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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Constructing Second-Class Citizens: Refugee Resettlement in an "America First" Era
by Rahmati, Adela Dominique, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 91; 27955852
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the current reception of refugee women and Special Immigrant Visa Holders (SIVs) from Iraq and Afghanistan, in the United States, and provides a snapshot of their bureaucratic interactions with resettlement agencies, specifically with regard to job-seeking and securing employment. Data gathered through participant observation at two resettlement agencies (VOLAGs) in southern California outlines some of the institutional processes that structure the lives of persons who have been forced to seek protection in another country. These processes influence the trajectory of refugee lives, and barriers continue to impede their social and financial mobility and agency even after becoming naturalized American citizens. Barriers include: low income and lack of upward mobility, employer biases, discriminatory construction of the refugee, compounded axes of discrimination with regard to gender, nativist biases in online job application interfaces/design, Islamophobia, low English proficiency, and lack of social and/or human capital. Also discussed are the problematic “work first” policies of the welfare state and the emphasis of capital over humanitarianism and best practices. The structure and practice of U.S. resettlement is analyzed through a lens of nationalism and nativism; this work aims to show how nationalism further embeds social hierarchies, disempowers refugee women, and how second-class citizenship thrives in an “America First” regime.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Miller, Kara
Commitee: Klein, Wendy, Sharifi, Amir
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociology, Public policy, Social research, American studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Womens studies, International Relations, Labor relations, Political science
Keywords: Bureaucracy, Climate of reception, Employment security, Nationalism, Nativism, Refugee resettlement, Special Immigrant Visa Holders, Refugee women, Southern California, Iraq, Afghanistan, United States, Employer biases, Discrimination in the workplace, Low English proficiency, Second-class citizenship
Publication Number: 27955852
ISBN: 9798684675393
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