Refugee Realities: Between National Challenges and Local Responsibilities in Houston, TX
Digilov, Yan; Sharim, Yehuda; Wu, Jie
This report examines the U.S. refugee resettlement program and contextualizes legislation that forces employment within days of arrival at the cost of future prosperity. We explore the consequences of such a resettlement system on families who come after living in refugee camps for decades with dreams of a better life, and question the implications of a program that lacks long-term perspective. The report begins by juxtaposing public discourse on the impact of refugees with data that was available in its earliest foundations and moves on to discuss the ecosystem in Houston, Texas, which results from the rapid employment model. More specifically, we look closely into the last 37 years of government policy and explore how support for refugees plummeted over the years from an average of about $12,000 per capita in the 1980s to about $3,500 per capita in 2015, resulting in a system that places refugees into channels of cheap-labor, social isolation, political marginalization and collective silence.