Panels and Workshops
Tanya Aberman, Vernetta Avril, York University; Amy Soberano, Access Alliance; Philip Ackerman, Ruth Damdar, Seneca College; Genevieve Ritchie, OISE/UT
Questioning Integration: Claiming Counterspaces Through Post-Secondary Education
With the increased displacement and movement of people around the world, the reification and fortification of external, as well as internal borders has contributed to the conditions of precarity that newcomers confront. Drawing on original research and innovative new tertiary education-based projects, this panel will interrogate ideals of inclusion by considering the exclusions and erasures that are engendered through accessing social rights, resettlement services, and education. We engage sites of advocacy and resistance around access to education as a way to think through the paradoxical relations of inclusion and exclusion set within the settler-colonialism of Canada. While the contradictions we highlight take different forms, they also offer possibilities to critically reflect on integration through a better understanding of intersecting systemic oppressions, collective mobilizations, and individual actions. There is much to be learned by understanding different forms of exclusion and the ways they have been successfully contested to offer community-lead promising practices within the university that support social change.
Md Mohsin Ali, ICA Bangladesh; Aziz Rahman, University of Manitoba; Adiba Fannana
Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh
Rohingya, according to the United Nations (UN), is one of the most persecuted ethnic minorities in the world. Since the 1970s, the Myanmar state has adopted apartheid policies against Rohingyas, and continued to violate human rights against Rohingya. The issue of Rohingya persecution and refugee exodus to Bangladesh has received a global attention in recent years because of the recent exodus of over 6000,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh, the death of over 6,000 Rohingyas, the burning of 500 Rohingya villages, and mass rapes of Rohingya women by Myanmar army. In August 2017, the UN declared the military atrocities against Rohingyas as the textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Very recently, the UN and some countries have considered the Myanmar state persecution as genocide. The recently discovered event of previously unreported mass graves in Rakhine State by the Associated Press investigation adds to the existing evidence to Rohingya ethnic cleansing and genocide.
More than one million Rohingyas are registered in government’s Rohingya registration program. While Bangladesh has been burdened with various problems, the Rohingya refugee problem has become a burning social, political, and security issue to make the situation worsen. The challenge is how to address the Rohingya problem in Bangladesh. The government has recently registered refugees to facilitate the repatriation of refugees to Myanmar. Because of the international pressure, the Myanmar government signed a protocol with the government of Bangladesh, but many issues regarding safety of the local condition back home and the lack of basic needs and rights in to-be-constructed transit camps, and the commitment to address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis have been left with uncertainty.
This panel is intended to have three speakers to critically discuss the complex and protracted Rohingya refugee problem in Bangladesh highlighting the socioeconomic issues facing refugees in camps, the global response to the Rohingya crisis, and the potential options for refugee protection.
Kelsey Baird, California State University San Marcos; Munira Abdulwasi, York University
Deconstructing Refugee Illness and Re-centering Refugees in Refugee Health Discourse
Currently the refugee health literature is concentrated primarily on the mental health of refugees (Patil, Maripuu, Hadley, & Sellen, 2011). This focus in the literature is influenced largely by factors related to the experience of refugees with both trauma in the home country and trauma brought on through the process of forced migration. This has culminated in an examination of how the “traumatized” refugee interacts with or fails to interact with the Western medical model of care, portrayed as a system of “refuge” (Le Espiritu, 2014). These dominant discourses of severe trauma and mental disability are themselves disabling because they result in a singular narrative “damage-centered” approach of refugee health, that paints refugees as individuals that are hopeless, destitute, and in need of aid to prevent and/or minimize the negative outcomes to their mental health (Le Espiritu, 2014).
By focusing exclusively on the mental and emotional trauma experienced by refugees, the literature in this area obfuscates other factors critical to the health of refugees, and the experience of disability such as their physical health (Patil, Maripuu, Hadley, & Sellen, 2011). This presentation seeks to examine this void in the literature and to disrupt the focus on the mental health of refugees continues to silence the voices of refugees living with other pressing chronic disability. The presenters aspire to do this by implementing a critical lens to examine how health and illness among refugees is currently depicted in the refugee health literature, aspiring to engage further discussion on this important topic.
John Brooks, John Carlaw, Edwar Dommar, Amna Masood, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University; Kerith Paul, Ryerson University; Rosa Solorzano, Denis Njoki, CCR Youth Network
Discussion Chair: Don Dippo, Faculty of Education, York University
Promoting Youth, Newcomer and Refugee Led Integration and Advocacy in Community and University Contexts
This panel, composed of York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, the World University Service of Canada (York U Keele Campus) and the Canadian Council for Refugees Youth Network will discuss their leadership and experience in engaging, encouraging and supporting youth engagement in refugee and newcomer issues and civic engagement. This panel will provide a space for student, youth, project staff, university and NGO perspectives to be shared on engaging and empowering youth to actively engage in refugee and newcomer issues with an eye to compiling and sharing lessons learned about youth and newcomer agency and how to support their educational, activist, advocacy and resettlement efforts.
John Carlaw, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University; Geraldina Polanco, McMaster University.; Graham Hudson, John Shields, Ryerson University
Competing Projects of (Im)migrant and Refugee Integration and Exclusion in Canada
In part responding to the CARFMS call for papers, titled “Interrogating Integration,” this panel is designed to gain knowledge of competing and complementary projects and strategies concerning (im)migration and societal belonging in Canada and answer the question of what sort(s) of integration and/or exclusion is on offer from these socio-political projects during a period of intense political and civil society contestation concerning (im)migration in Canada.
Through this discussion of nascent and competing projects of (im)migration and belonging it is hoped to identify both obstacles towards and opportunities to build a more inclusive (im)migration imagination and society in the Canadian context. Presentations will include projects and ideologies of both (im)migration from “above” and “below.” Cases include 1) modern Canadian neoconservatism at the federal level 2) the racialized, gendered, and classed workforce practices of temporary employment in the Canadian fast food sector in the North American context; as well as responses in the forms of projects of integration of 3) Sanctuary City movements and policies and 4) the Non-profit Migrant Settlement System in Canada.
Presenters are invited though not required to discuss, where applicable, parties and movements’ 1) dominant ideology(ies) and world view(s) concerning (im)migration and belonging; 2) social base and institutional resources, including core constituencies and allied civil society actors and 3) their primary scale(s) of operation, be it local, provincial, national and/or transnational.
Emerimana Christian, URISE Initiative for Africa; Mustafa Alio, Refugee Career Jumpstart Project; James Madhier, University of Toronto
Refugee Agency and Influence in Multiple Spheres
Participation refers to the way in which refugees and others forcibly displaced can participate meaningfully and exert influence in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Participation can be used to describe different situations, from a person being able to make informed decisions and fully participate in a local labour market, through to groups of refugees being able to access democratic institutions and political processes (e.g. being able to elect representatives or vote). In the context of the workshop, the focus of discussions is on 1- The impact of the refugee participation on hosting community and their contributions. 2- How refugees and others forcibly displaced can participate (act) and have agency (influence) in decision-making processes at different levels (local, national, regional, global) and in different kinds of spaces (e.g. government, NGOs, community, academia).
Christina, Clark-Kazak, University of Ottawa; Yuriko Cowper-Smith, University of Guelph; Julie Young, University of Lethridge; James Milner, Carleton University;
Resource people: Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University; Zein Al Moghraby, Journalists for Human Rights
Workshop: Public and media engagement on migration: Tips, tricks and pitfalls to avoid in the lead-up to 2019 Elections
Debates amongst politicians prior to the 2018 provincial elections in Ontario and Québec, as well as political messaging around the Global Compact on Migration contained worrying under-currents of xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. In some cases, these messages were reiterated in social media and press reports. Considering the conference theme of “interrogating integration”, this workshop brings together scholarly perspectives on public discourse in Canada, to focus on the ways in which political, popular and media discourse has real implications for the integration experiences of newcomers in Canada. Scholars, practitioners, journalists and activists will strategize on the ways and means to de-bunk erroneous populist messaging in the lead-up to Canada’s federal elections in 2019. This workshop will unpack this messaging and parse out common myths that are not based on empirical facts. Participants will work to identify strategies and practical steps to engage in public education that upholds the rights of people in situations of forced migration.
Dacia Douhaibi, York University
Workshop / Atelier
Methodological Challenges and Innovations in Forced Migration Research
This roundtable will critically examine the evolution of methodological approaches to research on forced migration. Participants will contribute to and discuss the research needs, data sources, and changing landscape of methodological approaches, considering the relationship between research and policy as well as the implications of different methods. Discussion will include critical discourse surrounding the rapidly changing technological environment in which refugees, researchers, and practitioners exist and whether increased access to data and improved methodological tools enables or constrains increased understanding.
Mohamed Duale, York University, Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER); Ahmed Ali, Abdullahi Yusuf Aden, Arte Dagane, Fatuma Jama, Ochan Leomoi, Okello Oyat, Dadaab, Kenya
Refugee Scholars in Dadaab: Graduate Study and Research in Displacement
Established in 1991, the Dadaab refugee camps are predominantly Somali, and located in Kenya’s mainly ethnic Somali Northeastern Province. Successive waves of refugees over the last 27 years have made these camps a space of refuge and home as well as a place of employment and residence for a sizeable Kenyan and expatriate community who work as humanitarian workers, educators, security, administrative, and domestic staff. This panel discussion by a group of refugee graduate students in Dadaab, Kenya, discusses the social organization of the Dadaab refugee camps, and the ways different categories of social citizenship come to shape the experiences of living in there, particularly in terms of place of residence, housing, mobility, access to protection, education, employment and support services. It will focus on the ways these categories reinforce and thwart a sense of community, and how refugees in Dadaab negotiate identity, belonging and the strictures of living in such camps.
Claire Ellis, Jona Zyfi, Ryerson University
Workshop / Atelier
Supporting Emerging Migration Scholars and Practitioners
This roundtable will bring together emerging and established scholars and practitioners to creatively address strategies that support emerging members of the migration studies community, and stimulate dialogue around the challenges and best practices for creating professional opportunities for those new to the field. Topics may include: current mentorship, publishing, and employment opportunities available to emerging scholars and practitioners; barriers hindering the inclusion of emerging scholars and practitioners in migration discourses,
policy development, and research innovations; inclusion strategies for networks and projects for emerging scholars and practitioners with lived experiences of forced migration; strategies to connect with stakeholders and/or established scholar-practitioners; and ideas about where the field of migration is headed in the next 10 years in terms of research needs, policymaker engagement, data requirements, and public outreach.
Erika Frydenlund, Old Dominion University; Michaela Hynie, York University; Susan McGrath, York University
Workshop / Atelier
Strengthening Integration Theories and Policies through Modeling & Simulation
Social science theory, including scholarly work on integration, has long suffered from difficulty in assessing generalizability from one context to the next. Qualitative studies that require significant time investment and local expertise are particularly costly and difficult to replicate in other contexts to test the application of theory to other places, spaces, and populations. Similarly, there are no practical means of testing policies before putting them in place or extending them to other communities. Modeling and Simulation provides a potential means to test the robustness and generalizability of integration theories, as well as experiment with scenarios to evaluate the potential unforeseen outcomes of policies before they are put into place. In this workshop, we discuss the ways that modeling and simulation can advance integration and forced migration theories and support policy development. In the workshop, we center the discussion on the work of Hynie, Korn, and Tao (2016) in “Social context and social integration for Government Assisted Refugees in Ontario Canada.” We work through this study to demonstrate how modeling and simulation thinking works in a social science context. The workshop will provide attendees with methodological skills to develop concept maps of their policies, practices, and theories to improve communication across disciplines with computer modeling and simulation experts to co-create knowledge. We will specifically work through the concerns that social scientists often have when working with computer simulationists, how these challenges can be surmounted, and what simulation has to offer in terms of grounding policy dialogues, helping large and small scale humanitarian organizations meet their long-term planning goals, and developing a methodology for strengthening integration and forced migration research.
Ranjith Kulatilake, York University; Rosemary Okoth, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention; Isaac Kalule, Kennedy House Youth Services
Safe in the ‘Safe Haven’? Listen to Us, LGBTIQ+ Newcomers, about Integration!
LGBTIQ+ newcomers include asylum seekers, refugee claimants, non-status people, convention refugees and permanent residents. In their home countries they have faced extreme torture, forced marriages, so called ‘corrective rape’, the death of their partners, public humiliation and death threats. They flee to Canada – the ‘safe haven’ – only to face additional daunting challenges: the extensive documentation required for refugee claims including proof of their sexual orientation, strict deadlines, language barriers, social isolation, transphobia, homophobia, racism, abject poverty, along with barriers to safe housing, employment, healthcare, and an intricate navigation of systems. They are expected to ‘integrate’ and be ‘grateful’ that Canada has given them ‘protection’. In this panel two young LGBTIQ+ newcomers and a racialized gay immigrant who works on the frontline with LGBTIQ+ newcomers, will share their lived experiences of integration. Questioning the mainstream notions of integration they will share their lived experiences of trauma, displacement and collective actions of reinventing their lives.
Zehra Melike Palta, University of Toronto
Workshop / Atelier
Photovoice as a method to explore the reflections of refugees on their lived experiences to bring about social change
Refugees are subjected to various discourses in Canada portraying them as “Other,” vulnerable, dependent and lacking agency (Olsen et al. 2014). This problem is acute as ‘’ every refugee is suspected to be an illegitimate asylum seeker…a ‘bogus’ refugee [and]… as a national threat (Olsen et.al, 2014, pp.63)” to Canada’s culture and economy (Olsen et.al, 2014). Since the public have little direct contact with refugees, their portrayal of refugees is shaped by dominant discourses and by the absence of opportunities that allow refugees to present themselves and their experiences (Harindranath, & Guedes Bailey, 2005). As the policies and resettlement programs aim to find strategies to integrate refugees, it is crucial to highlight refugees’ voices regarding their concerns and needs rather than imposing issues on them and trying to solve these issues without having them become “agents” and have a “voice” in the change. Photovoice (Wang, 1999), a community-based participatory research method, is an effective method as it not only deviates from the supposition of refugees being ‘’passive’’ by empowering them through co-building and disseminating knowledge, but also as Freire indicates that ‘’ through a collective process of reflection, introspection, and discussion of images, communities [will be] able to uncover the social and political constructions that maintain their marginalization (Freire,1972 as cited in Liebenberg, 2018, pp.3).’’ Hence, their critical consciousness will guide them in the last component of the photovoice method in which the researcher and the participants agree on the dissemination of findings that will highlight the issues and inform policymakers to bring about social change (Liebenberg, 2018). The proposed workshop will explain the photovoice method further in detail and its applications. Workshop participants will be given the chance to discuss certain photos related to integration using the SHOWeD method which asks the following questions ‘’ a) What do you see here? b)What is really happening here? c) How does this relate to our lives? d) Why does this concern, situation, or strength exist? e) How can we become empowered through our new understanding? f) And, what can we do (Wang, 1999 as cited in Liebenberg, 2018, pp.5 )?’’ This experience will allow the conference participants to understand how the data will be collected and how these questions will allow the research participants to “identify the problem or the asset, critically discuss the roots of the situation, and develop strategies for improving the situation (Wang, 1999,pp. 190).”
Liz Miller, Concordia University; Stéphanie Gasana; Ayanda Dube; Gracia Jalea, Ward Museum
Restorying Narratives of Displacement
Too often stories of forced migration or resettlement are told by those in positions of power. These stories are then translated into public opinions and policies that can lead to exclusion or exploitation rather than support or integration. One way to reflect on and challenge both policies and pathways to integration is through the creation and circulation of first-person stories. How can we facilitate creative processes to support the creation of first-person narratives that address refugee, indigenous and climate migration experiences? What is the role of first-person stories in shifting how do we define, support and measure the integration of refugees into communities? And how can we foster processes to think with first-person stories in the formation of policies, practices, and curricula? Mapping Memories, a multi-year project, I brought together Montreal-based educators, filmmakers, policy advocates, organizers, students, and youth to develop participatory media projects for youth with refugee experience.
Chizuru Nobe-Ghelani, Brenda Polar, Sangyoo Lee,York University; Anh Ngo, Wilfrid Laurier University
What does it mean to support the refugee integration on the stolen land?
This panel aims to centre the tensions and contradictions embedded in the discussion of Indigenous sovereignty and refugee integration in the context of white settler Canada. The key question this panel addresses is: What does it mean to support refugee integration on the stolen land? Drawing on Indigenous scholarship, critical race scholarship, critical multiculturalism, critical border scholarship and settler colonialism, the panelists reflect on the practice and research experience with refugee communities and examine how the inclusionary practices for refugee communities we promote are premised on Indigenous dispossession. Instead of proposing a clear direction for alliance between First Nations, Metis and Inuit people and refugees or “decolonization”, this panel acts as a conversational starter of difficult yet necessary topic that is often unattended in refugee studies.
Madeleine Annette Pattis, Galya Ben-Arieh, Northwestern University; Tina Magazzini, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Research, European University Institute; Maissam Nimer, Sabanci University, Neil Bilotta, McGill University
Co-organizers: Dina Taha, York University, Neil Bilotta, McGill University and Christina Clark-Kazak, University of Ottawa
Decolonizing Ethics: Politicized decision-making in labelling and categorization
Research with people in situations of forced migration poses particular ethical challenges to academic researchers and practitioners. The traditional ethical principles maintained by formal entities such as research ethics boards (e.g. REB) and scholarly discourse regarding “research ethics protocols” are not only limited in scope but in definition. For example, the underpinnings of research ethics protocols vary according to culture, social location, and positionality. This panel (1 of 2 proposed on this theme), will focus on power relations in decision-making around labelling and categorization. Contributors will like their presentations to over-riding concerns about: decolonizing academic knowledge production; power and privilege in academic knowledge production; the shifting roles and identities of the researcher; the socio-economic realities of partnership organizations; and data ownership/access, through an ethical lens or as ethical issues. A major objective is to strive for ethical paradigms that a drive for a more meaningful and egalitarian dialogue with and for people in situations of displacement.
Morgan Poteet, Giovanni Carranza, York University; Luis Carrillos, Hispanic Development Council, Toronto; Veronica Escobar, Ryerson University
Workshop / Atelier
Where are they now? How did they get there? Learning from the experiences of the children of Central American Refugees in Toronto
This study is a partnership between the Hispanic Development Council and Morgan Poteet. The purpose of the study is to explore lived experience for the children of Central American refugees in Ontario over time. We are interested in the obstacles that the children of Central American refugees face growing up in Ontario and in early adulthood and how they respond. We also focus on opportunities and achievements, aspirations, and identity and belonging including transnational attachments. Our research approach involves learning from the retrospective accounts of the children of Central American refugees in Ontario, who are now adults, to inform relevant policies and programming going forward. For this workshop, we will present preliminary findings and engage participants in a discussion about the implications of research for knowledge production about migrant populations and communities.
