Resettlement Policy and the Well-Being of Refugees in the U.S.: Are Political and Economic Incorporation Enough?
Resettlement invokes the normative dilemma of whether it is better to have a resource intensive program that can only manage to take a small volume of refugees each year or to offer resettlement to a large number of refugees but with a paucity of support. U.S. resettlement follows the latter model, welcoming more refugees each year than all other countries of resettlement combined. Nevertheless, in order to incorporate such a large volume of new arrivals, the U.S. emphasizes political and economic incorporation at the expense of cultural and linguistic integration (Lanphier 1983). By outlining refugees’ “balance of rights and responsibilities” (Kymlicka and Norman 1994:360), the U.S. government actively shapes their political and economic inclusion, teaching them the terms of their membership. Through participant observation and interviews, this paper will critically examine how well top down policy aligns with the needs of refugees as they adapt to their new environment.
Kymlicka, Will and Wayne Norman. 1994. “Return of the Citizen: A Survey of Recent Work on Citizenship Theory.” Ethics, 104(2):352-381.
Lanphier, Michael C. 1983. "Refugee Resettlement: Models in Action." International Migration Review, 17(1): 4-33.