Document Type



Master of Arts



First Adviser

Yuping Zhang


Recent United States policies under the Trump administration have severely restricted refugee resettlement efforts, despite an increased rate of displaced people worldwide. This study explores how refugee resettlement in Pennsylvania has changed in the wake of Trump-era policies and how resettlement agencies and communities have responded to policy changes. Literature indicates that refugees offer an overall benefit to communities, so a significant loss of refugees is expected to harm communities. A survey of Pennsylvania resettlement agencies and a content analysis of news articles in five key resettlement regions (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown/Scranton, Harrisburg/Lancaster, and Erie) finds that resettlement has seen challenges in the wake of policy changes. Resettlement agencies face layoffs and closure due to a low number of arrivals, refugees see longer wait times and family separation, and resettlement is failing to offset population loss in cities which have traditionally used refugees to boost their economies. However, despite a change in national rhetoric, security concerns, and residents’ otherwise politically conservative views, Pennsylvania communities have all continued to show strong support for refugee resettlement efforts. This study recommends a set of standardized federal resettlement policies to protect resettlement agencies and communities from drastic fluctuations in policy as administrations change.

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Sociology Commons