James C. Simeon, York University; Joseph Rikhof, University of Ottawa; Nancy Weisman, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada; Lorne Waldman, Lawyer; Panel Chairperson: Federal Court (Canada) Justice Russel Zinn
The Non-Integration and De-Integration of Migrants and Citizens
Recent history has shown that whenever there has been a mass migration movement, people have chosen Canada as a desirable place to settle and Canada, in turn, has welcomed them. From such upheavals after the Second Word War, primarily within and from Europe, to similar events after the uprisings in Hungary in the fifties and Czechoslovakia in the sixties, to the refugees coming from Chile and South-East Asia in the seventies to the more recent events involving the large scale Mediterranean Sea voyages and overland passages into Europe in the last few years, and still ongoing, to the very recent plight of the Rohingya people arriving in Bangladesh, Canada has seen the very visible representations of these terrible events that have resulted in these mass forced displacements.
The arrival of people within these mass migration movements has resulted in the overwhelming majority of the migrants being accepted as refugees, and, later as Canadian citizens. In the vast majority of cases, but, not in every instance, there have been the exceptions to the rule that represent the most difficult legal and moral questions. Within this context, two different groups can be readily identified.
The first group consists of persons who after their arrival have come to the attention of the Canadian authorities and because of their background in their home country or in Canada have become “undesirable,” usually because of serious criminality. At this point, their integration into Canadian society will be halted but, in some cases, the natural process of deporting them from Canada cannot be accomplished because of possible serious human rights violations in their country of origin. This stage of the hiatus in their integration process can be termed “initial integration failure” or “non-integration.”
Secondly, there is a later stage where integration becomes problematic, which can be termed “late integration failure” or “de-integration.” This stage occurs when a person, who has obtained permanent residence but not citizenship, engages in activities which result in deportation proceedings, and, in the case of persons who have obtained Canadian citizenship, but, lose their status either through voluntary renunciation or forced revocation.
This panel will examine the legal and policy aspects of both non-integration and de-integration as obstacles to the regular settlement and integration of migrants, from their arrival in Canada to obtaining their citizenship.
Matthew Stevens, Lessons Learned Simulations and Training
Workshop / Atelier
Exploring integration in countries of first asylum through simulation-based trainings
For people who cross international borders in search of safety, the struggle to integrate into new communities is a global constant. Humanitarian workers, conversely, live and work in an increasingly isolated “aidland”, having little contact with the people they serve and members of the host community. The flow of information from “beneficiary” to humanitarian breaks down; confusion, frustration, suspicion, and antipathy arise among both groups. These dynamics lead to ill-devised interventions which, at best, do not address the needs of the target population, and often can often be actively harmful with respect to integration.
A new approach to training can help break this cycle. Simulation-based training methodologies produce deeper understandings of situated knowledges, decision-making processes, and the emotional and moral stakes of response scenarios. Simulations encourage critical engagement, reflection on accepted norms, and provide “a safe space to fail” where new policies and practices can be explored.
Lessons Learned Simulations and Training is a new educational consulting group based out of Ottawa. Our educational programs are aimed at illustrating the effects of humanitarian isolationism and providing strategies to generate more direct, useful contact between humanitarian workers, refugees, donors, and local government. LLST employs a unique simulation-based methodology adapted from UNIGE professor Natasha Gill’s “IN-simulation” approach to conflict negotiation studies, modeling the social, political, and economic dynamics of an abstract humanitarian crisis.
The workshop will consist of a short introduction to simulation-based methodologies, followed by an interactive “micro-simulation” to demonstrate the learning experience.
Dina Taha, York University; Erin Goheen Glanville, Simon Fraser University; Galya Ben-Ariah, Northwestern University; Jess Notwell, Yuriko Cowper-Smith, Leah Levac
Co-organizers: Dina Taha, York University, Neil Bilotta, McGill University and Christina Clark-Kazak, University of Ottawa
Decolonizing Ethics: Critical reflections on research, power and privilege in forced migration scholarship
with people in situations of forced migration poses particular ethical
challenges to academic researchers and practitioners. The traditional ethical
principles maintained by formal entities such as research ethics boards (e.g.
REB) and scholarly discourse regarding “research ethics protocols” are not only
limited in scope but in definition. For example, the underpinnings of research
ethics protocols vary according to culture, social location, and positionality.
Thus, recognizing that: (a) the contemporary understanding and practice of
“research ethics” is a product of a Euro-centric/colonizing ideology; and (b)
research with forced migrants poses particular ethical and methodological
challenges arising from the unequal power relations between the researcher and
the researched, the criminalization of migration, extreme vulnerability and
politicized research contexts among others, we invite scholars to engage with
ethical questions beyond REBs and to reimagine the meaning of ethical research
and its implications. This panel provides some examples of ways in which
researchers have engaged methodologically with the ethics of doing research in
Kabir Abdulkareem, University of Kwazulu-Natal; Olayemi Bakre, Durban University of Technology
Addressing the skill shortages in the South African Health Industry: Exploring an integration of Syrian-Refugee medical professionals
Due to the multiplicity of migrant crisis, this paper focuses on skilled migrants within the Syrian health profession. Recent studies by the UNHCR has shown that a significant portion of such skilled migrants are currently unemployed, nor have they been able to put their skills to use. Considering the skills shortages in the South African health industry, this study thus explores the possibility of integrating the Syrian refugee (Health) professionals into the under-staffed South African health industry. In achieving this aim, textual analysis and review of audited documents in alignment with this papers theme were reviewed. The study emphasised that no assertive policies or stratagem have been enacted or devised by the South African government or non-governmental entities in integrating such refugees. Furtherance to this, no comprehensive documentations of migrants competence are been considered at the point of integration by the Department of Home Affairs; which on its own represents a missed opportunity. As an agendum to integrating skilled migrants regionally, nationally or locally, the study advocates a comprehensive compilation of migrant’s skills, competence and qualifications. Such useful data will not only be used for decisive policies but could also be used to integrate or relocate or mix-match skilled migrants to regions across the globe where their services are needful.
Tanya Aberman, Vernetta Avril, York University
Challenging Integration: Resistance through Education
Youth living with precarious immigration status face unique and often-insurmountable barriers to pursuing post-secondary education. This integration issue is widespread across the country, but it is overarchingly invisibilized, as these youth face frustration, despair and increased marginalization, becoming derailed from their goals and isolated from their peers due to their immigration status. However, persistent advocacy from affected youth and allies, as well as the allocation of one-time funding, enabled the creation of an access program for precarious status students in 2017, the first of it’s kind in Canada. As a key part of the development of this program, my work will focus on the counterspaces that the students are claiming within the university by resisting their exclusion and connecting with other students. This access to post-secondary education fuels students to challenge their marginalization by rearticulating the discourses about themselves, redefining integration and reinterpreting individualized challenges as systemic. While this post-secondary access is only available at one institution, there are increasingly discussion of expanding such initiatives across the country.
Jean Roger Abessolo Nguema, Université de Douala (Cameroun)/ Université de Montréal (Canada)
Une perspective critique et postcoloniale des réfugiés: étude sur les sessions du Tribunal Permanent des Peuples (TPP)
Le Tribunal Permanent des Peuples (TPP), crée en 1979, constitue un tribunal d’opinion. L’ objectif en est de “restaurer l’autorité des peuples lorsque les États et les organisations internationales ont échoué à protéger les droits des peuples”. A la suite de la session de Barcelone de juillet 2017 portant sur l’appel à l’examen de la politique anti-immigration adoptée par l’Union Européenne (UE) et les pays membres, la session de Paris s’est tenue les 4 et 5 janvier 2018. Le thème “violation des droits humains des personnes migrantes et réfugiés et son impunité” retenu semble élargir la question des populations autochtones à la question de migrations. Dans quelle mesure l’étude sur les sessions du TPP est-elle susceptible de suggérer une perspective critique et postcoloniales des réfugiés? En procédant à une mise en perspective de deux sessions du TPP (Barcelone et Paris), il s’agira de voir comment l’institution judiciaire (le tribunal) s’est ouverte à des enjeux, comme la sanction symbolique de l’UE et de la France à Paris, des acteurs (populations autochtones et réfugiés notamment) et lieux marginaux (à l’exemple de la Méditerranée), invisibles voire subalternes. Cela ne va pas sans luttes. L’accès de la question de migrations et celle des populations autochtones à des audiences multiples contribuera-t-elle à l’application extraterritoriale du droit de la migration? Cette étude pose en termes renouvelés le débat autour de l’intégration, au sens d’émergence des régimes de gouvernance mondiale progressiste.
Anisa Abeytia, East Los Angeles College/Stanford University
Active and Passive Integration in two Norwegian Cities, Mapping Syrian refugees’ access to socio-spatiality
Europe currently faces the challenge of integrating a large number of Syrian Muslim refugees into their societies, the outcome of which will hold significant social and political implications for European countries for decades to come. This exploratory study seeks to contribute to the literature on integration by utilizing space as a vector of social analysis to categorize the interactions between Syrian refugees, Norwegian locals and Non-Profit Organizations (NGOs) in two Norwegian cities.
The research identified access to socio-spatiality as an important aspect of a successful integration process and in Norway activities centered around dugnad (community service) provided inclusive spaces for meaningful interaction between locals and refugees despite linguistic, cultural and religious differences. The use of social media, particularly Facebook, often acted as a conduit for the creation of digital kommunar’s (community) and jama’iya (Syrian networks) as a means of self-integration by connecting refugees with locals, information and resources. However, it was real world interaction between locals, refugees and NGOs that provided opportunities for upward mobility by expanding socio-spatiality to promote integration through the establishment of networks outside of immigrant communities.
Healthy democracies necessitate processes that promote inclusiveness to reduce conflict that threaten democratic practices that serve to alienate and marginalize minority or majority groups. This study used both theoretical and empirical lenses to examine the integration programs occurring in two Norwegian cities, which may provide a framework and new context to understand integration.
Philip Ackerman, Ruth Damdar, Seneca College
Navigating the Divide
In the Canadian context, the settlement experiences of newcomer youth are often structured by marginalization and exclusion. Within this discussion, newcomers may include: convention refugees, refugee claimants, people in the process of obtaining permanent residence through Humanitarian and Compassionate ground applications or sponsorship applications, and non-status residents. I will take an intersectional approach to explore the ongoing and emerging barriers that newcomer youth encounter when navigating post-secondary education in Ontario, Canada, and how these barriers are perpetuated by exclusionary and contradictory ideologies and capitalist systems within the neo-liberal academy. The goal of this research is to uncover these disparities and gain a better understanding of how they intersect with the immigration status and newcomer experience of students. Overall, I hope to add meaningful context to conversations of access and inclusion at the post-secondary level, and ensure that diverse newcomer identities are present and valued within these conversations. This analysis will be greatly informed by the author’s own experience working at both a grassroots, community-based refugee centre in Toronto, as well as at a post-secondary institution.
Nafees Ahmad, South Asian University
Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Diversifying the Refugee Integration and Expanding the Grounds for Asylum beyond the Durable Solutions
The global refugee regime has been enduring redundancies with current trends of migration that is complex and incompatible with the existing frameworks. It is a regime that has been bracing perennial reluctance of continents and countries alike. The rejectionist governments of both Global North and Global South with varying degrees have been adopting hard-headed strategies of tough border controls, erecting border detention enclosures, interdiction, push-back border policies, discouraging economic migration and hasty return of illegal immigrants and striking grotty repatriation deals to pre-empt potential migrants not to leave their country of origin. Therefore, there is an emerging global realization to diversify the refugee integration, to expand the grounds for asylum beyond the hubris of contested durable solutions and address the international migration crisis as approbated by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) which acknowledges the normativity of human right to migration. The protection provisions, safety valves and migration commitments evolved in the GCM are global but many governments have precisely preferred to do the opposite that does not create an inspiring environment for a sensible global migration policy. Further, many governments perceive GCM is a humbuggery that suffers from toothlessness and legal vacuum. Thus, majority of the national governments are not ready for hard commitments on migration. However, strategies and practices framed to exclude forced migrants are somewhat well-integrated at the national and international level and their efficacy for systematic exclusion is partially reinforced by deliberate fragmentation of classifications of global migration. However, there is a well-integrated policy, though unwritten, of exclusion and restrictions on human mobility in the SAARC jurisdictions which is based on caste, culture, ethnicity, intolerance, race, religion, country of origin, political opinion, social origin, gender, LGBTQI orientation religion-driven policies and other incidental reasons causing irregular migration. However, the SAARC judiciaries have developed the refugee and migrant friendly constitutionalism and jurisprudence. But, unfortunately, the rejectionist governments of SAARC jurisdictions are recalcitrant in adhering to constitutional mandate, judicial dicta and international human rights obligations. Thus, the instant paper critically and cumulatively examines national laws, case law, state policies and state practices of SAARC region relating to the integration of refugees in the countries and communities while testing the boundaries of Global North and Global South governance regimes on international migration in the wake of GCM agreement. The paper analyses the post-colonial perspective of citizenship in South Asia in the wake of emergence of the far-right political narrative that rest on advancing the exclusion of refugees and migrants. The paper also highlights perennial conflict between the narratives of unity and diversity coxswained by the diverse political groups. It also evaluates the SAARC political boundaries for regional harmonization and synchronization of state laws, state practices and state case law in diversifying refugee integration and expanding the grounds of asylum beyond the conventional trajectory of durable solutions.
Sharry Aiken, Queen’s University
Detention Abolition for the “Hard” Cases
Both domestic and international legal norms and “soft law” guidelines have affirmed a commitment to ending the detention of children and are increasingly promoting “alternatives to detention” for asylum seekers and “ordinary” refugees. However, concerns about the use of preventive detention in the “public safety” context for migrants who are neither children nor refugees has not received adequate attention in these reform efforts. My paper proposes to address the case for detention abolition for the “hard” cases – the individuals who may be subject to exclusion or removal based on their alleged criminality or “risk” posed to Canada’s security. Building on the work of Costello (2015), I offer a critical analysis of the legal grounds in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that are deployed to justify detention in these hard cases; and interrogate the reasons typically advanced by border officials and adjudicators for continued detention. The overarching aim of the paper will be to deconstruct the policy discourse that renders the legitimacy of detention contingent on the presence of specific vulnerabilities and/or mobility pathway; and to reformulate the case for detention abolition as both a practical and reasonable policy response to the growing challenges of human mobilities in the decades ahead.
Marshia Akbar, York University; Gabrielle Désilets, Concordia University
The Significance of Local Knowledge and Practices in Refugee Settlement: A Neighborhood Initiative in Montreal, Canada
The numbers of refugees and their social characteristics significantly vary in different urban locations in Ontario and Quebec. These variations point towards the significance of local knowledge and practices in facilitating their settlement in cities which have distinct migration histories and policies. Funded by the ‘Building Migrant Resilience in Canadian Cities’ research partnership (SSHRC 2016-2021), this presentation builds on an analysis of the 2016 census to compare the trends in refugee migration and settlement in seven metropolitan areas: Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, Montreal, Sherbrooke, and Quebec City. This comparative analysis emphasizing the locational variations will be complemented by a case study of a local initiative to foster inclusive and welcoming neighbourhood for refugees and immigrants in Montreal. The project titled “Documenting the initiative Vivons nos quartiers” investigates stakeholders’ experience in developing inclusive practices, through training, partnership and communities of practice. This presentation will also provide preliminary findings from semi-structured and photovoice interviews to assess migrant’s and front-line workers’ perception of welcoming attitudes and practices in their neighbourhood.
Bree Akesson, Kearney Coupland, Wilfrid Laurier University
Seeking Safety, Finding Fear: Syrian Families’ Experiences of (Im)Mobility and the Implications for Children and Family Rights
Despite a shared history of taking in each other’s war-affected populations, the Government of Lebanon’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis has shifted from that of hospitality and protection to refusing to officially recognize displaced Syrians as refugees and imposing other restrictive policies that make everyday life a challenge for Syrian families. These actions have an impact upon the basic human rights of these families. Drawing upon data from research with 46 Syrian families, this presentation describes how Syrian family movement is restricted, identifies the multiple and interrelated factors that contribute to immobility, and explores how restricted mobility can compromise children, family, and human rights. The presentation concludes with a discussion about the intended and unintended consequences of policies and practices that impact the everyday lives of Syrian families. The impact of the arrival of a large number of Syrian refugees has reshaped Lebanon. The fact that Lebanon’s infrastructure is stretched thin should not be trivialized. One solution is the provision of services such as health care and education that are not just intended for Syrians, but also for local Lebanese children. Other policy implications include considering the design of refugee spaces that encourage healthy mobility, keeping in mind the importance of garnering the input of the children and families to they create spaces that are liveable and based on their own terms.
Bree, Akesson, Dena Badawi, Wilfrid Laurier University
“My Heart Feels Chained”: The Effects of Economic Precarity on Syrian Refugee Parents Living in Lebanon
Lebanon currently hosts over one million refugees from neighboring Syria. Within this context, Syrian families face high rates of poverty, burdensome governmental policies and regulations, a lack of affordable housing, food insecurity, and family violence and harmful cultural practices. Exacerbated by displacement, these vulnerabilities have a destabilizing effect on parents, who are struggling to meet their individual and families’ needs in a low-resource and inhospitable environment. This chapter explores how Syrian families’ integration into the local Lebanese host community, with a specific focus on how parents experience daily economic challenges that can significantly affect their ability to adequately care for their children. Data from 46 Syrian refugee families revealed that parents’ feelings of parental adequacy were tied to their ability to provide for their children. Lebanese policies that prevent successful integration and parents’ feelings of inadequacy contributed to an ongoing cycle of poverty for families. Increased stress upon family members manifested in negative mental/physical health consequences or family members not being able to work, thereby pushing families further into economic precarity.
Yukari Ando, Osaka University
Access to justice for asylum seekers in international law
The right to access to justice for asylum seekers is an increasingly significant area of the protection of international law in international society.
Regarding access to a court, the first question to be asked is whether there is a right of access to judicial review of a failed asylum seeker, when the application has been refused under normal administrative procedures? This question should be discussed in conjunction with the rights to due process and fair trial. However, these rights have not been interpreted so as to grant protection from forced removal or further access to judicial review for failed asylum seekers . Second question to be asked is whether there is a right to due process when the failed asylum seeker faces deportation to the country of origin or s/he is put into detention centre? Third question to be asked is whether there are any restrictions on the failed asylum seeker to communicate with the outsiders, particularly her/his attorney-at-law? In the author’s opinions, the courts should be an effective body to protect human rights for everybody not only the nationals but also all the persons whom in the territory such as non-nationals.
Sedef Arat-Koc, Ryerson University
First Do No Harm: Interrogating Western Foreign Policy, Decolonizing Refugee Studies
This paper proposes two analytical steps towards decolonization of refugee studies and dominant refugee discourses. One step is to identify and critique its Euro/West centrism. The other is to question and challenge the curious and conspicuous gap (which we may call a “parallax gap”) between refugee studies and study of international politics, specifically the impact of Western foreign policies around the world.
Regardless of the specific analytical perspective they are informed by (conservative, liberal or neo-Marxist) or the political position they may express (pro- or anti-refugee), refugee studies and discourses share a Euro/West centric outlook and concerns, focusing on nation-state specific arguments and concerns regarding whether to accept or reject entry to asylum seekers/refugees. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, the Euro/West centrism in refugee studies and discourse goes side by side with an academic and political blindness regarding the relationship between Western foreign policy and the factors that lead to refugee movements. The absence of such analysis has become especially conspicuous in the post-Cold War period. In this period, even though critical scholarship and discourse in refugee studies has to some extent addressed the impacts of economic globalization, they have not addressed the ways in which Western politics have been implicated in the wars and conflicts that have resulted in mass displacement. The paper argues that the absence of discussion on foreign policy in turn feeds the Euro/West centrism in refugee studies, perpetuating the dominant notion that refugee admission on the part of Western states is simply an act of charity –which may be extended or denied.
