This special issue of Advances in Social Work focuses on current challenges and best practices with migrants and refugees, in an increasingly difficult global context. Over the past decade, forced migration and displacement reached record numbers, while complex geopolitical, economic, and environmental factors contributed to escalating current challenges. International human rights and migration laws provide a framework too narrow and too limited for these recent developments. Political pressure and a growing identity crisis add to the xenophobia and climate of fear, in which security has in some cases become the primary rationale underpinning rapidly changing migration policies. Social work as a profession – in education and practice – has an important (if largely unfulfilled) role to play in advancing the human rights of migrants and refugees. In this commentary, we outline the macro contexts that shape social work practice with migrants and refugees, highlighting the great potential for social work to do much more to advance the rights and interests of those fleeing conflict, economic or natural disasters, or other upheavals.