ISIM focuses on all aspects of international migration, including the causes and responses to population movements, immigration and refugee law and policy, comparative migration studies, immigrant integration in host societies, and the effects of international migration on social, economic, demographic, foreign policy, and national security concerns. ISIM also studies internal displacement, especially the forced migration of people moving for reasons that would make them political or environmental refugees if they crossed an international border.
ISIM conducts research and convenes symposia and conferences on U.S. immigration and refugee law and policies. It also undertakes comparative analysis of international migration issues affecting other countries, and of forced migration and responses to humanitarian emergencies.
ISIM is committed to building the next generation of international migration experts. It offers a certificate program for School of Foreign Service Masters students who have career interests in international migration and humanitarian issues. The certificate program prepares students to work in international migrant organizations, and in government and private agencies specializing in emergency relief, human rights and humanitarian activities. ISIM also provides work opportunities for students who work with faculty on various research projects.
ISIM forms partnerships with researchers at other U.S. and foreign universities to foster exchange of research and to undertake cooperative projects. It has an established Visiting Scholars program for academics and graduate students pursuing research on migration and refugee issues.