Ayar Ata, London South Bank University
Transnational migration, integration and identity
To understand the Kurdish diaspora in London requires answering two interrelated questions about the history of Kurdish forced migration and Kurdish cultural identity. Thus, this book first examines the history of Kurdish forced migration and displacement, exploring a common historical argument that positions the Kurds as powerless victims of WW1. To this end, it looks critically at the post-WW1 era and the development of the modern nation state in the Middle East, particularly Turkey, Iraq and Syria. This first part sets out the context for explaining and gaining a better understanding of the systematic socio-political marginalisation that led to the forced migration of the Kurds from the 1920s onwards.
Secondly, this book evaluates the integration experiences of some members of the Kurdish diaspora in London who have settled in the city since the 1990s. Furthermore, this part attempts to describe the shifting position of the Kurds from victims in the Middle East, following trends around ethnic integration, to their negotiations of multiculturalism in London. This capital city has historically held a promise and attraction for many migrants of becoming Londoners, and this now includes Kurdish-Londoners.
Idil Atak, Lorielle Giffin, Ryerson University
The human rights of forced migrants in Canada through the lens of the UN Treaty Bodies
This presentation is based on a critical analysis of the individual complaints made against Canada before three United Nations Treaty Bodies -Human Rights Committee, Committee against Torture and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women- from 2008 to 2018. Complaints were found using the ‘Treaty Bodies Search’ function available on the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner website. The vast majority of the complaints analysed were introduced by forced migrants challenging deportation orders against them. Some recent complaints also denounce Canada’s use of socioeconomic deterrents against undocumented migrants. Indeed, Canada has increasingly restricted refugees’ and undocumented migrants’ human rights over the past decade. However, it is argued that litigation before the three UN Committees has been instrumental in resisting some of these policies and decisions that impact negatively the life, safety and security of forced migrants. Against this backdrop, it is further held that the UN Committees’ role has been twofold: On the one hand, migrants’ integration in Canada, including their family ties, has been used successfully by lawyers and civil society organizations as a major argument when deportation orders and rights’ restrictions were challenged. On the other hand, the UN Committee decisions highlight the need to protect the human rights of forced migrants as an effective way to promote their successful integration in Canada.
Olayemi Bakre, Durban University of Technology
Transforming the European Migrant Crisis into Rural Developmental Opportunities: The case of Latvia
The European migrant crisis has been accentuated as the most momentous challenge the European Union has faced since its establishment in 1993. The magnitude of this migration crisis is been amplified by political instability in the middle east, wars, limited economic opportunities and climate change. Migration analyst have viewed this ‘polycrisis’ from an optimistic and pessimist perspective. The paper however pursues that of optimism and explores how the integration of skilled political migrants can be integrated into shrinking Latvian communities with an agendum to transforming the economically stagnated rural communities into viable rural spaces. The researcher interviewed 91 immigrants from nine countries to gain an insight into perception of political migrants amongst other variables. Furthermore, inductive and deductive approaches were used in synthesizing pertinent information from official records and reports on the above subject matter. A core emphasis of the paper was that – the shrinking population of Latvia will adversely impede its future economic development. Hence, the paper advocates a systematic integration of skilled political migrants into the Latvian rural economy as an agendum to accelerating rural development.
Ranu Basu, York University
Educational Integration in a Tri-City Context – Post-Colonial perspectives
What role does education play in thinking through questions of integration within the broader terrain of forced migration? How does the production of knowledge within state based institutional framings facilitate or negate the broader project of inclusionary democratic societies for those most marginalized by displacement? This paper explores policy trajectories in three state-based school systems (Toronto, Havana, Kolkata) related to settlement discourses and integration policies. The tri-city context, each experiencing histories of displacement in particular ways within post-colonial legacies, offers modes of governing the urban realm through educational initiatives. The success and challenges of a few of these initiatives will be explored.
Galya Ben-Arieh, Northwestern University; Jessica Darrow, University of Chicago
Long-Term Resettlement in Chicago: Reflections on Lessons Learned & Methods from a Pilot Study
Understanding the long-term outcomes of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program has been complicated by the lack of government data and difficulties of recruiting refugee study participants. Over the past 40 years, qualitative refugee resettlement studies of the impacts of the resettlement program have become limited by understandings informed by the five year focus of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act program review requirements and sets of questions that equate integration with economic “self-sufficiency.” More recently, scholars have sought to develop new quantitative methods to approximate long-term resettled refugee outcomes using census data. Such studies lack the contextual understandings needed to inform policy-making for a diverse resettled refugee population. This article provides a reflective analysis of the authors’ process in seeking to overcome the shortcomings of prior research through a longitudinal pilot study of long-term refugee resettlement in Chicago. The article has the dual purpose of offering lessons learned from the challenges the authors’ faced in implementing this research project as well as reflections from the authors on how these lessons have been incorporated into their ongoing practice. The pilot study itself was intended to test and hone a set of data collection instruments, one of which was designed by the authors and the other adapted by the authors from a previously validated instrument. Our experience and findings lead us to ask a set of questions about how else we can come to learn and know about long term resettlement.
Galya Ben-Arieh, Northwestern University
Modeling a University- Community knowledge commons in support of refugee and asylee well-being and potential
Our paper presents a pilot of a methodological approach to participatory research and engaged scholarship, the Knowledge Hub, a University- Community partnership where students, refugees and volunteers work together to create community resources and support adult refugee and asylee participants with career coaching, financial literacy, and mentorship. During the process of working together, we raise questions about survival strategies, long-term aspirations and priorities for higher education or certification and consider ways to shift from survival to investment in the future. The project developed out of a community wide workshop to address challenges and opportunities to support refugee and asylee adults who are experiencing housing instability in the Evanston neighborhood. Although the research is broadly defined around ways to shift from the short-term survival strategies to investment in future potential and well-being, research is modeled as a knowledge commons, a shared space of polycentric inquiry and knowing within a community who share a concern about a research subject (Garnett Jr. 2012). Participants share experience and expertise to contribute to questions and concepts that we should know more about such as “borrowing” and “social services” that are generally assumed in government refugee resettlement survey questions. Through the project, participants contribute to reimagining traditional ethical principles of consent, confidentiality, no harm…etc.) using their own ways of knowing. More broadly, the study seeks to inform policy makers and service providers and develop alternative approaches to resettlement that can better address ongoing cycles of poverty in the resettled refugee population through the attainment of higher education or certification and impact investing.
Amar Bhatia, York University
Interrogating Integration at the Intersection of Indigeneity and Migration. Some Perspectives
This panel will assess some of the concerns raised in scholarly literature around the intersection of Indigeneity and migration generally, as well as alongside the theme of interrogating ‘integration’. The scholarly debates arise from social movements and lived experiences that ground theory and also frame new experiences. The different speakers will reflect on these themes and the intersection (or lack thereof) between Indigeneity and migration in their own fields of: legal research & teaching in immigration, refugee, and property law; the practice of refugee law & transnational gender-based violence visited on colonized peoples and, especially, women; and the experiences of migrant workers and migrant work organizers on Indigenous lands and with Indigenous laws and peoples. All three speakers are working in these different and overlapping areas to highlight the relationship between Indigenous peoples, lands, and immigrant, refugee, migrant, and non-status peoples.
Neil Bilotta, McGill University
Decolonizing Research Ethics in Kakuma Refugee Camp
Situated in a postcolonial theoretical approach, this data-driven paper explores two commonly cited research ethics principles—respect for persons and beneficence—from the perspectives of refugee young people living in Kakuma refugee camp. The paper illustrates an incongruity between how these ethical codes are acknowledged in academic scholarship/research ethics boards and research participants in Kakuma. While privileging the perspectives of refugee young people and situating ethics at the centre of research, it became apparent that these research principles were Eurocentric in nature. Furthermore, this manuscript posits that researchers and research ethics boards should consider adopting a decolonizing process towards research ethics to potentially redress some of the incongruence. This paper attempts to create dialogue between researchers while (a) identifying the misalignment between research ethics protocols and participants in Kakuma and (b) initiating/continuing decolonizing practices that challenge the inherent power inequities between researchers and research participants, particularly in formerly colonized contexts.
Alexandra Blanchard, York University
More Than a Game? Exploring Sport’s Role in Refugee and Asylum-Seeker Settlement in Glasgow, Scotland
When we think of defining, supporting and/or appraising the integration of refugees into communities, exploring their participation in sport may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, there is a strong case for turning to the relationship between refugees and sport when seeking to understand experiences of refugee integration and social inclusion. This is due to the fact that sport is a key site for civic participation and is a space through which the politics of identity, belonging and citizenship are constantly negotiated. My thesis, ‘More than a Game? Exploring the Role of Sport’s in Refugee and Asylum-Seeker Settlement in Glasgow, Scotland’, critically reflects on the potential role sport interventions play in (re)producing inclusionary and/or exclusionary experiences for refugees and asylum-seekers throughout the settlement process. Specifically, it examines the experiences of 10 male refugee and asylum-seeking participants in a grassroots, community football club – United Glasgow FC. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in Glasgow, Scotland from May –August 2017, I suggest sporting arenas do offer promising potential for the facilitation of refugees and asylum-seeker settlement; however, the extent to which settlement is facilitated relies heavily on the conditions of the sport program itself and the local context.
Nimo Bokore, Carleton University
Emerging Voices Project: Syrian Newcomers’ Perspective on Canada’s Three Sponsorship Programs
This project funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Counsel (SSHRC) involved focus group discussions individual interviews with Syrian newcomers (N=164) in three key arrival cities in Ontario: London, Ottawa, and Toronto. This paper presents the findings from the Ottawa site (n=45) which includes the perspectives of service providers with a particular focus on the strengths and limitations of each sponsorship program and the contextual factors that shape the newcomers’ experiences in the three sponsorship programs. Policy and practice recommendations will focus on reducing the vulnerability and enhancing resilience to improve newcomers’ successful (re)settlement and quality of life. It will also address the role that volunteers from community organizations and the wider public had in the successful resettlement process of refugees belonging to each of the three categories.
Suzanne Bonfils, McGill University
China and the North Korean Refugee Crisis: State Sovereignty and the Dangers of ‘Strategic Ambivalence’
In recent years, a veritable North Korean refugee crisis has emerged. Since 1990, the number of North Korean migrants escaping the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has soared. Despite the fact that North Koreans often express a preference for South Korea as a host country, almost all defectors hide at some point in China, where more than 50,000 are currently living. However, China has generally avoided taking them in; this paper aims to explain and evaluate the impact of China’s decision, as well as the key role the country has had in the perpetuation of the crisis. This paper will explore 1) how the limitations of the international legal norms protecting North Korean defectors have allowed China to repeatedly deny them the status of “refugee”; 2) the various geopolitical factors behind the country’s unwillingness to provide significant aid to North Korean refugees, including, international norms, security concerns, and domestic pressures; and 3) the consequences of this decision in regards to both regional and international actors, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Gianluca Bortoletto, University of Birmingham
Asylum seekers and public expenditure in the host countries
Our paper will focus on the impact of asylum seekers inflows on the public expenditure in the European countries. We will separate the asylum seekers in five major groups corresponding to the geographical areas. The impact of asylum seekers on public expenditure will be assessed at country level and we will use data on the population growth, corruption and violence indicators as causes to induce inflows of refugees in the destination countries. Our findings show a not significant effect of asylum requests on the fiscal variables of the destination countries over the period 2003-15.
Megan Bradley, Merve Erdilmen, McGill University
Speaking of rights: Protection norms, rights-talk and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
In scholarship on the development, diffusion and implementation of international norms, international organizations are often assumed to be protagonists in these processes, persuading states to acknowledge and uphold established and emerging norms. Less is known about how and why IOs develop their own normative commitments, particularly when these aren’t formally mandated. We illuminate this issue through a detailed exploration of the evolving discourse, policies and programs of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), particularly in relation to humanitarian and human rights norms. We draw on interviews with IOM staff, member states, human rights advocates and humanitarians, as well as content and discourse analyses of IOM leaders’ speeches, press releases and policies, to explain how IOM evolved from having no formal protection mandate and an aversion to “rights-talk,” to the more systematic integration of human rights and humanitarian principles into its work, and recent efforts to claim an institutional protection mandate.
Rosa Solorzano, CCR Youth Network Core Group Co-chair & Denis Njoki, Toronto Branch Leader
The Newcomer Youth Civic Engagement Project: Activating Local Youth Network Branches of the Canadian Council for Refugees Youth Network
This project focuses on providing refugee and newcomer youth with the necessary skills and tools to engage and take leadership on issues of concern to them; increasing commitment and capacity of Canadian Council for Refugee (CCR) members and other NGOs to support newcomer youth engagement and leadership in a youth-led perspective; and strengthening and making sustainable the Canadian Council for Refugees National Youth Network.
The project is taking shape through the Local Youth Network Branches; hubs where newcomer youth develop their leadership skills and motivate other newcomer youth to get involved and together strategize around issues that newcomer youth are facing. Branches also facilitate youth engagement with organizations that serve newcomer youth in order to make their services more engaging and relevant to newcomer youth.
Presenters will share their projects in activating the Youth Network Branch in Toronto, Ontario and how it is connected to the larger national Youth Network.
Talatu Buba Bello, Taraba State University, Jalingo
Integration among the Michika Displaced Women in the Jalingo Metropolis, North Eastern Nigeria
Nigeria in recent time has experienced devastating security challenges caused by insurgency in the north east, religious conflicts, Fulani herdsmen and farmers clashes among others. These has resulted in loss of lives and properties and unprecedented humanitarian tragedy in the form internally displaced persons. The fast growing number, pattern and management of internal displacement in Nigeria has taken on a worrying intensity. While Integration process of the displaced population from the North east (Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe state) in the Jalingo metropolis is a herculean task before government and other stake holders, what is strikingly different is the integration process of the Michika women owing to their group life and special trading skills, these however are not without some challenges as they often face problems of suspicion and lack of mutual trust.
It is against this backdrop that this study attempts to examine integration process among the Michika displaced women in the study area.
Geoffrey Cameron, Baha’i Community of Canada, Office of Public Affairs
The Evolution of Private Sponsorship
This paper argues that the institutional framework of private refugee sponsorship emerged during the post-war period, as a product of negotiation between religious groups and officials in the Immigration Department. These
contingent, cooperative arrangements to resettle displaced people became path dependent over time, through an iterative series of negotiations between religious groups and officials during the 1950s and 1960s. By the time private sponsorship became recognized in law with the 1976 Immigration Act, it had already been in practice for almost three decades.
John Carlaw, York University
From Neoconservative Multiculturalism to Something Worse? The Devolving Approach of the Conservative Party of Canada to (Im)migration and Belonging in Canada Since 2016
In its relatively short time as a political party, both before and during its time in office (2008-2015) the Conservative Party of Canada and government embarked upon an often contradictory project of political outreach and policies of exclusion (one which this author has labelled one of Kenneyism and neoconservative multiculturalism) when it came to its treatment of (im)migrants, refugees and “ethnic Canadians” as it sought to win and maintain office and exercise power. In part due to public exhaustion with some of the government’s most exclusionary policies and political rhetoric the Conservatives were defeated in the 2015 election, although they still maintain a substantial level of support. This presentation considers the party’s discourses and policy stances since the 2015 election, including its 2017 leadership contest, vocal opposition to Motion M-103, 2018 policy convention and approach to refugee claims in the context of US President Donald Trump and rise of the far right in order to identify shifts in the Conservatives’ approach to questions of (im)migration and belonging in the Canadian context.
John Carlaw, Project Lead
Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, Edwar Dommar, York University
Building a Welcoming Campus and Engaging the Community on Refugee and Newcomer Issues at York University
Begun in Fall 2015 and ending in April 2019, the York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (SRRI) has led York’s participation in the Pan-GTA Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge to sponsor Syrian refugees, provided experiential learning opportunities for and helped mobilize and work with York students to promote awareness of refugee issues amongst themselves and the wider community, particularly through its Refugees Welcome Here! Campaign. This initiative has engaged at least 18 student groups in programming related to sponsorship and/or awareness-raising. These activities range from conducting winter clothing drives for a local refugee centre, carrying out full weeks of refugee-awareness raising events, to fundraising for sponsor teams and the university’s local WUSC Committee to help pay off and advocate for the end of refugee transportation loans. Of particular note have been a “From Adversity to Action” day of activities for newcomer youth and allies on Saturday, January 28th, 2017, co-hosting 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees Youth Network National Action Gathering with the Keele Campus WUSC Committee and local York branch of Amnesty International and annual participation on the City of Toronto’s Refugee Rights Month planning committee from 2016-2018. This joint presentation will provide staff and student perspectives on how this ambitious set of programming has been achieved and might be replicated elsewhere.
Wendy Chan, Simon Fraser University
Canada’s New Enemy – The non-resident pregnant woman
Citizenship rights by birth has been politicized in Canada, with some arguing that this will be the new frontlines of the battleground on immigration issues. There is much speculation as to the extent of the problem, and concomitantly, how best to resolve the “crisis” that is developing. Arguments for reforms to the Citizenship Act, specifically restricting access to citizenship for children born in Canada to non-residents and non-citizens, is based on the belief that “anchor babies” undermine Canada’s citizenship policies and takes advantage of Canadians’ generosity. On the other hand, those opposed to limiting citizenship claim that the number of citizenship by births overall are exaggerated, and the cost of policy changes is not warranted for a problem that is not deemed significant. This paper examines the panic of “birth tourism” by exploring how the issue of birthright citizenship has been constructed in the mainstream news media through a focus on the players involved, the language used to speak about the issue and the solutions proposed. I argue that the “panic” over citizenship rights by birth is marked by underlying themes of racism and xenophobia, reflecting prevailing anxieties about racialized outsiders (once again) threatening the fantasy of a White Canada.
Christina Clark-Kazak, University of Ottawa
Interrogating inter-generational relationships in integration policy and reality in Canada
This paper challenges the individual-focused nature of much of Canada’s immigration policy and situates newcomers within family, household and community structures. In particular, it uses the notion of social age to interrogate inter-generational relationships and how these relationships affect integration outcomes. The paper starts with a textual analysis of Canadian immigration policy to demonstrate how these intergenerational relationships are either absent or under-estimated in much of Canadian immigration policy. It then juxtaposes this policy context with empirical evidence from the secondary literature, which shows how intergenerational relationships affect integration outcomes across the generation spectrum. It concludes with some recommendations for policy and programming, as well as future research directions.
Gabriele Cloeters, Istanbul Policy Center (Sabanci University-Mercator Foundation Initiative)
Healthcare Access for Syrian Refugees in Turkey: A Gender-Sensitive Perspective
Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees. Their access to healthcare has been a primary concern for both state and non-state institutions. Half of the Syrian refugees are women. Their access to gender-specific healthcare provisions such as support in cases of gender-based violence and non-discriminative reproductive healthcare are crucial aspects that affect their wellbeing.
