Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[EQ] Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery

Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery:
A Case Study on U.S. Policy Options for Post-Earthquake Haiti


Royce Bernstein Murray and Sarah Petrin Williamson

CGD Working Paper 255. Washington, D.C.
Center for Global Development - June 2011



Available online PDF [60p.] at: http://bit.ly/lVomSy


“……..After a natural catastrophe in a developing country, international migration can play a critical role in recovery. But the United States has no systematic means to leverage the power and cost-effectiveness of international migration in its post-disaster assistance portfolios.


Victims of natural disasters do not qualify as refugees under U.S. or international law, and migration policy toward those fleeing disasters is set in a way that is haphazard and tightly constrained.


This paper comprehensively explores the legal means by which this could change, allowing the government more flexibility to take advantage of migration policy as one inexpensive tool among many tools for post-disaster assistance. It explores both the potential for administrative actions under current law and the potential for small changes to current law.


For concreteness, it focuses on the case of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but its policy lessons apply to future disasters that are sadly certain to arrive. The paper neither discusses nor recommends “opening the gates” to all disaster victims, just as current U.S. refugee law does not open the gates to all victims of persecution, but rather seeks to identify those most in need of protection and provide a legal channel for entry and integration into American life….”


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