Publication Date



43 p. ; An outstanding student paper selected as a Honors Paper.


This paper first examines the history of American refugee policy and the origins of the Overseas Refugee Program. An overview of the structure of the program follows, with an example of how it was applied to Iraqi refugees after the Gulf War. Then, I will present the key influences affecting the United States refugee policy: humanitarian concerns, domestic concerns including special interest groups and public opinion, and foreign policy. Next I will present a critique of the current politically motivated system. Finally, I propose suggested reforms including the establishment of an independent board to make annual determinations regarding refugee admissions; or giving federal courts the authority to determine grant refugee status based on the general condition of the originating country and the particular circumstances of the refugee, or allowing the executive to maintain its authority to determine refugee policy, but to rely less on foreign policy criteria to make its determinations and more on humanitarian concerns.


University of New Mexico School of Law

Document Type

Student Paper



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