The paper will discuss the findings of a one-day workshop on healthcare access for Syrian refugees with a gender-sensitive perspective. The workshop was conducted with 19 participants comprising a broad variety of key stakeholders that facilitate Syrian refugees access to healthcare including Syrian and Turkish NGO members, independent public health experts and medical professionals. Primilary findings show that even if legal regulations ensure access to basic health services- the Law on Foreigners and Refugees released in 2014 outlines the details regarding Syrian refugees’ access to healthcare- language limitations, mobility restrictions, and discrimination against Syrians are key factors influencing their access. Evaluating the data collected during the workshop this paper discusses institutional, structural, and societal problems to accessing healthcare, initiatives that facilitate access, continuing or emergent problems in the healthcare system, and the implications for Syrian refugee women.
The workshop findings will be evaluated to make concrete recommendations toward establishing guidelines that facilitate refugee women’s access to healthcare and to contribute to broader discussions on gender-sensitive approaches regarding refugees inclusion in healthcare systems.
Bruno Dupeyron, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
“Protecting” without a Protection Mandate: the International Organization for Migration’s Business with Refugees and Forced Migrants in South America
Since 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has presented itself as “the UN Migration Agency”, following an agreement with the United Nations that mainly provides rights to IOM’s staff as a “related organization to the UN”, and reinforces cooperation between the IOM and the UN system. The “protection of human rights”, coupled with the topic of origin-country development, is central to IOM’s discourse, which is often conveyed through periodic migration data and publications.
Although the IOM has no legal protection mandate, the IOM’s management of refugees and forced migrants is common practice. Focusing on IOM’s Regional Office for South America, which is understudied in IOM’s literature, the role of the IOM appears to be increasingly salient, due to IOM’s persistent work with refugees and forced migrants, originating from South American countries or from other continents.
This paper will analyze how IOM’s discourse, policies and practices, executed without a proper mandate, are perceived by IOM’s stakeholders. First, this lack of legal protection mandate is not problematic for nation-states that often reproduce IOM’s discourse and praise its humanitarian work. Yet, other actors, in particular civil society organizations, human rights organizations and scholars critically assess this role, since the IOM has been found undermining refugee protection in several cases.
Thea Enns, Luann Good Gingrich, York University
Relationships of “Mutual Transformation”? A Case Study of Mennonite Central Committee and the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program
This article explores the contrived and unusual relationships of private sponsorship within church-based constituent groups (CGs) of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Data obtained from focus groups with (largely) Mennonite CGs, and interviews with respective sponsored newcomers, informs the analysis of this paper. Building off MCC’s focus to encourage “mutually transformative relationships”, this paper aims to understand how roles and relationships develop and change, the challenge of shifting utilitarian roles into relationships of mutuality, and how sponsorship as a partnership might prove most effective at promoting the dignity of refugee newcomers.
Mariam Eskander, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals
Syrian Refugees’ Access to Education in Egypt & Lebanon: An Analysis of the Effect of Identity Construction and Public Discourse on Integration
I attempt to understand why Syrian refugees in both Egypt and Lebanon are still unable to enroll their children in the public education system of either of those two host countries; despite the fact that both governments have introduced accommodating policies that directly address the needs of the Syrian refugee population. Even though Egypt and Lebanon have completely different historical and political experiences with the state of Syria and Syrians themselves. Therefore, I argue that the way in which identities are constructed in these two host countries as well as the way the media portrays the presence of Syrians in both Egypt and Lebanon provide an explanation for the low enrollment rates. I intend to explain how these two factors influence the school enrollment rates through and interplay of the constructivism and the social identity theory; where identity construction forms real and imaginary boundaries that mediate interactions between different social groups. Besides the way one constructs their identity, media plays a complementary role where it helps shaping a certain perspective of Syrians in the eyes of their host society. All that makes education inaccessible ; establishing that policies are not the only important factor the creates a successful integration process.
Maya Fennig, McGill University
Beyond Voluntary Return: A critical ethnographic study of refugees who departed Israel ‘voluntarily’
Against a global backdrop of anti-refugee discourse, governments are increasingly paying refugees to repatriate. This critical ethnographic study explores the lived experiences of refugees who participated in Israel’s Voluntary Return program. The data were derived from in-depth interviews with refugees who had departed Israel. Participants highlighted the various exile-related stressors that led them to choose to leave and reflected on the ambiguity inherent in the term ‘voluntary’. Post-departure, participants continued to experience significant psychological distress. In light of popular perceptions that repatriation is an optimal solution to refugees’ displacement, the implications of these findings for interventions and policies are considered.
Erika Frydenlund, Old Dominion University
What would a computational model of refugee integration look like? A workshop on conceptual and computer modeling and simulation
Computational modeling and simulation present new opportunities for thinking through pressing social science issues, generating new insights from existing theory, and serving as a tool to communicate with policymakers and other stakeholders. This workshop builds from a conceptual model of refugee integration derived from fieldwork and theory development and qualitative research by forced migration scholars. We will present the model and discuss its representation of refugee integration. Two modelers and two forced migration scholars, on whose work the model is based will facilitate. We will then solicit input from the participants to develop and refine the model based on theory, quantitative data, and other empirical observations. We hope to shed light on
the model development process, discuss modeling paradigms available to them, direct them to resources for further learning, and provide insights on how (and when) to pursue modeling projects related to their own topics of interest.
Erin Goheen Glanville, Simon Fraser University
Beyond feedback and collaboration: Reworking the ethics of community-engaged critical refugee studies
This paper draws on my current knowledge mobilization project, Worn Words, which is creating multi-voiced digital stories that renarrate ordinary words in refugee discourse. The project is an experimental praxis, turning critical refugee studies into educational media that resists humanitarian and nationalist frames for refugee cultures but in an invitational and winsome way. As a community-engaged refugee studies scholar, I have journeyed through different understandings of ethical engagement: from consultation, to collaboration, and now to partnership, which I define as respecting one another’s institutional and social constraints and offering one another what we can in pursuit of, sometimes, divergent goals. My current understanding of ethical engagement has emerged from this process of partnered digital research creation.
Luin Goldring, York University; Patricia Landolt, University of Toronto
Histories, mobilities and differential inclusion
This paper considers the relationship between colonial legacies and processes of migrant/refugee inclusion. We consider Canada’s relationship to the Caribbean and Latin America to frame Canadian migration and refugee policies toward people on the move from these regions. Using selected data from a survey of respondents born in the Caribbean and Latin America living in the GTA, we argue that colonial legacies have a long-term impact as they shape legal status trajectories and differential inclusion.
Paola Gomez, SickMuse
Sick Muse Art Projects. Our world of a thousand colours
Sick muse art projects works with community partners to create spaces for emerging artists from equity seeking groups to showcase their work, to access opportunities for professional development and to engage communities in meaningful, hands-on, high quality arts education integrated with issues of social justice. Our world of a thousand colours is a 12-week art program for children. We bring our art groups to shelters and transitional houses in Toronto. Most recently, this program was offered at the Toronto hotels for newly arrived Syrian refugees and other refugee claimants.
Odessa Gonzalez Benson, University of Michigan
From policy irrelevant research to a return to relevance: An ‘active’ approach to forced migration research
In a seminal piece, Oliver Bakewell (2008) calls for policy irrelevant research into forced migration. Research that privileges the worldviews of forced migrants, rather than those of policymakers and practitioners, holds promise for moving beyond the boxed-in categories and evidence-based knowledge and priorities of policy. Indeed, there is much insight gained in examining and understanding the experiences of forced migrants at the shadows of policy and practice domains, and the consequences as well as alternatives brought to bear.
This paper aims to trace that logic further, and unpack the denouement. Policy irrelevant research seeks to “challenge ‘practical knowledge’ that is taken for granted” (Bakewell, 2008, 432), and this paper inquires into the politics and the imperatives, both ethical and practical, that arise after such challenge.
For that inquiry and reflection, this paper draws upon research on organizations run by and for resettled refugees in the United States. Specifically, analyses use two studies: a case study with 40 interviews with organizational leaders in 35 U.S. cities and a place-based study of six organizations in one city. Largely excluded from policy-practice processes, conversations and resources, these refugee-run organizations have much to say about what happens beyond the confines of policy. They reveal the underbelly of U.S. refugee policy, the human consequences of work-centered policy and the devolution of social responsibilities from formally-constituted, state-funded organizations unto resettled refugee communities and their organizations. And these revelations carry policy implications.
This paper interrogates how the scholarly endeavor of challenging assumptions and raising critical perspectives drawn from forced migrants’ voices, in turn, yields implications for policy. To get here, research moves beyond categories and asks new questions as deconstructive approach; but going from here entails another role for forced migration research, an ‘active’ approach that involves translation and application. The now-problematized categories demand not only visibility but engagement; and the voiced insights, because they point to material consequences, warrant not only understandability but action, particularly in the current moments of policy retraction and heightened precarity for forced migrants. Herein lies the tensions between scholarly and practical impact, and the challenges of bridging forced migration research to policy and practice. At this juncture of forced migration research, policy irrelevant research seeks to make itself relevant.
Odessa Gonzalez Benson, Annie Taccolini Panaggio, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
‘Work is worship’: Diminished, deindividualized and valuation of economic integration as U.S. resettlement policy goal
Workfare, the conditioning of public assistance on work, was first institutionalized into US policy via refugee resettlement policy, thus laying groundwork for the 1996 welfare reforms. Refugee scholars have examined how implementing agents respond to the mandates of workfare, as sole measure of integration as policy outcome. What is less examined is the ensuing significance upon refugees. Drawing from perspectives of refugee communities, this study examines how ‘self-sufficiency’ or economic integration as resettlement policy goal manifests at the end of the policy line, using 40 interviews and four focus groups with organizational leaders and worker-volunteers of a refugee community as case study. We argue that diminution of self-sufficiency into ‘job placement’ reflects the work-first, time-limited focus, while de- individualization conveys neglect for individual circumstances. Finally, we argue that the implementation of self-sufficiency as a policy goal, even as it is diminished and de- individualized, manifests with valuation, denoting how acts of implementation carry value-laden expressions that idealize the refugee-worker.
Luann Good Gingrich, York University
An epistemic reflexive examination of social inclusion
Definitions and measures of integration for refugees in Global North societies often presume a binary relationship between exclusion and inclusion, choice and force, and apply an individual categorical point of view to evaluate success and entitlement. Consequently, policies, services and measurement tools that are geared toward common notions of “inclusion” or “integration” for newcomers are predicated on precise goals for “them” and beliefs about “us” that work, ironically, to reproduce and reinforce existing relations of soft domination and dynamics of social exclusion. Such ideals are expressed in official schemes of classification and are implemented as a moral imperative. As a result, “inclusion” or “integration” for many newcomers, such as Syrian refugee youth or Mennonite women from Mexico, requires conformity and compliance, in all sorts of subtle and more obvious ways. Yet such imperatives are not readily apparent to those who hold a title – such as teacher, social worker, health practitioner, or researcher – because the necessary habitus, or disposition, for those who have been officially nominated makes “a world of common sense, a world that seems self-evident” (Bourdieu, 1989, p. 19).
Drawing on 15 years of theoretical and empirical research, including qualitative research with diverse migrant populations and secondary data analysis of national datasets, I propose an epistemic reflexive approach (Bourdieu) to theorizing and measuring the dynamic processes and outcomes of social exclusion. I adopt a research paradigm, or worldview, that aims to transcend common binaries of thought, to see beyond methodological individualism and assumptions of autopoiesis (Haraway) that posit social systems as inevitable and self-constructing, limiting us to static outcome measures and personal change interventions; beyond the ideological imperialism that becomes necessary when the terms of inclusion or integration are defined by those on the “inside”.
Angelica Hasbon, York University
HISTORICALLY SPANISH: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and the changing nature of Suspect Communities vis-à-vis racialization mechanisms
Current discourses depicting Muslims as suspect communities across the European context are not new. Instead, these come from a long-term historical construction that has gone hand in hand with and has been fed from the same source as anti-Semitism. This paper argues that shifting patterns of racialized discrimination, which previously constructed Jews as suspects in Europe, continue to establish Muslims in parallel ways. Moreover, that racist rhetoric found in current security policies, has been naturalized through discourses and policies that produced internal boundaries fixed within progressionist narratives. In this investigation, Spain is used as a crucial site due to its unique historical construction of race and practices of racial discrimination that were used for its empire building and colonization.
Graham Hudson, Ryerson University
Conflict, Cooperation, and “Sanctuary City” Policies in Canada
The sanctuary city movement is a transnational response to increased numbers of non-status status migrants living and working in global cities. Following the lead of American cities, municipal governments in Canada have played a role by promulgating ordinances aimed at providing access to select services and limiting local cooperation with federal authorities. At their most ambitious, these policies challenge exclusionary federal laws and even the exclusive authority of the federal government to govern the border. But unlike their American counterparts, Canadian cities have actively avoided engaging in disputes over jurisdiction, with some City Councils going so far as to refer to their policies as “purely symbolic”. This cautionary if not conciliatory approach fits neatly into the Canadian tradition of cooperative federalism, raising serious doubts about the normative and material impact of sanctuary policies.
This presentation will provide an overview of a four-year (2018-2022) socio-legal study on sanctuary city policies in Canada. As the project is in its initial stages, the presentation will be exploratory, surveying the conceptual relationships between sanctuary and jurisdiction i.e. conflict over the authority to govern. The presentation will be framed around the question of whether cooperation between local and federal authorities is conducive to progressive change, or, whether local actors should pursue more aggressive policies aimed at contesting settled assumptions about the governance of migration?
Ishrat Husain, National Law University, Assam
Refugees in the UK
A boon in undivided India has become a curse in divided India. Tea cultivation in a big scale started in Assam in the 1860s. To work in the tea gardens, the British needed labourers. It is then that the British started encouraging hard-working Bengali Hindu and Muslims farmers from East Bengal to migrate to Assam and settle down as cultivators. The East Bengal farmers also started growing rice and vegetables and food production in Assam started growing. During those days, the Assames speaking population of the Assam not only did not resent the coming of the East Bengal farmers but welcomed them.
The situation started changing after 1930s. The population of Assam was also increasing and they too needed land. Conflict of interest started between local Assamese and the immigrant cultivators and later as doctor, lawyers and engineers started coming out of the immigrant families. The old attitude of welcoming the farmers changed into one of the hostility.
Taking advantage of this conflict, the communal forces started to work and the said conflict transformed in communalism and it all became anti-Muslims. By now the threat perception of the Assamese changed. They saw the main danger to them coming from the Bengali Muslims rather than from the Bengali Hindus. Shortly after independence in 1947, the riots took place in 1948, 1955, and 1960 and during the five-year long “anti- foreigner movement of 1979-85”. Though the perception had already been hijacked by a few political parties but present ruling party seems to be very bold to deal with the problem but without any solution. Any attempt at en masse eviction of so many million people will throw the entire region into turmoil and violence with unforeseen political consequence for the country and would be a serious issue of human rights violation. These people will become Stateless. They will lose citizenship rights which include the voting rights and all other basic rights
Four million permanent residents of Assam have been excluded from the draft publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam on July 30, 2018. Those excluded have been given time until August 28, 2018 to apply again with necessary documents which include , inter alia, the proof that the applicant’s forefathers had been permanent residents of Assam- a condition very few can fulfill. Production of birth certificate is mandatory. But the fact is that birth registration became mandatory in Assam after 1969, when the Registration of Birth and Death Act came into force. Those born before 1969 have no birth certificate.
What will happen to NRC is a matter of time but for too long, the perceived problem of Bangla migrants has forced the minority Muslims of Assam to live under a cloud of suspicion. On this issue, Banladesh has categorically stated that no citizen of their country is illegally living in India and they will not take back anyone branded as Bangladeshi and sought to be deported to Bangladesh. In a way, their deportation is not possible and it is well known to all who are showing interest in the matter. So the next best course may be to allow them to stay but deprive them of their citizenship and voting rights.
Jennifer Hyndman, York University
The practical politics of “both/and” private sponsorship: Why BVORs cannot replace PSRs
During the spring and summer of 2018, a number of pro-refugee organizations, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ottawa, Amnesty International (Canada) and representatives of the Canadian Government, promoted the sponsorship of refugees from the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) category tacitly over privately-sponsored refugees because of unused sponsorship spaces allocated by the Government. The characteristics of these two streams are enumerated, but the main differences lie in 1) the BVOR sponsorships are cost-shared, so are 50% less money to support for one year for sponsorship groups; and 2) sponsors may not name any specific refugees they would like to sponsor; rather UNHCR makes the referral to Canada of people who have been screened and approved. The framing of BVORs vs. PSRs is unsettling, since Canada needs both. Based on interviews with sponsors from two projects and ethnographic research with sponsorship agreement holders, the practical politics of private sponsorship are explored.
Nicole Ives, Amal Elsana -Alhjooj, Hend Alqawasma, Lyn Morland, McGill University
Promoting the social inclusion of young refugee children and their families: Interventions from Canada, Israel, and the United States
Many countries today are urgently searching for effective ways to support the long-term integration of refugees into local communities and are looking beyond economic self-sufficiency to neglected facets of integration, such as social inclusion. This panel presents interventions aimed at promoting the social inclusion of refugee children, from early childhood through adolescence, across different contexts in Canada, Israel, and the United States. Researchers will share new findings as they relate to fostering social inclusion for refugee children and their families, and will discuss the implications for policy, programming, and practice in countries of resettlement.
Jay Johnson, UCLA
Urban Politics and Refugee Reception Offices: Contesting Integration and Constructing Social Boundaries through Litigation in South African Cities
The majority of asylum seekers and refugees currently reside in cities, particularly in the Global South. However, conceptual and policy models on integration often focus on international law and national policies, while overlooking the role that urban actors may play in shaping boundaries of inclusion and exclusion. When the city is incorporated in discussions on integration, there is often a focus on political movements either broadly in favor of asylum seekers and refugees (e.g., sanctuary movements and cities), or against these populations (e.g., xenophobic riots and local populist politicians). I argue that litigation over Refugee Reception Offices (RROs) in South African cities presents an alternative case, where urban actors respond to more contingent, ambivalent, and localized conditions in particular urban spaces. Specifically, I look at how local actors use litigation – for example, local businesses using municipal zoning and nuisance laws to close down state-run RROs and NGOs appealing to provincial courts to have these offices re-opened – to define and structure social boundaries in the city. Through an analysis of stakeholder interviews, field observations, and legal case records, I argue that while broader narratives of human rights and national citizenship and identity remain central to integration policies and practices, local politics over particular urban spaces, property, and rights are equally important in understanding how integration is enacted and contested in cities.
Wilfred Dominic Josue, Fern Universität in Hagen
Integrating into German Society through Politics and History The Effects of the Orientation Course (Orientierungskurs) to Refugees in Brandenburg, Germany
Germany received the most number of refugees from 2015 until 2017 but even after the “refugee crisis” the topic of migration and integration are still very much dominating day-to-day conversations in the country. Learning the German language and having a job is the ideal way to integrate. But is this enough for Refugees to best integrate into German society? Included in the Integration courses (German language courses with or without Alphabetization courses), the Orientation courses are strictly sanctioned by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The Orientation course is a month-long civic education course focusing on German History, Politics, and Society. By using the perspective of “political integration through civic education”, this paper analyzed the effects of such orientation courses specifically in two groups of Refugees which took the same Orientation course in Rathenow and Falkensee in the district of Havelland which is in the State of Brandenburg. Although the two groups took the same course, the effects varied. The group in Falkensee had a better understanding of German Politics and History manifested by their active engagement in the community and high scores in the Test compared to the group in Rathenow. This study hopes to add to the academic discourses and debates on how best refugees can integrate into Germany society.
