Balancing Acts: Policy Frameworks for Migrant Return and Reintegration

Kathleen Newland & Brian Salant
Date of Publication: 
October, 2018
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

One of the most contentious practices in migration policy is the compulsory return of failed asylum seekers and other migrants to their countries of origin. How countries, including the United States, return migrants can have major implications both for local communities and for bilateral relations between countries, as destination and origin countries can be pursuing different agendas. Balancing Acts: Policy Frameworks for Migrant Return and Reintegration examines the type of returnees (solicited, voluntary, reluctant, pressured, obliged, forced) and the multiple policy frameworks involved (rule of law, humanitarian, development, reintegration, security, political). The brief looks at the scale of compulsory returns and the types of reintegration assistance available that can increase developmental benefits of large-scale returns and mitigate any deleterious affects on communities of origin. The authors note challenges such as the narrow scope, short time frames and structural issues present in current return practices. The international community addressed these challenges in the 2018 Global Compact for Migration: a compromise between countries on returns, readmission and reintegration. The Compact details concrete steps receiving countries can take to ease the burden on countries of origin. The brief stresses the importance of developing a system that is lawful, respectful of human rights, sustainable for reintegration, politically feasible and supportive of development and security. The authors explain that developing such a system requires communication, cooperation, compromise and flexibility among all stakeholders. (American Immigrant Policy Portal)

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Newland, K. & Salant, B. (2018.) Balancing Acts: Policy Frameworks for Migrant Return and Reintegration. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from