Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

International Studies

First Advisor

Eric Nigh

Abstract

Amid a global refugee crisis defined by the highest levels of displaced persons on record, Wyoming is the single state in the U.S. without a Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP). Wyoming “exceptionalism” in this regard is an affront to America’s traditional role as the leader in refugee admissions and human rights advocacy dating back the mid 1940s. The purpose of this article is to establish a framework for Welcome Wyoming’s initiative to create an RRP. This article proceeds by laying bare the various models of refugee resettlement, and then selects the appropriate model considering the political climate, funding practicalities, and the federal Refugee Admissions Program structure. Simply put, this is a state-specific, how-to guide of developing an RRP from start to finish. In brief, I suggest that Welcome Wyoming become a non-profit 501(c)(3) and pursue a local affiliate relationship with one of the 9 federally recognized refugee resettlement volunteer agencies (VOLAGS). Welcome Wyoming should then work to join the Wilson Fish program through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, thereby establishing a funding source for resettlement services. Refugee resettlement is politically charged, legally complex and administratively challenging. Above all else, however, it is the right thing to do. It is high time that Wyoming joins the global community and helps shoulder the responsibility to protect human rights, providing an option for safe, reliable, and productive refugee resettlement.

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