Liliana Jubilut, Universidade Catolica de Santos
Durable Solutions for Refugees and Other Forced Migrants on the Global Compacts
In late 2018 the Global Compacts on Refugees and on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration are to be adopted by States after a 2-year process started with the New York Declaration for Refugee and Migrants. The topic is timely as the number of refugees and other forced migrants has been on the rise and the lack of protection is also growing. The process relevant as it is the first time that comprehensive international agreements are to be put in place on refugees and migrants since the 1950s. The creation of a legal document is necessary as a way to implement a rights-based language of protection and to create commitments in protecting refugees and other forced migrants. However, these also need to focus on durable solutions if protection of refugees and other migrants is to be achieved. Thus assessing the Global Compacts’ approaches to durable solutions is essential.
Isaac Kalule, Kennedy House Youth Services
Reinventing life through dance, poetry and film
In December 2017 I escaped from the jaws of death and fled to Canada. The price of having been gay in Uganda was horribly visible, with scars all over my body and even more painful psychological trauma. In Canada, trying hard to meet deadlines and navigate complicated Canadian systems, I was confronted with new battles – homelessness, coping with extremely cold weather, racism, social isolation, suicidal ideations and depression, while being penniless. I was just 20. I was not ready to give up. My only option was to face my internal and external battles by reinventing myself. At a pride event in June 2018, I dramatized my tortured past and traumatic present. Since then I have been documenting my struggles through videos and have shared my journey at different venues. I have transformed myself into a voice for the voiceless as I know that reinventing myself is essentially a collective effort.
Ayşe Seyyide Kaptaner, Birkbeck, University of London
How refugee entrepreneurship is enabled in European capitals: Opportunities and Challenges
Refugees bring their skills, abilities and ambitions in the host countries, as well as their financial and social capital at different levels. For those who are willing to transfer these concepts into their own enterprise, various opportunities and challenges await regarding legal frameworks, business culture, market conditions etc. in host countries. Refugee entrepreneurs often require support to navigate themselves and their businesses in the new environment. This study is about how refugee entrepreneurship is enabled in European capitals, namely in London, Berlin and Amsterdam. Refugee entrepreneurs who start their business through Refugee Entrepreneurship Programmes (REPs), which mainly provide incubation, training and financial support, are examined along with those who are not participating in REPs. European capitals with different migration patterns, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and policies for the entrepreneurial activities of refugees are selected. These cities are studied in terms of how the funder profile, entrepreneur profile, institutional support and impact metrics of REPs change. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with refugee entrepreneurs, programme directors and trainers from REPs and their funders. These interviews are analysed for comparing the opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs that are participants and non-participants of REPs. The outcomes and social impact of the programmes are assessed. Consequently, this study demonstrates how support programmes and policies can be improved to better enable refugees to be integrated in the business environment and the host country in a broader sense, and how refugees contribute to host countries by becoming entrepreneurs given an empowering environment.
Kanwal Khokhar, Ryerson University
Problematic Justifications for Border Control Policies: Family Separation in the United States
It is evident that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and election have had grave implications for not only the United States of America (U.S.) but also for the rest of the world. Particularly, immigration discourses and realities have been under scrutiny globally. This is no surprise considering Trump’s presidential campaign focused heavily on issues pertaining to illegal immigration to the U.S. Shortly after becoming president, Trump adopted zero-tolerance immigration policies in response to illegal border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico. This paper examines the zero-tolerance approach and how it has resulted in family separation at the border. This paper also provides a critical analysis of the narratives and justifications that allow policies such as family separation to occur. This paper argues that the Trump administration has blatantly ignored international obligations, violated human and children’s rights and utilized fear tactics to criminalize immigration. Further, this paper maintains that family separation has not only had devastating consequences for the families involved but also has shed light on challenging humanitarian discourses, propagated hate and supported the marginalization and dehumanization of immigrants and asylum seekers. Conclusively, the paper pushes for the promotion of evidence based notions to counter mainstream stereotypes pertaining to immigration.
Caroline Kihato, University of Johannesburg
Stealth humanitarianism: Incentivising the inclusion of urban displaced populations, lessons from the global south
Over half of the world’s refugees or people living in refugee-like conditions now live in urban areas. Yet while raging debates over integration in Europe, North America and Australia continue, it is ‘cities of the South’ that most directly confront the presence of thousands — sometimes hundreds of thousands — of newcomers. Drawing on research conducted in Kampala, Nairobi and Johannesburg, this talk explores the challenges that local governments and urban planners face in trying to address urban displacement. Municipalities are often unable or unwilling to address refugee needs, yet they are unlikely to go away and their economic, social and political integration have the potential to reshape urban markets, values and institutions. I argue that building inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities in an era of urban displacement requires ‘stealth work’ incentivising local leaders, partnering with mid-level bureaucrats and using legal and technical loopholes that expand urban opportunities for marginalised populations.
Ranjith Kulatilake, York University
Integration or re-victimization? Insights from the frontline
In the dominant discourses on refugee integration, which include immigration, resettlement and healthcare, LGBTIQ+ newcomers are a much-neglected population. As a result, only a handful of agencies in Toronto are able to provide support services, although with on-going funding cuts the continuity of such services is uncertain. I will first argue that under the guise of a Canadian ‘safe haven’, LGBTIQ+ newcomers are constantly re-victimized, contributing to unique social determinants of health. Next I will contextualize this on-going process of re-victimization within the neoliberal political and economic policies of the Canadian settler-colonial state in order to garner movements of resistance.
Ben Kuo, University of Windsor
Syrian refugees in Windsor, Canada, Social Relationship, General Health, and Mental Health
According to the UNHCR’s estimate the conflict in Syria has displaced 5.6 million people to different countries in the past seven years. In Canada alone more than 40,000 Syrian refugees have been sponsored to this country since 2015. In this study, we examined the associations among social relationship, general health, and mental health in a sample of 235 Syrian refugees living in Windsor, Ontario. Social relationship was assessed based on participants’ reported number of friends in the city and the frequency of their contact, and social support was assessed based on participants’ reported number of emotionally close friends, and satisfaction with the quality of those friendships. Health measures were assessed using the RAND 36-Item Health Survey and depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Multiple regression showed that social relationship predicted better health outcomes and lower levels of depression in this Syrian refugees in Windsor.
Irmak Kurtulmuş, Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants
Upon the protection needs of the asylum seekers and refugees as a prologue to integration into the host communities
With the number of people in need for asylum largely exceeding hospitality quota of Turkey while with the number of refugees in need for resettlement largely exceeding resettlement quota of the European countries as well as other countries such as USA, Australia and Canada, the policies of Turkish government have been changing against the asylum seekers and refugees particularly from non-Syrian countries since Turkey has been a part of Geneva Convention with restrictions on time and geography. What being admitted for resettlement is widely considered a ‘gift’ for the few selected refugees means on behalf of Turkey, while its boundaries on ‘temporarily hosting’ has been in the law, is one of the leading questions in the research. In this respect, this study will focus on how the state institutions have been changed in time while the crisis was growing with the increasing credibility of Turkey depending on Syrian crisis in the eyes of the world, and how civil society actors might become a part of that story in respect of protection requirements for the asylum seekers and refugees. As known that, after the foundation of Directorate General of Migration Management and its growing impact of the practices on asylum seekers and refugees, and its recent taking over of pre-registration of newcomers from UNHCR, the assessment of protection program for these people has been becoming more crucial in humanitarian action aspects besides questioning the new place of civil society organizations in that framework. Since the protection unit has been the first stage humanitarian action for the following integration of the asylum seekers and refugees into the host communities, my presentation will be related with the first theme of the conference. To examine these questions, expert interviews with all governmental and civil societal actors involved and participant observations of different steps of the policy process are conducted. Methodologically, the study follows a practice-oriented approach which focusses on the actors‘ practices and their own interpretations and explanations.
Shauna Labman, University of Manitoba
Exporting Private Sponsorship. Questions Unasked
After over a decade of pilot programs, shifting numbers, narrowed criteria, submission caps and the introduction of a new blended sponsorship model, the change in federal Canadian government in 2015 came with a strong promise of resettlement, both governmental and private. In September 2016, in partnership with the UNHCR, and the Open Society Foundations, Canada announced a joint initiative aimed at increasing the private sponsorship of refugees around the world. Whereas in the past the Canadian government turned to private sponsorship as evidence of its own humanitarianism at home, the new government embraced not just the numbers but the resettlement model itself on a global stage. This paper will discuss concerns with the privatization of state responsibility and the power of selection that resettlement offers over uncontrolled asylum, raising questions over who will benefit from additional sponsorship places and who will face increased obstacles to access.
Laxman Lamichhane, Advocate/Researcher
Linking humanitarian approach to the human rights approach: Nepal’s struggle towards new refugee framework
Nepal has been a safe shelter for thousands of asylum seekers and refugees since ancient times. However, Nepal’s recent refugee response mechanism which is purely based on the humanitarian notion and practice of “life of a person should not be put at risk who asks for a refuge” (sharanko maran garnu hundaina), proved to be an inadequate to address the emerging challenges in ever changing complex national, regional as well as global context. With respect to the protection of asylum seekers and refugee, the need of proper legal framework is extremely felt by all of the concerned stakeholders. Nepal is neither a party to 1951 Refugee Convention nor it has any specific domestic legislation to deal with the refugee issues. In the absence of law, the refugee issue has been handled by the administrative means and on ad-hoc basis.
In the midst of Nepal’s dilemma towards creating a standard human rights friendly refugee protection regime, this paper tries to uncover the pros and cons of the historical and traditional notion of humanitarian protection in the light of new national as well as developing global legal-political context. While doing so, it will examine what can be learnt from the past in terms of policy implication. Since Nepal has been hosting significant number of Tibetan refugees, Bhutanese refugees and some urban refugees. The study will mainly focus on Tibetan refugees and will make some inferences from Bhutanese case also. Secondly, it will discuss about the two dominant opposite school of thoughts; Nepal should go with the international human rights regime and have its own legal framework and the other one is no Nepal cannot afford all this and should care its people first. Finally, this paper will explore and recommend the new possible avenues available for Nepal in terms of refugee protection with reference to constitutional legal development, judicial activism and human rights movement; despite of its geo-political sensitivity, lack of resources, internal political instability amongst others.
Paulina Larreategui, University of Regina
The role of the Andean Community of Nations and MERCOSUR in the management of the Venezuelan migratory crisis
Venezuela is facing a humanitarian crisis due to the hyperinflationary economic collapse and the complicated political situation. Worldwide, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants has already reached three million. More than 80% remain in South America and the Caribbean (Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas, 2018). This situation challenges regional migration policies agreed upon, for instance in the Andean Community of Nations and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR).
Traditionally these regional organizations have been the communitarian spaces for integration and protection of human rights. However, South American States have declared that the unexpected flow of Venezuelans has overloaded their capabilities. They claimed that the existing regional mechanisms have not been enough to manage the current migratory crisis. Therefore, the affected countries have started to pursue further assistance at a broader international level seeking economic and political support. They called the attention of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and held two meetings in Quito-Ecuador, in September and November 2018 respectively.
In September 2018, State parties adopted the Declaration of Quito on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Region. They agreed on its Plan of Action two months later. These instruments refer to the IOM and the UNHCR as key players. Besides, they mentioned the Andean Community of Nations and the MERCOSUR as participants, leaving these organizations in an apparent second level.
In the light of the Venezuelan crisis, the Declaration of Quito, and its Plan of Action, the study aims to explore at which extend States that instrumentalize -and promote- regional organizations struggle to apply agreed policies in their domestic level when facing unexpected events.
Robert Larruina, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
European Migrant Advisory Board. Between box-ticking o real practice? Challenges and opportunities for participation of migrants in policy advise in Europe.
This paper provides insight, through a case study, into the integration and participation of former refugees and migrants. This study is an analysis of the enabling and constraining factors of the European Migrant Advisory Board (EMAB). This board is an initiative of the Urban Agenda of the European Union with the aim of strengthening the voice of former refugees and migrants in the European policy-making process. This study has an explorative nature and is based on a qualitative and interpretative research methods. Data for this paper was obtained from semi-structured interviews with members of the EMAB and the organizations that form the partnership, complemented by document analysis and observations. It appears that, notwithstanding the best intentions of all the parties involved, the existing material and discursive structures influence the work of the board members, which eventually might lead to limiting its capacities within the governmental European landscape. However, our findings suggest that EMAB would have more chances to survive and become sustainable, as a self-organized group, when the board members and the partnership become fully reflexive about their roles and their context.
Sangyoo Lee, York University
Exploring Multiculturalism in the Terrain of the Settler Imaginary
Literature provided to refugees for their settlement and integration conveys thoroughly maintained national narratives. Drawing on Critical Multiculturalism and Settler Colonialism, I will explore how the settler imaginaries are transmitted through the Canadian concept of multiculturalism in the settlement fields.
Isabelle Lemay, McGill University
An ‘Alan Kurdi’ Effect? Analyzing the Politics of Deservingness in Germany and Canada During the 2015-2016 ‘Refugee Crisis’
How do representations of ‘refugees’ influence policy-making towards openness? The objectives of this paper are threefold: i) to identify which representations of refugees trigger a movement of openness; ii) to assess the mechanisms through which policy-makers are driven towards openness; iii) to examine the motivations and strategies of policy-makers for upholding or withering that movement. Two mechanisms are tested: the first understands elites as constructing representations and from there legitimizing the response; the second conceives public perceptions as affecting the political calculus. These mechanisms are rarely employed to analyze ‘deserving’ representations of refugees.
The German and Canadian responses to the 2015-2016 ‘refugee crisis’ are used as case studies, and analyzed through process-tracing. Findings indicate that an escalation of ‘deserving’ representations underpinned the movement of openness in both cases. Welcoming policies were facilitated by those socially-constructed representations of deservingness. Elite leadership also opened opportunities for the public and the media to demonstrate their support and strengthen the movement. Reported concerns over long-term support may have encouraged political leaders to maintain an overall discourse of openness while reenacting barriers to asylum and resettlement. Efforts to improve societal perceptions towards other migration categories may open new possibilities for inclusion.
Jaime Lenet, McGill University
Interrogating the opposite of integration: Deportation and Canadian refugee determination
In October of 2018 media outlets highlighted a government plan to significantly increase the number of people deported from Canada each year. The plan was developed in response to an increase of refugee claimants crossing irregularly over the US border. For many politicians and observers, these border crossings came to represent a ‘crisis’ for the integrity of the Canadian immigration and refugee system. While deportation is increasingly portrayed as the appropriate antidote to a perceived loss of control and as a useful instrument for managing migration (Gibney, 2008), its logic and consequences have largely escaped scholarly inquiry. This presentation seeks to explore the integration of deportation into the policies and practices of the Canadian refugee determination system as well as to consider how efforts to remove (as opposed to integrate) refugee claimants influence the experience of protection-seeking. Using evidence drawn from legislation, removals data, and a scoping review of deportation literature, it is argued that forced removal is an invisible yet fundamental feature of Canadian refugee determination.
Jamie Liew, University of Ottawa
The Precarity of Citizenship in Canada: The Role the Courts Play in Making Factual Findings of Statelessness and Citizenship
The paper examines the growing legal barriers created in jurisprudence or the courts to not only obtaining and maintaining citizenship but also the court’s role in identifying the citizenship of a refugee or stateless person and how that may deny them opportunities for permanent pathways to stay within Canada. In particular, this project seeks to examine how the courts are seemingly using a legal concept of “exhaustion of remedies” in making factual findings of citizenship where citizenship may not exist. Further, the paper critiques how this move in Canadian jurisprudence is counter to international customary law about dominant and effective citizenship. The paper argues that the principle of dominant and effective citizenship should be applied in cases involving refugees and stateless persons, and that if it is, different outcomes may result leading to more opportunities for permanent pathways, citizenship and eventual integration for those requesting protection.
Marilena Liguori, Roxane Caron, Université de Montréal
Co-authors who will not be present: Marie-Jeanne Blain, Marie Fally, Vicken Kayayan, Lourdes Rodriguez del Barrio
Reconceptualizing integration: A transnational perspective on the migration trajectories of refugees from Syria to Quebec
This paper presents preliminary findings from an ongoing study with Syrian refugees in the province of Quebec. Recent statistics indicate that Canada has welcomed nearly 60,000 Syrian refugees since November 2015 of whom 13,405 are in Quebec, which makes it the second largest province where they have re-settled (IRCC, 2018). Looking beyond the numbers, this research focuses on the experiences of the refugees themselves, from the details of their lives and migratory journey to the challenges they have faced, as well as the conditions of their situation in their “new” country of residence. From a theoretical point of view, we suggest that the complexity of these experiences can be captured by a transnational perspective that critically reconceptualizes the concept of integration.
Fieldwork for this study is currently being carried out in Quebec and this presentation will reveal findings from the interviews conducted using the life history technique with refugees from Syria who have settled in the Greater Montreal region and in smaller cities throughout the province of Quebec (30 interviews are planned). The preliminary results point to a heterogeneity in the profiles and trajectories of refugees and highlight the importance of grasping the key moments that shape individuals as well as their experiences in various transit countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan. As a result, this presentation highlights the issues related to integration, particularly regarding processes of discrimination and inclusion experienced by refugees from a local and international perspective. In addition, the findings illustrate the transversal and transnational issues faced by refugees during the different phases of their trajectory, particularly in spaces of “transit” and in the “final” step of re-settlement.
Anita Lumbus, Curtin University
“This happiness can be better”: A critique of integration in Australia, based on the experiences of resettled refugee women
In the Australian policy context, achieving the ‘three E’s’ – English language, Education and Training and Employment – are considered integral to refugee integration. Settlement services are funded to support resettled refugees for their first five years of life in Australia, while ‘maximising the productivity of diversity’. An assimilationist rhetoric in policy documents and among politicians refers to the importance of refugees integrating ‘into Australian life’ and adopting Australian values for social cohesion.
Acknowledging this context, a participatory research project was conducted with 43 women of refugee background in Perth, Western Australia, using photovoice to explore their perspectives on barriers and facilitators to successful settlement. Women chose topics to photograph and discussed these in small groups, through a process of reflective group dialogue. Among the findings was the mismatch between government and women’s perspectives on the significance of family in establishing a new life, and the importance of gendered and tailored responses to the ‘three E’s’, beyond the five year settlement period. Drawing on intersectionality and postcolonial feminist theories, this research critiqued the ideologies which inform multicultural and settlement policy, and the implications for supporting women’s successful settlement.
