The US Refugee Resettlement Program — A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States

Report Author: 
Donald Kerwin
Original Date of Publication: 
August, 2018

The United States has historically welcomed refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries who have since increased the cultural diversity, economic competitiveness and security of their adopted homeland. Since 1980 alone, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) has resettled more than three million refugees in the U.S. However, the Trump administration has drastically reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. (45,000 in 2018) and slashed USRAP’s budget as part of its broader effort to limit legal immigration. A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States shows how the refugee resettlement program serves U.S. interests and values, details the contributions refugees make to the U.S. society and economy and provides evidence that refugees are valuable assets to the U.S. This report uses data from the American Community Survey to analyze the demographics, achievements and integration of over one million refugees. Findings indicate that refugees participate in the labor force, start businesses and earn college degrees at high rates. For example, 68 percent of refugees participate in the labor force, compared to 63 percent of the total U.S. population. In addition, a higher percentage of refugees are self-employed, indicating that they create more jobs than non-refugees. Given the value of refugees to American society, as well as the need for U.S leadership to address the global crisis of displaced persons, the author suggests that individuals and organizations should facilitate refugee resettlement as well as advocate for generous refugee admissions to members of Congress. (Deb D’Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Citation: 

Kerwin, D. (2018). The US Refugee Resettlement Program — A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States. Journal of Migration and Human Security, 6(3), 204-224. https://doi.org/10.1177/2331502418787787

Source Organization: 
Center for Migration Studies
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