A lasting solution : examining the need for reform in the U.S. refugee resettlement program




Schmalz, Jennifer Theresa

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In the wake of massive displacement following World War II, the U.S. Congress passed the first U.S. refugee legislation, the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. In the years following 1948, the U.S. accepted refugees for resettlement through a patchwork of ad hoc policies. The cornerstone of the U.S. refugee resettlement program is the Refugee Act of 1980, the first legislation to define “refugee” and create a uniform procedure for admissions. Three agencies in separate federal agencies process participate in the resettlement program: the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in the State Department, the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security. Refugee resettlement is further segmented between the federal and local level as local nonprofit agencies provide the direct services associated with resettlement. This report examines the need for reform in the U.S. refugee resettlement program, with a focus on structural concerns. In particular, this report probes the transition from programs providing services overseas to those providing services on the domestic level. This examination is conducted through a literature review developed from recent academic literature. Additionally, the report will incorporate program evaluations, relevant legislation, and regulations from mixed sources, including academic literature, governmental documents and other public records.



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