Alexandra Lund-Murray, Carleton University
Policy failure: an analysis of the non-implementation of the UNHCR Executive committee’s policy on responsibility sharing in Jordan
In 2013, a constitutional amendment in the Dominican Republic retroactively stripped Dominican citizenship from thousands of people of Haitian descent. Following in a long line of anti-Black and anti-Haitian rhetoric from the Dominican government, this newest event has created the Caribbean region’s worst refugee crisis. Many, finding themselves newly stateless and in between Dominican and Haitian societies, have set up in refugee camps along the border Haitian-Dominican border. These camps have little to no access to proper sanitation, health services, immigration services, and education. The Haitian government, lacking the proper infrastructure and funds to adequately support the refugees, has appealed to the international community for support with little success. This paper explores the causes and consequences of Hispaniola’s refugee crisis in attempt to explore the extent to which these new policies have affected life in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Tina Magazzini, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Research, European University Institute
‘White Elephants’: reflections on power, privilege and the integration of white Africans
Migration has increasingly become a priority, and often a concern, at both national and international levels. Yet almost invariably, the idea of ‘African migrants’ is associated with the movement of black people fleeing poverty, political persecution, conflicts or natural disasters. While studies abound on the integration levels of so-called ‘second generation’ and even ‘third generation’ citizens of African descent in Europe, little attention has been given to the second and third generations of citizens of European descent in Africa. This paper seeks to reflect on the constructs that underpin migration research by reversing Western-produced categories in the Southern African region.
I apply the same indicators traditionally used to evaluate the degree of integration of migrants in Europe (MIPEX) to white residents in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in order to problematize colonial legacies and make explicit the inconsistencies and double standards present in producing the categories of ‘migrant’ and ‘citizen’.
Comparing categories of belonging across the two continents raises some compelling issues on who gets to define what constitutes a desirable member of the body politics, and connects migration scholarship with issues of power and privilege.
Jay Marlowe, University of Auckland
Refugee settlement futures: Social Media, Integration and the Social Organization of Difference
The rapid proliferation and availability of information communication technologies – particularly the smart phone and social media – herald new ways that refugees can remain connected across distance. With more than 68 million people forcibly displaced globally, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees acknowledges the potential of social media to ‘digitally reunite’ proximate and distant networks. Whilst there is dislocation, there is also the possibility of connection. More than 30 countries have formal refugee resettlement programs and numerous sites of displacement now have access to 2G and 3G digital coverage. These opportunities for communication effectively create a bridge, indeed for some a lifeline, between ‘here’ and ‘there’. Applications such as Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and SnapChat can reunite families and friends and provide powerful tools for sharing information. This connection has the potential to transform resettlement experiences as people maintain significant and ongoing relationships with transnational networks. Outlining data from a digital ethnography with 15 people from refugee backgrounds living in New Zealand about their use of social media, this presentation considers refugee resettlement futures and the urban environment. Drawing on Vertovec’s work on the social organization of difference, it articulates what digitally mediated interactions represent for belonging and integration within an increasingly, but unevenly, mobile world.
Amna Masood, York University Keele Campus WUSC Committee
Mobilizing York University to Foster Integration through Increased Awareness and Financial Support for Higher Learning for Refugees
The World University Service of Canada has 86 local committees across Canada, with over 1,000 student leaders directly involved in raising awareness about global development on their campuses and playing a critical role in supporting its Student Refugee Program. These efforts require public and civic engagement as well as the need to seek financial support on campuses. One means to do so is by seeking to raise money through student levies, both initially and as a committee seeks to increase its sponsorship efforts. A student levy is a model that demonstrates how students can support students and is a tangible way in which each student can assist a refugee to continue their studies in safety and security.
In 2018-2019 the Keele WUSC Committee will engage in just such an effort. The York University Keele Campus, who presently sponsors 4 refugee students per year and are seeking to increase this commitment. In their presentation they will reflect on this process in the hopes of gleaning broader lessons on youth engagement in refugee issues. WUSC Keele also led a highly successful winter coat and clothing drive in Fall, 2018 for clients of a local refugee centre and successfully lobbied its student government to provide $8000 in funding to help relieve WUSC-sponsored students of the burden of their refugee transportation loans.
Joseph Mbalaka, University of Kwazulu-Natal
Religion, Culture and Identity in a migration process: A study of Muslim Yawo Women in Durban
The coming of Malawian women to South Africa and the formation of Muslim women’s groups and networks has played a vital role for ethnic and immigrant women in the construction of their cultural and religious identity. There is very little or no research available on Muslim Yawo women in South Africa; the available literature focuses primarily on Muslim Yawo male migrants. This study critically examines the lived migration experiences of Malawian women in South Africa. The Yawo form the largest proportion of the Muslims of Malawi and have a long tradition of emigrating from their original homeland to other regions, including South Africa. This paper aims to historicize Muslim Yawo women experiences through a life history and narrative approach of the women who have migrated to Durban. This research is contextualized within the larger narrative of migration to South Africa in the post-apartheid period. It interrogates and explores the migration experiences of Muslim Yawo women in KwaZulu-Natal between 1994 and 2015. The paper employs the use of historical approach of qualitative methodology in its analysis. One of the key the focus of this paper includes the reasons for their migration to South Africa, the challenges and constraints they face as immigrants. Therefore this study will contribute to our understanding of Malawian women migrants in South Africa. In addition, this study will add to current debates on migration by focusing on issues of gender, identity, and agency in Africa. The working hypothesis of this study is that in the process of creating a new life in South Africa, Malawian women are contributing to the economy of Malawi through remittances in significant ways and changing perceptions of Islam as being predominantly an “Indian” religion in KwaZulu-Natal.
Susan McGrath, Michaela Hynie, Anna Oda, York University, Nicole Ives, McGill University
How are Syrian refugees utilizing settlement services in Canada?
The Syrian Refugee Integration and Long Term Health Outcomes in Canada (SyRIA.lth) is a 5 year project funded by CIHR that compares the settlement experiences of 1921 Syrian GARs and PSRs in BC, Ontario and Quebec to better understand their integration and health outcomes. This paper is an analysis of the findings of the first year of individual surveys and focus groups. We are asking about differences in the access to services by GARs and PSRs across the different sites and the impact of gender, age, education, religion and health on the use of services. We will comment on the implications for integration and health outcomes, for settlement services practices and government policies.
James Milner, Carleton University; Megan Bradley, Blair Peruniak, McGill University
Beyond Beneficiaries: Refugees’ Roles in Resolving Displacement and Building Peace
How are refugee situations resolved? This has become an urgent question as global displacement rates continue to climb, and refugee situations now persist for years if not decades. The resolution of displacement and the conflicts that force people to flee is often explained as a top-down process controlled by governments and international organizations. Drawing from contributions to an edited collection on this theme, this panel takes a different approach. Through contributions from scholars working in politics, anthropology, law, sociology and philosophy, and a wide range of case studies, it explores the diverse ways in which refugees themselves interpret, create and pursue solutions. It examines the empirical and normative significance of refugees’ engagement as agents in these processes, and their implications for research, policy and practice.
James Milner, Carleton University
Interrogating Integration in East Africa and the Middle East: Critical reflections on joint programming for refugees and host populations
A prominent theme of the Global Compact on Refugees is the integration of refugee populations into local, regional and national development framework. the logic of this approach has been that investments that benefit both refugees and host communities can enhance refugee self-reliance, enhance livelihoods for host communities, contribute to more favorable perceptions of refugees, and provide benefits to refugee hosting states in the global South. Drawing on the early results of a 7-year project with academic and NGO partners in Canada, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon and Tanzania, this paper critically reflects on the logic of the ‘humanitarian-development’ nexus and its meaning in East Africa and the Middle East. Given the long practices of refugee hosting in these regions, how ‘new’ is the humanitarian-development nexus? What motivates this approach? And how does its meaning translate across contexts? Do humanitarian-development approaches promote solutions for refugees, or further policies of containment in the global South?
Morsaline Mojid, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Living Between Agency and Abjection: A Study of Rohingya Refugee camp in Bangladesh
Taking Kutupalong Rohingya Refugee camp in Bangladesh as a case study, this study demonstrates multi-layered complexities of camp life. I contend that camp space is contingent upon multiple authorities, factors, power relations, where produced ‘bare lives’ are both controlled and autonomous. By analyzing empirical cases of Rohingyas in Kutuplaong camp, I explain camp dwellers are given a little capacity of agency. Their informal settlements have created a number of roles, ranging from prostitution to shopkeeping, giving them the impression of having autonomy. They are increasingly relying on both the resources of and ventures with the host community, which gives them the impression that they have a degree of security. They recast themselves from bare lives to entrepreneurs, consumers, to rebellions. More interestingly when they were interviewed and asked about repatriation choice, they invoke disinterest. This situation portrays stark differences from the Agambenian perception of camp space. I argue that in a camp space, mechanisms of governmentality work in such way, it gives an impression of autonomy, security, and protection whereas their lives are still unpredictable, contingent and subject of abjection. Therefore, in my study I seek to address ambiguity of protection and ideology of rights and hospitality by exploring the complexities of camp life.
Petra Molnar, University of Toronto
Who Decides What We Mean By “Success”? Using AI in the Integration of Refugees
AI and automated decision-making is increasingly being used in various facets of migration management. From predictions about population movements in the Mediterranean, to Canada’s experiments with the use of AI in immigration and refugee decisions, it is clear that states and organizations are keen to explore the use of these new technologies, yet often fail to take into account profound human rights ramifications and real impacts on human lives. Building on a report by the International Human Rights Program and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, this presentation unpacks the proposed and current uses of using AI to predict so-called “successful” integration outcomes for resettled refugees.
Travis Moore, York University
Social Movement Theory & Italy’s Migrant Question
Perceived and real failures on the part of the European Union to successfully manage the inflows of irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have characterized migration to Italy over the last decade. Partly in response to this apparent humanitarian crisis, the UN Global Compact on Migration, promoted by the International Organization for Migration and in close collaboration with civil society organizations, articulates a paradigm of ‘humane and orderly migration’. However, this approach has largely left out the existence of the emerging political presence of migrants, and their struggle for full and unconditional citizenship . This paper argues through an examination of migrant political mobilizations in Italy that these groups are best understood through social movement theory. Following a social movement approach it is suggested that migrant politics may be most effective when they are textually interwoven with native European history and the popular social memory.
Stefanie Morris, Patti Lenard, University of Ottawa
Building Resilience. Family Reunification and Refugee Resettlement in Canada
The 2015 surge in public support for Syrian refugee resettlement marks a crucial moment in the history of Canada’s resettlement strategies. This study presents the results of ethnographic interviews conducted with 27 privately-sponsored refugees (PSRs), 15 government-assisted refugees (GARs), and over 45 sponsors. Our findings demonstrate the many challenges of integration refugees face, and in particular, we argue that family separation significantly contributes to these challenges. Resettled refugees are demonstrably less resilient to the pressures of integration when separated from loved ones. In the context of these challenges, we also examine the Canadian government’s current family reunification strategies (explicit and implicit) and provide recommendations to better align policy and practice with international, domestic and moral obligations.
Delphine Nakache, University of Ottawa
“Whole Worker” Approaches to Family Migration for Migrant Workers
This paper focuses on Canada and examines the situation of migrant workers in low-skilled positions who — in contrast to workers in skilled occupations –cannot migrate with their families during the duration of their work permit. Drawing from field research conducted in 2014 and 2015 with both migrant workers and other stakeholders, I illustrate the impacts of prolonged family separation on these workers and offer compelling reasons for facilitating — rather than hindering- their family unity. I draw on the insights of the “whole worker” approach” (McAlevey, 2014) and the “work/family border theory” (Cambell Clark, 2000) to highlight the crucial importance of having policies that understand migrant workers as “humans with families”. Indeed, as McAlevey’s notes, “real people do not live two separate lives, one beginning when they arrive at work and punch the clock and another when they punch out at the end of their shift” (2014:14).
Anh Ngo, Wilfrid University
Canada’s colonial continuities: Racial capitalism and the Indochinese refugees
I will be presenting my research the Vietnamese refugees’ role in promoting and sustaining Canada’s capitalist project. I trace both the involvement of Canada in the war in Vietnam and later Indochinese refugee rescue from the colonial project to the current capitalist trade ventures, specifically the Transpacific Partnership.”
Maissam Nimer, Sabanci University
Proposing alternative approaches to address the issue of ‘over-researched communities’: case of Syrian refugees in Turkey
With the presence of 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, there has been a proliferation of research projects that tackle the case of refugees, focusing on several aspects of migration (movement, integration, return). Based on fieldwork experiences for different projects with Syrian young adults in Turkey and Greece, we question the relevance of the term ‘over- researched communities’ coined by (Sukarieh and Tannock, 2013). We critically examine questions related to participants’ perception of research as a tool to address inequalities in their everyday lives. Against a backdrop whereby research is thought of as benefiting the lives and careers of researchers but leaving the lives of those being researched unimproved in any significant way (Moser, 2003), we reflect on our positions as researchers in the field and propose and weigh out alternative approaches that go beyond the traditional ethical practices to shift the interpersonal dynamics of power between researchers and participants, and transform their perception from being a study subject into an essential actor in the process of power reconstruction and social change. In this process we reflect on the advantages and limitations involved in processes such as building a relationship that goes beyond the interview situation towards creating a space which encourages the construction of meaningful relationships, and enables continuous development of social network within the community.
Keith Nicholson, Mount Allison University
Between Haiti and The Dominican Republic: Hispaniola’s Refugee Crisis
In 2013, a constitutional amendment in the Dominican Republic retroactively stripped Dominican citizenship from thousands of people of Haitian descent. Following in a long line of anti-Black and anti-Haitian rhetoric from the Dominican government, this newest event has created the Caribbean region’s worst refugee crisis. Many, finding themselves newly stateless and in between Dominican and Haitian societies, have set up in refugee camps along the border Haitian-Dominican border. These camps have little to no access to proper sanitation, health services, immigration services, and education. The Haitian government, lacking the proper infrastructure and funds to adequately support the refugees, has appealed to the international community for support with little success. This paper explores the causes and consequences of Hispaniola’s refugee crisis in attempt to explore the extent to which these new policies have affected life in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Chizuru Nobe-Ghelani, York University
Rethinking Canadian citizenship as a settler colonial construct
The attainment of Canadian citizenship is often considered as an ultimate form of refugee integration. This paper critiques this notion via Indigenous and critical race, settler colonial scholarship and argues that our investment in Canadian citizenship is constituted by and constitutive of settler colonialism.
Rosemary Okoth, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention
East or West, is ‘home’ the best?
Running away from my home in Kenya and leaving my mother, the person I love most, was not easy but was not a choice when it was a matter of life and eventual humiliating death. During the scary journey to this ‘promised land’ I pictured a new home, where I would flourish as a lesbian woman. Only after landing in Canada that I realized that words denoting the processes of human habitation have diametrically opposing meanings to what they were intended to be. The ‘shelter’ where I first stayed was not a safe place that welcomed me. My new hope and identity, ‘refugee’ – the one who is seeking refuge – was repulsive to many. Landlords shunned me when I said I was a refugee claimant receiving social assistance. By my skin colour I was labelled and also ranked ‘lowest’ socially. For urgent basic support, I had to make ‘appointments’ and wait for days and weeks. I am now left with questions: ‘integration’ into what, where and how? Will I ever be able to make my yet illusory home?
Jess Notwell, Yuriko Cowper-Smith, Leah Levac, University of Guelph
“Neutrality Is Not Neutral: Radical, Politically-Engaged Forced Migration Scholarship.”
In academia, credibility is often accrued by commitments to “neutrality” and “objectivity.” Sunera Thobani rejects, “the politics of academic elitism, which insist that academics should remain above the fray of political activism,” instead embracing, “radical, politically engaged scholarship…grounded in the politics, practices and language” of communities and social justice movements. Within coloniality/modernity, neutrality becomes complicity with systems of domination. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu states: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Researching with peoples forced to migrate from home and homeland is researching injustice. Neutrality is not an option. Drawing on research conducted with Rohingya migrant communities in Canada, Palestinian communities, and Indigenous Peoples in Canada, this paper explores the ethical and methodological implications of forced migration scholarship which is radical, politically-engaged and social justice-focused using a feminist intersectionality approach, a commitment to decoloniality, and an Indigenous research agenda focused on self-determination as “a goal of social justice…necessarily involv[ing] the processes of transformation, of decolonization, of healing and of mobilization as Peoples.”
Naima Osman, Simon Fraser University
Upstream Prevention: Grappling with Hypertension in a Kenyan Refugee Camp
Dominant narrative around African refugee health is one of dependence on humanitarian aid. More than 11 million people around the world live in protracted refugee situations. Consequently, governments, multilateral institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) face challenges in providing sufficient services to meet people’s long-term health and welfare needs. The limited health resources available are targeted towards infectious diseases, which although remain a necessity in protracted situations, are being overtaken by the growing burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This research project challenges the dominant narrative through a case study of the health experiences of Somali refugees living with hypertension in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. The study employed ethnographic research methods to understand (i) refugees’ perceptions of their illness and (ii) the treatment options available to them in the camp. One of the key findings was the extensive network of refugee operated ‘informal private clinics’ in the camp that many refugees chose to use over the official NGO operated facilities. Though technically isolated in the ‘heterotopia’ that is the refugee camp, refugees have found innovative ways of integrating with their surrounding communities. This goes against the dependency narrative and instead highlights the resiliency and the community strengths among the refugee population.
Myriam Ouellet, York University; Danièle Bélanger, Université Laval
Unpacking Processes of Exclusion Towards Syrian Refugees in Turkey and Lebanon
Since the beginning of the Syrian War in 2011, nearly 12 million homeless Syrians have fled to find a safe haven. As of late 2018, an estimated 5 million were living in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. In Lebanon and Turkey, one key feature of the management of these flows has been a non-camp policy, whereby the vast majority of refugees live in cities and border regions. Most studies to date document the precarious circumstances that characterize the life of a significant proportion of Syrian refugees who suffer from exclusion, poverty and precarity. Based on first-hand fieldwork conducted in Beirut, Lebanon and Izmir, Turkey, in 2016 and 2017, this paper will begin to unpack these processes of exclusion and precariousness. The analysis will first show how modalities of exclusion are contingent upon highly volatile politics and policies towards refugees, which are highly responsive to historical and geopolitical dynamics towards the so-called refugee crisis in the region. Second, the analysis will reveal how social structural factors, particularly social class, explain variations in experiences of exclusion and resources mobilized to mitigate it. These exclusionary regimes towards Syrians, while largely shaped by macro political factors, display a variety of experiences at ground level.
Sunday Israel Oyebamiji, University of Kwazulu Natal
Nigerian Migration to the United States of America: A Contemporary Perspective
The paper seeks to explore the reasons for the migration of Nigerians to the United States of America (U.S.A.). It posits that the quest for career development through the acquisition of Western education is the most dominant motive behind the migration of Nigerians. Primarily, this serves as a push factor for the migration of Nigerians to the U.S. it propels the desire for knowledge acquisition and relevance in the society. However, it should not be mistaken that this occurs out of desperation. Rather, it has been a phenomenon among humankind for several millennia hence the Nigerian experience is not an exception. In view of this, the purpose of this study is to examine the reasons for Nigerian migration to the U.S. from the economic perspective including its impact on career development. It highlights in detail the economic drive and other attractions behind the migration of Nigerians to U.S. In collation, interpretation and analysis of data, the study makes use of documents from the U.S. Census Bureau, in addition to those from the internet and international bodies involved in migration issues. These are combined with facts and figures from oral information and other sources to arrive at authentic conclusions.
