The size and scope of the global forced migration crisis are unprecedented. Almost 66 million people worldwide have been forced from home by conflict. If recent trends continue, this figure could increase to between 180 and 320 million people by 2030. This global crisis already poses serious challenges to economic growth and risks to stability and national security, as well as an enormous human toll affecting tens of millions of people. These issues are on track to get worse; without significant course correction soon, the forced migration issues confronted today will seem simple decades from now. Yet, efforts to confront the crisis continue to be reactive in addressing these and other core issues. The United States should broaden the scope of its efforts beyond the tactical and reactive to see the world through a more strategic lens colored by the challenges posed—and opportunities created—by the forced migration crisis at home and abroad. CSIS convened a diverse task force in 2017 to study the global forced migration crisis. This report is a result of those findings.
Tom Ridge is cochair of the CSIS Task Force, former U.S. secretary of homeland security, and former governor of Pennsylvania. Gayle Smith is cochair of the CSIS Task Force, president of the ONE Campaign, and former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.