self-sufficient faster and can contribute to the economic growth of their host communities.”
On UN Day in 1959, Eleanor Roosevelt hosted a radio program honoring World Refugee Year. Her featured guests included Doris Day, Joseph Schildkraut and Gregory Peck. Mrs. Roosevelt called the situation of refugees in Europe "a blot on the conscience of all mankind."
The State Department has issued guidance regarding the admission of refugees following the Supreme Court's decision in the Trump Executive Order cases. The guidance includes the narrow interpretation of "bona fide relationship with a person" adopted for the visa ban provision (fiancés are in; grandparents are out).
The commentary on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Trump Executive Orders has largely focused on the part of the Orders that imposed the travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries. Less noticed has been the paragraphs at the end of the decision that discuss the Orders’ suspension of the refugee program.
Two items worth noting. First, the State Department has again begun processing for refugee admissions, despite President Trump's Executive Order putting the program on hold and capping admissions for the current fiscal year at 50,000. Second, the Federal Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit issued a scathing opinion affirming (nearly all parts of) a lower court's preliminary injunction against the revised Trump Order.
The idea of "international migration law" is not new, but it is receiving increased attention from a number of legal scholars. In some degree, they are responding to the domination of refugee law in discussions of international law relating to the movement of people. AJIL Unbound (the online edition of the American Journal of International Law) has recently published a "Symposium on Framing Global Migration Law," in which Jaya Ramji-Nogales has a piece well-worth reading: "Moving Beyond the Refugee Law Paradigm."