Adetola Elizabeth Oyewo, Uwem Umoh Samuel, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Rhetoric’s or Utopia in midst of Integration, Election and Detention; Reflections of Burundi and Congolese Asylum Seekers in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Migrating to another country for displaced individual is an avenue to rebuild their lives in host country such as South Africa. However settlement in host country is usually not easy as it seems, met by unwelcoming attitude by certain government officials. For instance, the South Africa Minister of Health in November 2018 stated publicly that ‘undocumented immigrants are overburdening hospitals, when they get admitted in large number, infection control starts failing’. While the Department of Home Affairs 2017 White Paper on International Migration, proposes building detention centres for migrants and asylum-seekers in South Africa. As well as proposal to discontinue birth certificates to children born to foreign parents but rather’ confirmation of birth’. Which would exclude them from social service. With this background, the paper discuss the historical connection of South Africa Group Areas Act legislation which forcibly removed people from their home. It’s after effect on the current migration trend in South Africa, indigenous urban landscapes and settlement pattern. The paper ponder also that in the midst of all these rhetoric how can migrants be integrated and settled? It also suggest practices that support refugee integration and how they relate to settlement policies in South Africa and its hindrance.
Gbadebo Gbemisola Oyewo, Redeemers University/Independent Researcher; Uwem Umoh Samuel, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Informal Settlement and Forced Migration; Case of Kwamashu, EThekwini -South Africa
KwaMashu one of Durban’s oldest townships tells the story of forced migration and settlement policies. KwaMashu, a name is in honor of Sir Marshall Campbell which means ‘Place of Marshall’ was established in 1958, as a result of the implementation of Group Areas Act. The township was built under the system that was implemented by the apartheid government to physically separate people by race, especially Indians and Blacks that coexisted peacefully in Umkhumbane (now known as Cato Manor). The aim of the paper is to discuss the resultant effect of the Group Area Act on the establishment of informal settlements and shanty town in South Africa and the history KwaMashu. It examines how the settlement policies excluded the blacks in economic inclusion and reasons migrants currently do no reside in the area. The impact of such on livelihood and sustainability of the area and the recent clamor for ‘land appropriation’. It demonstrates also how government policies systematically segregated people based on race from housing, education and job opportunities. This in turn led many citizens to leave the cities for informal townships in surrounding areas. It discuss also recent eThekwini government policies on the economic integration of the blacks into the economic mainstream through program such as the ‘radical economic transformation’ .
Annie Taccolini Panaggio, Odessa Gonzalez Benson, The University of Michigan
Sociocultural Integration Experiences of the Bhutanese Refugee Community in the USA
The research behind this paper is ideal for a panel discussion. Rationale for this type of participation is in the consideration that integration as a policy goal for refugee resettlement is a nuanced and contested subject– prime for dialogue and open to alternate opinions than those of the researchers of this particular paper. The intention of this research at large is to showcase the ground-level experiences of the Bhutanese refugee communities as they progress towards an ideal integration for themselves as individuals, broader people groups, and systems. Practicing community-based participatory research methods to enhance and collaborate with refugee communities, this paper could be presented with researchers as well as Bhutanese community members at various platforms, ranging from local neighborhood events to policy advocacy opportunities at the State and Federal levels. Final policy recommendations include an amendment of refugee resettlement policy goals to include the learned integration realities of refugee communities in the USA since 1980.
Madeleine Annette Pattis, Galya Ben-Arieh, Northwestern University
The Interplay of Academic and Political Voices in the Refugee Debate
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, a wave of American governors called for a halt in the refugee admissions program. American political discourse regarding refugee resettlement thus began to shift away from the decade’s long bipartisan support of the program. During this same period, academic researchers and advocates mobilized to counter populist rhetoric. Scholarship began to focus more intensely on studying economic self-sufficiency of refugees entering the United States by using economic measurements to assess integration, or moral/ethical arguments supporting immigration. In what ways does the need to react constrain the methodological lenses and continue to perpetuate over-simplified binaries. Through a discourse analysis of the arguments, data, and norms used by American refugee advocates (both practitioners and scholars) between 2013-2017, this paper examines the relationship between American political discourse and the production of academic knowledge to explore the ways in which academia and political discourse impact and/or inform each other, how actors in the academic and political realm utilize data or moral claims, and how the use of data or moral claims has shifted in reaction to political climate. More broadly this study seeks to consider our role as scholar advocates and the ethical implications of our research choices during a time of crisis.
Kerith Paul, Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC), Ryerson International
The Strength of University Student Engagement in Private Refugee Sponsorship at Ryerson University
The Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC) is a great example of how Ryerson is using social innovation to provide solutions to societal and economic challenges, while providing experiential learning opportunities to students. OCAD University, University of Toronto and York University joined Ryerson University to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, mobilizing communities to welcome and resettle Syrian refugees throughout Canada. The RULSC program is designed to facilitate the private sponsorship of refugees and to engage students in various facets of refugee resettlement. Student volunteers have taken on specific roles that highlight their skills and provide them with enriching experiences: students are actively working with sponsoring teams to assist with pre-arrival; students have supported the ongoing ESL workshops held at Ryerson; student mentors matched to Syrian newcomer youth through our Peer Mentorship initiative; students are on-call to provide translation and interpretation support to teams and families. This presentation will outline how these initiatives have been achieved and lessons from their implementation.
Madison Pearlman, University of Manitoba
Operation Ezra: A New Way Forward
This presentation examines the grassroots efforts of “Operation Ezra”, a multi-faith coalition of actors in Winnipeg, Manitoba involved in the private sponsorship of Yazidi refugee families from Iraq. Since the beginning of 2015, the group has partnered with 22 organizations, raised $560,000 and has sponsored ten families. For 2018, they have allocated 20 spots and have submitted two new sponsorship applications for one individual and one family of three. Within North America, Operation Ezra has unique characteristics setting itself apart from other private sponsorship groups. These include the collaboration and combined leadership of Winnipeg’s established Jewish community and the newer Yazidi community, finding common experiences of genocide and persecution and shared values of charity and hospitality. Importantly, the group has also actively pursued national advocacy initiatives to increase the government’s sponsorship quota for Yazidi Refugees – particularly women and girls.
Vince Pietropaolo, COSTI Immigrant Services, Family and Mental Health Services
From Distress to Wellness. A Model for Refugee Mental Health
Refugees and vulnerable newcomers show an increased prevalence of mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and panic attacks, adjustment disorder, and somatization. Many face survivor’s guilt and excessive worry over family members who remain in country of origin. Many do not seek help for their problems because they do not want to relive the trauma of their experiences. Often, women do not want to talk about sexual assault or other forms of violence they have faced because of the stigma or shame. This presentation will showcase COSTI Immigrant Services’ Refugee Mental Health Services, a promising practice that supports refugee wellness and integration. COSTI’s model of intervention is flexible to incorporate refugees’ own belief systems, culture, and experiences. It offers supportive trauma-informed therapeutic approaches adapted to cultural needs, and wraparound services in partnership with hospitals, schools, and ethno-cultural agencies. It is an evidence-based model having served refugee families from Iraq, Iran, Syria and parts of Africa and South America with success.
Geraldina Polanco, McMaster University
Pursuing Dignity through Low-Waged Work: The ‘Inadequacies’ and Exclusions of Transnational Fast Food Employment in the North American Labour Market
For this presentation, I examine how the Mexican migration apparatus transnationally imagines, mobilizes and deploys a highly racialized, gendered, and classed workforce for temporary employment in the Canadian fast food sector. Drawing from multi-sited, ethnographic research conducted in Mexico and western Canada (2015), my research shows that many Mexican migrants recruited for temporary fast food work in Canada had spent years living undocumented in the United States prior to deportation. Moreover, they carried with them sometimes decades of experience working and living in the bottom tiers of the US economy and society. Through recounting their experiences as “illegal” and contract workers in the US and Canada (respectively), their desires for and pursuit of a “proper” working class masculinity unfolds. So too do the many barriers they face in achieving this desired state, namely their limited options in Mexican or Canadian / US labour markets. Through a critical lens of masculinity, I show the few options and hardships faced by these working class men under global labour regimes. I conclude that neoliberal capitalist forces and exclusionary migration policies render it difficult for many low-waged migrant men to achieve a desired subjectivity due to the economic forces and current immigration policies.
Brenda Polar, York University
Centering First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities on discussions of refugee integration
The views of First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities from the North are often dismissed or included as tokenism on discussions of refugee migration in stolen lands. Yet, The Canadian state is constantly claiming shifts towards decolonization. From an Indigenous lens, I will examine the views and worldviews of First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities as central components to refugee integration.
Fabio Martinez Serrano Pucci, Federal University of São Carlos
Reflecting on the “integration” of Syrian refugees into the Brazilian society
For Ager & Strang (2008), the “integration” of refugees can be measured by their access to housing, employment, health and education services. These are material aspects of “integration”. However, there are also the immaterial ones, such as citizenship, social contacts with the host society and the respect for their culture. However, the critics of this concept say it overlooks the conflicts between what refugees want to be and what the host society expects from them. Hence, the “integration” process is seen as an imposition, with no concerns about the refugees’ cultural background. As an alternative, Castles (2002) presents the concept of “re-settlement”, which enhances the cultural contribution of refugees to the host society. Portes & Rumbaut (1990) approach this task in their “modes of incorporation” concept, which includes three aspects to measure it: the policies of the host government, the sociability with the host society and with the co-ethnic community.
From this theoretical framework, this paper explores the role some institutions (like the government, the Syrian-Lebanese community, religious institutions and NGOs) play in the re-settlement of Syrian refugees in São Paulo, Brazil. The main hypothesis is that faith-based institutions play a key role in their settlement, by creating social networks that help them to find a job or a place to live, access the public health and education systems and practice their own culture and traditions. Finally, we compare Syrian refugees with different social backgrounds (religion, sex, marital status, education, length of stay in Brazil and occupation) to find out to what extent these variables influence their pathways of incorporation.
Kashmala Qasim, York University
The Role of Faith-Based Coping in Muslim Syrian Refugees Resettling in Toronto
Many of the 40,000 Syrians resettled between 2015 and 2017 are Muslim. Because research finds that mental health care should be adapted to Muslims’ beliefs and practices, it is important to understand how Muslim Syrian refugees are dealing with settlement stress. Objective: The goal of this research is to gain a greater understanding of how religion is used by Muslim Syrian refugees to cope with a common source of stress, namely financial threat. Method: We conducted Arabic focus groups with 37 Muslim Syrian refugees in Toronto about challenges and coping strategies, including employment and financial insecurity. Results were analyzed using grounded theory. Results: Stresses included language barriers, foreign experience, and psychological suffering. Sources of support included personal faith and support from the Mosque but the role of the Mosque and the meaning of employment differed by gender. The concept of amaanah (giving back of a trust) was also highlighted. These findings deepen our understanding of the importance of religion in the resettlement and integration process, and can be used to create culturally sensitive models of peer support for Syrian refugees. We are in the process of presenting workshops at local Mosques regarding culturally relevant coping strategies for newcomer Syrian families.
Mohammad Azizur Rahman, University of Manitoba
The Economic Integration of Resettled Refugees in Canada
Canada is the second largest resettlement country among the Western refugee-resettlement states. With the pre-migration experiences of forced displacement, dispossession, and violence caused by war or other protracted conflicts, government assisted refuges (GARs), as well as privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), blended visa office referred refugees (BVORs) or refugee claimants (asylum seekers) have travelled to Canada to make a new home. Upon their arrival in Canada, some refugees struggle to economically integrate into the host society. While non-refugee immigrants have received much scholarly attention, refugee integration in general is less explored. Economists, sociologists and the government have paid significant attention to the economic integration of immigrants, yet very few studies have focused exclusively on refugees. This paper will highlight the economic experiences of GARs and PSRs in Canada. The study will use the 2016 Census dataset, which is for the first time linked with immigrant and refugee stream variable. This study will fill the gap in national-scale research investigating refugees’ labor market experiences and integration pathways in Canada. This economic integration study can provide insights into immigrant health, housing, and education. This study will fill the void in the Peace and Conflict Studies literature on refugee integration as most studies are from sociologists and economists.
Anna Rannou, Covenant College / University of Kentucky
Building Resilience against the Politics of Exclusion: An Examination of Pro-Refugee Consumer-Based Coalitons
Discourses relating to refugee resettlement in the United States, as in much of the world, are discouragingly divisive to say the least. And the realities of resettlement for refugees and their families are often even more stark. Refugees are frequently scrutinized as saboteurs and excluded from economic, social and politics participation in their host communities. The loss of potential human prosperity is real; as is the potential of political gain for right wing, anti-refugee candidates and their supporters.
In the past two years, over 100 companies have joined the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a non-profit with a mission to develop and implement concrete business commitments to refugees.
A recent survey from the NYU Stern School of Business (2018) shows that, of nearly 8,000 customers, almost half (48%) noted that they were more likely to purchase a brand if they know the brand is committed to supporting refugees in one or more ways. The level of support is even higher among millennial consumers: 60% of those surveyed under the age of 35 are more likely to purchase pro-refugee brands.
This paper uses original data to examine whether and how private sector groups, such as the Tent Partnership for Refugees, are effectively able to intervene as advocates for the economic and associational inclusion of refugees across a variety of local and national political environments.The findings suggest strong potential for building resilience against harsh political climates in host communities through the intervention of pro-refugee consumer coalitions.
Alexander Ray, SOAS, University of London
The ‘politics of practice’ in shaping contemporary trends of integration in East African refugee policy-making
At a time when the Global North has become increasingly restrictive in its governance of human mobilities, many countries in East Africa are engaging in processes of policy-making and programme design which support the integration of refugees into host communities and wider society. Drawing on research conducted by the author in Kenya, Uganda, and Switzerland between October 2017 and January 2019 this paper examines the role of political and institutional scale in shaping the governance dynamics of refugee protection and assistance in relation to South Sudanese displacement in an East African context. This is achieved through the adoption of the ‘politics of practice’ approach which understands power as relational and strategic. Through this lens it becomes apparent that the current direction of refugee policy-making in East Africa has been shaped through a series of interconnected and iterative strategies including brokerage, bargaining, knowledge production, and appeals to positions of moral authority and legitimacy which occur both between and inside scales. This is elucidated through exploration of how the motivations behind the engagement with Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and attempts to bridge the humanitarian–development divide can be understood as both engaging with and challenging power dynamics between the Global North and Global South.
Rodziana Mohamed Razali, McGill University
Interrogating Inclusion and Integration of Protracted Refugees in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian countries continue to serve as origin, transit and destination countries for refugees within and outside the region. The absence of a common asylum policy framework means that matters relating to treatment and protection of refugees fall almost exclusively within the domaine reserve of States. On the basis of strong consciousness of racial-cultural, economic and security boundaries, legal framework for recognition and protection of refugees, and a long-term solution via their local integration have
been politically ruled out in host countries. Against protracted exile and relatively de facto integration of such refugees in major host countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, the preferred solutions persistently lie in the tired narrow paths of resettlement and repatriation. Both national authorities and ASEAN remain intransigent in envisioning productive long-term policy considerations through meaningful inclusion of this vulnerable group, leading to underinvestment in their potentials to contribute toward bridging labour market gaps and sustainable development. This paper seeks to explore why should the exclusive regional perspective on this issue in the region be shifted in favour of a more encompassing and constructive refugee management paradigm that could optimally improve its impact on the home countries. It tries to foster this outlook by leveraging the ‘people-centred’ ASEAN Community, the fledgling human rights framework of ASEAN and revival of the responsibility-sharing framework for a proper and durable integration, protection and stability in the context of diverse mixed migration terrain in Southeast Asia.
Sean Rehaag, York University
Northern Triangle Refugee Claimants in Canada’s New Refugee Determination System
Asylum seekers from Northern Triangle states (Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador) have featured prominently in the news and in public debates in recent years. Much of the discussion has centred on US responses to such asylum seekers, responses that have often characterized these asylum seekers as economic migrants rather than refugees.
Thus far, however, there has been relatively little attention paid to how Northern Triangle asylum seekers have engaged with Canadian refugee processes or how they may (or may not) qualify for refugee protection under Canadian law. Nor has much attention been paid to how Canadian and US refugee law and policy may diverge with regard to this group of asylum seekers.
This paper seeks to help inform ongoing debates about Northern Triangle asylum seekers through an empirical examination of their experience with Canada’s revised refugee determination system. The paper draws on quantitative data about refugee determination outcomes from 2013 to 2017, as well as qualitative examinations of all Refugee Appeal Division and Federal Court decisions involving such asylum seekers during the same period. As the paper shows, around two thirds of refugee claimants from Northern Triangle states whose claims were processed under Canada’s revised refugee determination process successfully obtained protection. Moreover, while the caselaw demonstrates that there are some hurdles that Northern Triangle refugee claimants regularly confront in Canadian refugee determinations, there are legal strategies that can assist in surmounting those hurdles.
Given these findings, the paper argues that public debate about Northern Triangle asylum seekers must be attentive to the reality that most such asylum seekers would qualify for refugee protection in Canada.
Monica Reyes, Old Dominion University
Integrating Knowledges: Rhetorical Ecology as a Collaborative Methodological Approach within a Shelter Community for People Seeking Asylum
The methodologies associated with rhetorical ecology theory value tracing how meaning is constructed and circulated through a variety of material and local interactions among networks of human, nonhuman, and technological bodies often within specific material or abstract sites. This paper discusses the promise of rhetorical ecology theory as a methodology in integrating various knowledges in specific contexts of displacement because it approaches contexts as varied and shifting, composed of narratives, events, people/ staff, materials, and policies with which people who are seeking asylum must collaborate in order to resettle.
I will discuss how this methodological approach has been meaningful in my current work with residents and staff at a temporary shelter for people seeking asylum on the south Texas border.
Myriam Richard, Roxane Caron, Université de Montréal
(Re)consider and (re)define the vulnerabilities of refugee women: transnational perspectives on Syrian refugee women’s exile pathways in Lebanon and Canada
Around the world today, half of the refugees are women (IOM, 2018). However, women experience gender-specific realities even after reaching an apparently safe place (Fiddian-Qasmieh, 2014). If the gendered reality of the “experience of exile and refuge” is often overshadowed by broader migration issues, women as a group are particularly affected by disasters and wars. They are more exposed to diseases, precarious living conditions, high stress and various forms of violence (Freedman et al., 2017; Amnesty International, 2014). That being said, when facing this precarious context, many refugee women also seize new adaptation and resistance opportunities that bring some of them to renegotiate their identities (Caron, 2012, Wells & Kuttiparambil, 2016). At the humanitarian level, gender thus appears as a critical factor in understanding and operationalizing the concept of vulnerability, thus conditioning eligibility to resettlement as well as assistance and support services for refugees (Freedman et al., 2017, Janmyr and Mourad, 2018).
On the basis of a qualitative research project rooted in an intersectional feminist perspective (Hill and Bilge, 2016), a broader transnational approach (Mohanty, 2003, Moosa Mitha and Ross Sheriff, 2010) is used to understand refugee women’s exile pathways in Lebanon and Canada (Quebec) (Caron, FRQSC-2017-2020). This paper has two objectives: 1) to show that, beyond the discourse on the complexity of the realities women face in situations of exile and refuge, they nonetheless go through these experiences individually and while being rooted in a local context. Taking into account their journeys within these specific contexts helps us uncover some of the issues structuring their needs, desires or worldviews, etc. It also allows us to go beyond the vulnerabilities associated with their “refugee status” (Malkki, 1995); 2) Moreover, the transnational perspective at the core of the project reveals cross-cutting strategies that transcend national contexts, informing us of the ways we could (re)consider and (re)define the vulnerabilities refugee women face, and ultimately inform local and international practices aimed at supporting them.
