Determining the Number of Refugees to be Resettled in the United States: An Ethical and Human Rights

Project Status:

Recently Completed Projects

Lead Faculty:

L. Rubenstein; P. Spiegel; D. Server; G. Govind; N. Singh

The Trump Administrations proposals to suspend admission of refugees for resettlement and considerably reduce the total number of refugees brought to the United States has raised questions concerning refugee resettlement and national security, the U.S. role in resolving the global refugee crisis, and U.S. obligations to provide a home to people fleeing violence and persecution. This project explores the critical and related question about policy, ethical and human rights considerations in determining how to make decisions on the number of refugees admitted. We propose to explore this question by 

a) Conducting a literature review on policy questions concerning the refugee program and ethical and human rights considerations relevant to refugee resettlement and the determination of numbers of people to be admitted; 
b) Engaging in approximately 15 key informant interviews to ascertain how numbers of refugees accepted for resettlement have been determined in the recent past; the interviews will be conducted with former Assistant Secretaries for Population, Refugees, and Migration in the U.S. State Department, senior congressional staff, leaders of refugee resettlement and advocacy organizations, and refugee experts from think tanks and academia;
c) Analyzing the results of the interviews to identify key themes;
d) Proposing relevant ethics and human rights frameworks to apply to determinations of numbers of refugees admitted for resettlement, taking into account the empirical evidence yielded by the key informant interviews and literature reviews;
e) Seeking feedback from initial proposals from experts and discussions within JHSPH, the Berman Institute of Bioethics and SAIS;
f) Writing an article for publication about our findings and recommendations;
g) Dissemination of our findings and recommendations to policy makers directly and through public events at JHSPH and SAIS


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