Genevieve Ritchie, OISE/UT
Colliding Realities: Canadian Colonial Occupation and Forced Migration
My ongoing research with refugee youth from the Middle East and North Africa seeks to understand the lived realities of young people as they transition from warzones and resettle in Toronto, Canada. In the early phases of this research I noticed that young people often articulate multicultural democracy as true and universal liberty. That is to say a place where one can be free to express individual desires in term of culture, religion, sexuality, or personal desire. Absent from these narrations of freedom, however, is a historical understanding of the ways in which racialized communities fought against Eurocentric immigration policies, made claims for resources, and struggled against economic inequality. Moreover, while some young refugees had a vague sense that many Indigenous peoples live in remote and impoverished communities, their experiences of resettlement had not alerted them to the fact that Canada is a settler-colonial nation. Having concrete experiences of displacement and dispossession these young people are eager to understand the realities of inequality in Canada, and yet they had not been given the tools to make sense of the ways in which Canada is a racially and economically divided society – a reality that informs and co-ordinates their resettlement experiences. Responding to Indigenous erasures and static notions of multicultural inclusion, I am collating resources for English language instruction that begin with the global and local realities of colonial occupation, social expulsion, and resistance.
Glenda Santana de Andrade, CRESPPA-GTM (Université Paris 8)/ IC Migrations
(Non)Fitting-in : The case of Syrian Refugees in urban spaces in Turkey and Jordan
The number of displaced people worldwide has reached unprecedented levels. Since 2011, only with the conflict in Syria, 5,5 million people have had to leave the territory. They have sought refuge in different places, notably in the neighbours Turkey and Jordan. Whenever refugees arrive, there are pertinent questions about how they will or not fit to the new society, notably in sensitive contexts. These processes have been studied before through different exemples, primarily as forms of acculturation and assimilation, highly contested nowadays. More recently, notably in the humanitarian field, integration has been used as the key world to describe this process, as programs to promote integration are being developed and implemented by different organisations in the host communities. As the other two terms, “integration” has also been criticised, although yet very used, as unidirectional. Recognising the weakness of these terms, but without miss-considering the importance of the refugee experience in exile, notably the process of adapting in the new society, this paper proposes to analyse how Syrians are “being made” into people who could fit; and how by their own agency they are engaging themselves in “making it” a place for them in the new location. Without neglecting the violence, whether symbolic or not, that they may suffer in this process, this study proposes to analyse the case of Syrians living in Turkey and Jordan. The urban refugee experience of (non)fitting-in will be the object of this paper. In order to analyse this process, this study is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with Syrian refugees in both countries. The interviews were conducted in several cities, with different profiles of Syrians in 2016 and 2017. This methodology is complemented by a more anthropological / ethnological approach ; in particular, accompanying the work of international organisations and local NGOs; observing spaces; making visits to neighbourhoods, houses of families; engaging in discussions and conversations around an ordinary tea.
Mary Rose Geraldine Sarausad, Asian Institute of Technology
Short-term Policies in Response to Temporary Labour Migration: The Case of Thailand
Thailand has been, for many years, a destination for thousands of unauthorized migrants, from neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Cambodia. For several years, it has also seen a rising trend in the number of foreigner workers coming from other countries or regions outside of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region like the Philippines and Bangladesh, creating political and management challenges for the government. Moreover, the country has been undergoing rapid transformation, as it is becoming more and more developed and interconnected with other countries. With these changes, Thailand has become dependent on unskilled or low-skilled foreign labour in addressing high labour costs and labour shortages, promoting the need for cheap labour from poor countries. However, hundreds of thousands of these workers are undocumented, were smuggled or trafficked into the country. The government has been trying to register undocumented workers through its National Verification Process (NVP) and admitted new migrant workers under the MOUs with other countries. However, many remained unregistered or irregular mainly because of the high costs involved and complex recruitment procedures. Thus, its response to the migration problems was seen as ineffective, conflicting and fragmented because it failed to curtail the expansion of the smuggling or trafficking of irregular migrants into the country, placing them in debt bondage, forced labour and exploitative conditions.
John Shields, Ryerson University
Resilience and the Canadian Non-profit Migrant Settlement System: Challenges and Opportunities for Newcomer Integration
Resilience has been defined as “the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require” (Akbar 2017, ii). Successful migrant settlement requires the individual resilience of newcomers and institutional resilience from the organizations and communities that support migrants. This is particularly the case for non-profit settlement agencies that have been the back bone of the Canadian system of newcomer integration. This settlement approach has been well regarded internationally as a government funded community-centred way of supporting immigrants and refugees in their settlement needs and in fostering integration into Canadian society. Such non-profit agencies have been resilient organizations that have been adept at addressing changing migrant needs. However, this settlement system has been under stress in more recent years due to the long term negative impacts of neoliberal restructuring which has pushed non-profit settlement agencies to do more with ever less and worked to mute their advocacy role. This work examines the challenges and opportunities faced by these agencies and the migrants they serve, drawing an assessment of their state of their well-being and prospects for the future of the Canadian migrant settlement system.
Amanda Siino, York University (Alumni)
Livelihood Strategies of Displaced Independent Eritrean Youth in Cairo — Examining Agency and Vulnerability
Eritrea is one of the largest refugee producing countries, as many exit to escape arduous National Service (Amnesty International 2015). Egypt is an important transit country for Eritreans, with the majority settling in Cairo. Based on fieldwork with displaced independent Eritrean youths in Cairo from May-August 2017, this paper applies the livelihoods framework to independent displaced youths to study their agentic capabilities, amidst vulnerability. A livelihoods framework enables an understanding of youth’s interaction with Egyptian society beyond economic participation, but through their ability to negotiate access to social, institutional, and financial resources. One main finding from this research is that youths are primarily able to negotiate their livelihoods through their housemates, who are often those they met ‘en route’ from Eritrea to Cairo. Furthermore, their housemates are frequently their only source of support, regardless of their ability to provide adequate support. Thus, youth’s ability to manage the various forms of exclusion they experience in Egypt can be alleviated or exacerbated by the ability of their housemates to do so. Despite the experiences of vulnerability of independent displaced youths, mainly determined by their security context, they enact agency in managing their access to resources and negotiation of life in Cairo.
Stephanie Silverman, University of Ottawa
Profiling Risk at the Canadian Border
This paper is taken from a larger research project on how Canadian government officials assess ‘risks’ posed by border-crossers travelling on foot from the United States. These paper-based tools are the Canada Border Service Agency’s National Risk Assessment Device for decision-making on arrests and transfers to detention centres, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s unnamed survey administered primarily at the Roxham Road informal crossing. We apply social and cultural theories of risk to analysing these documents. Our analysis reveals that the documents conflate multiple and at times contradictory definitions of ‘risk’, perceptions of what constitutes risk and evaluations of uncertainty as it relates to perceived risks in the context of detention. This paper will provide an overview of the tools and discuss the lens as well as two results from our analysis. Our discussion will then zoom out to put our analysis into the larger conversation on surveillance, risk management, and securitization of certain bodies at the border. This conversation also bears some interesting implications about the continuing relevance of the ‘paper border’ in an increasingly digitized and technology-oriented environment.
James C. Simeon, York University
People in Limbo. The NonIntegration of those who are deemed to be Undesirable but Non-Returnable
There are various categories of persons who are in “legal limbo” and who are unable to regularize their status in Canada and, accordingly, can never be integrated within Canadian society. However, the person still has a well-founded fear of being persecuted should they return to their country of nationality or former habitual residence. In short, the person cannot receive refugee status and cannot be returned to their country of nationality or former habitual residence and, as a consequence, have no legal status while they remain in Canada. Anyone who is caught in a state of “legal limbo” in Canada will not be able to fully integrate into Canadian society. This paper will consider the various categories of persons in “legal limbo” in Canada and the various policy options that could be considered to regularize their status in Canada in order to provide them with the opportunity to integrate into society.
Gustavo Simões, UFRR – Universidade Federal de Roraima
Governance of the Venezuelan Immigration in Brazil: The role of the Federal University of Roraima
This paper seeks to examine the extent to which the governance structure for migration in the state of Roraima follows a global scheme process, led by international agencies in loco, which comes from a top-bottom perspective. It also analyzes whether the Federal University of Roraima (UFRR), as a local actor in this governance, fits this global scheme and seeks to report all activities developed by the university between 2016 and 2018.
To accomplish these goals, the paper is divided into four sections. An introduction that analyzes the concepts, theoretical framework of governance and a context of Venezuelan immigration to Roraima. Next, the next section will address the actors and their roles in the governance of Venezuelan immigration in Roraima. The third part will talk about the role of UFRR in this issue and how it relates to this top-down scheme of governance. Finally, the conclusion section will aim to systematize the work and answer the question : How this local actor (Federal University of Roraima) relates to the top-down scheme of governance in the immigration of Venezuelans in Brazil?
Amy Soberano, Access Alliance
Integration and Health: Understanding Connection between Access to Education and Mental Health
I will be exploring the concept of integration through a framework that positions access and inclusion as fundamental social determinants of mental health for newcomer communities. For the purposes of this panel, I will focus in particular on the relationship between mental health and access to meaningful educational opportunities among people navigating the process of integration with precarious immigration status. As a front-line mental health worker, I will be reflecting both on the practice-based evidence I’ve observed in my clinical work with migrant communities, as well as findings from a textbook chapter I co-authored entitled Precarious Status: Youth Mental Health at the Intersections of Identity and Migration.
Stephanie Stobbe, Menno Simons College (a College of CMU), located at the University of Winnipeg
Integration of Refugees in Canadian Communities: Lessons Learned from the Southeast Asian Refugee Movement
Between the late 1970s and early 1990s, the Mennonites have been instrumental in resettling refugees from Southeast Asia. In fact, Mennonite Central Committee signed the first umbrella agreement in 1979 with the Government of Canada to oversee the private sponsorship of refugees. Between 1979 and 1980, Canada took in over 60,000 Southeast Asian (Indochinese) refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, making it the most successful resettlement movement in Canadian history. Overall, the resettlement and integration processes have been successful. How do Mennonites support sponsorship and resettlement of refugees? What are the most important services and assistance required by refugees for successful integration? What lessons can be learned from these experiences that are helpful as Mennonites and other communities continue to sponsor refugees from Syria, Iraq, and other countries? This paper explores the criteria for successful refugee integration and areas for improvements as Canadians respond to the plight of refugees around the world.
Dina Taha, York University
Ethical Reflexivity and Decolonizing Refugee Research: Reflections from the Field
In this presentation, I propose reflexivity, or asking how the researcher position and positionality implicates the research process and the researcher’s interpretations, as a tool not only to sustain rigorous methodological and empirical practices but also as means to decolonizing research. I build on Guillemin and Gillam (2004) process of ethical reflexivity – which they have used to trace and reflect on the everyday ethical issues arising in the field as opposed to procedural ethics. I aim to extend the notion of ethical reflexivity to unravel how research can further marginalize the “Othered” stories by replicating colonial assumptions and reinforcing hegemonic discourses. In addition to reflecting on microethics or ethics in practice, ethical reflexivity thus should strive for a more egalitarian research experience which ensures that the researcher’s interpretations are not made in isolation from the research participants, their worldviews and ways of knowing. I reflect on examples and interactions with my respondents during my fieldwork in 2017, where I interviewed Syrian refugee women in Egypt who married Egyptian men often as a coping strategy.
Sandra Trebunia, University of Lincoln
Getting settled and negotiating identities: refugee women’s experiences in Sao Paulo
This study analyses the settlement challenges faced by refugee women in Brazil, and how social workers and NGOs can best support them as they settle in urban areas. Drawing on six months of fieldwork in 2017 with refugee women and practitioners in Sao Paulo, it enhances understanding of refugee experiences and policy/practice responses in the Global South. A qualitative approach was utilised: interviews with refugee women (n=17) and social work practitioners (n=16); six photo-elicited interviews with women to provide visual data about everyday life; and, ethnographic observations at 13 events with and for refugee women.
Although Brazil has an ‘open-door policy’ to refugees, there is limited state support to meet their social and economic needs. Refugee women are therefore expected to immediately integrate into the labour market. The research highlights that women need to be adaptive and creative while rebuilding their lives. By exploring women’s daily struggles, activism and speech practices, this study engages with the debates about agency. The question on how to think about refugee women’s agency allows to critically reflect on the existing settlement policies and practices. The paper concludes that further consideration is needed to develop programmes that recognise and value women’s identities, priorities and skills.
Jeanique Tucker, University of Alberta
Finding a Migration Integration Strategy That Works: A Critique of Canada’s Neoliberal Measures for Refugee Integration.
Canada’s private sponsorship program is one whereby individuals or smaller community groups take responsibility for managing the movement and settlement of refugees. This kind of initiative has grown, in large part because the state claims to find the cost of government sponsorship too high. Although it is generally understood as a humanitarian solution to the violence of precarious migration across conflict zones, it must also be understood as an economic as well as political project which mobilizes narratives of grassroots civic engagement to deepen the stronghold of neoliberal ideologies within the capitalist social relations. I argue that private sponsorship contributes to the depoliticization of migration and resettlement thereby making it more difficult for newcomers to be critically conscious of their experiences of dispossession and downward mobility. Although refugee resettlement appears as a humanitarian response to war and displacement, it simultaneously orients social consciousness towards the expansive project of social reproduction and individualizing wellbeing.
This logic is evident in the ways integration is measured, with economic stability being treated as the primary marker of success. As Jacques Derrida points out though, with his theory of hospitality, integration is best measured through a shared sense of place and belonging. This requires actively deploying a migrant integration strategy that considers economic, social, political and cultural factors in measuring success and by extension ensuring that success. One step in forming these new measures is to look at the logic driving the current refugee policies and finding alternate logics that may better serve the displaced.
Luna Vives, Université de Montréal; Kira Williams, University of Waterloo
Unaccompanied and separated migrant children in the Mediterranean: a preliminary analysis of the data
Unaccompanied and separated migrant children (USMC) are arguably the migrant group most vulnerable to violence and exploitation. Consequently, and by their condition as children, they are accorded the highest degree of protection in international, regional, and national legal frameworks; however, in a context where states securitize and criminalize international migration, these protections are rapidly eroding. This is happening as the number of USMC increases, both because of a growth in independent child migration and because anti-immigration policies at the border separate children from their caregivers. This paper marks the beginning of an investigation to document the merging of USMC into the larger group of unwanted migrants in the Mediterranean region. In this paper, we will test the reliability, validity, and representativeness of the data obtained from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and Eurostat. Considering the limitations of the data, we will try to reconstruct USMC journeys across the Mediterranean border and into the EU. This information will be completed at a later stage with qualitative data from state security forces, policymakers, youth protection agencies, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations on both sides of the Mediterranean border.
Kira Williams, Wilfrid Laurier University
(Un)making the Refugee via Emplotment: Statistical Narration of Interdicted Migrant Histories in the Central Mediterranean Sea, 2006 to 2015
State border enforcement practices attempt to frame the existence of groups as refugees and produce actionable knowledge to maintain existing social hierarchies; however, few migration scholars consider how authorities construct these ontologies. This paper explores the (un)making of refugees interdicted in the Central Mediterranean Sea between 2006 and 2015 to address this gap, tracing the (un)making of the refugee via emplotment. I analyse emplotment using operational documents and practices, especially interrogation and incident reporting, from Frontex. I map how Frontex (1) identifies and describes interdicted migrants, (2) structures who gives and receives refugee status, and (3) explains why interdicted migrants do or do not receive refugee status. I find that Frontex emplots interdicted migrants in a way which makes it nearly impossible to be(come) a refugee and that this outcome is part of a wider process generating social, political and spatial exclusion.
Elke Winter, Anke Patzelt, University of Ottawa
Claims Making in the Context of the Refugee Crisis. A German Canadian Comparison
2015 and 2016 were among the most turbulent in recent history of refugee movements in the Western world. The Syrian conflict generated massive flows of people seeking refuge in Germany and elsewhere. About 1 million refugees/asylum seekers literally marched to Germany’s doorstep and Canada, despite its remote location, has resettled over 53,620 Syrian refugees. In this paper, we examine public claims in the context of the “refugee crisis” in Germany and Canada. At the local level, the integration of forced migrants appears driven by similar concerns, with solutions for refugee integration and opposition to refugee acceptance varying according to national and local opportunity structures. Concentrating on the Rhein-Neckar Region around Heidelberg in Germany, as well as the National Capital Region in Canada, we analyse which actors make claims (heard in public space), what claims are made (for, against, or by refugees), as well as who is targeted by these claims.
Katya Yefimova, University of Washington
Inclusion through design: Library programming for migrants and refugees
For migrants and refugees, libraries serve as an important source of information about their new community, as well as a place to access language classes, job readiness support, and children’s programming. Integration is the explicit goal of these services. While valuable, these services do not account for the full complexity of experiences of migrants and refugees. This limitation is significant because libraries strive to be places where communities come together. I argue that a shift in focus from integration to social inclusion can address this limitation. The concept of social inclusion describes how individuals are prevented from participating in societies where they live. Promoting social inclusion means creating opportunities for individuals to exercise agency, making meaningful decisions about what is valuable for themselves and their communities. I share how a design approach in library programming can facilitate this shift in focus. While design evades simple definition, a design approach involves creating something that does not yet exist in the world, with the intent to improve the current state. I discuss examples of design encounters and activities used in libraries to foster social inclusion for migrants and refugees. I suggest strategies for incorporating the activities in other research and practice settings.
Julie Young, University of Lethbridge
Claiming Refuge at the Canada US Border in the Trump Trudeau Era
In September 2017, Member of Parliament Pablo Rodriguez was sent to Los Angeles to dissuade additional arrivals of US-based asylum seekers at the Canada-US border. This was part of a wider information campaign organized by the Canadian government responding to what has been presented as a moment of “crisis” at the border, where there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people crossing “irregularly” from the US to make a claim for refugee status in Canada. This situation has been influenced by the heightened anti-immigration rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration and exacerbated by the existing Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, which inadvertently incentivizes irregular entry. In this paper, I emphasize the importance of the longer histories and wider geopolitics of contested border crossings and refugee deterrence practices around the Canada-US boundary line as crucial to understanding this contemporary moment of crisis at the border.
Jona Zyfi, University of Toronto
The use of AI in immigrant and refugee processes
In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the use of artificial intelligence to assist in the immigration and refugee process. Biometrics, in particular, have the potential to positively assist refugees, for example by establishing their identities. However, there are also a variety of ethical, legal and procedural concerns with how they are being used by States, particularly at the border. Biometrics refers to biological measurements and calculations. These typically include fingerprints, facial characteristics and iris scans, but it can also include what is referred to as invisible markers such as voice recognition or technology behaviour patterns. The aim of this paper is to outline the main concerns – privacy, misidentification and stigmatization – regarding the application of biometrics to refugees through a critical race lens.