Financial Integration of Refugees in Dallas, Texas

By Julie Zollmann, Airokhsh Faiz-Qaisary, Kenza Ben-Azouz, Kim Wilson, and Radha Rajkotia. Refugees resettled in the United States are typically supported quite closely early in their transition as support agencies help them settle into new homes, open bank accounts, get their first jobs, and register their children in school. Agencies monitor whether refugees are “self-sufficient,” meaning that their incomes cover their most essential expenses as quickly as possible. However, little is known about the next stage of refugees’ financial and economic transitions, once refugees are no longer interacting regularly with resettlement agencies. In July 2018, we interviewed 29 refugees who had been resettled two to three years earlier to understand the phases of their financial transition and identify possible opportunities to accelerate refugees’ financial gains.

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“I’m the Everything”: The Overlooked Heroism of Refugee Youth in the United States

By Julie Zollmann. Nine voluntary agencies have the official responsibility for resettling refugees into communities throughout the United States. They find their clients new housing, schools, and jobs. They help them get social security numbers and open bank accounts. They play an indispensable role in helping refugees settle into their new homes. But the work of integration, of truly building a life in a new country with a new language, new transportation system, new labor market, and a whole new set of social norms is a much bigger job, one that in many families is being done stoically, even heroically, by young refugees in their teens and early twenties.

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Gaps in Policies, Chasms for Refugees

By Devang Shah, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
An open-door policy, free primary education, health care, monthly rations and cash. Sounds like a perfect policy recipe for integration of refugees with their local communities. However, for more than twenty years since Kebri Beyah camp was established, refugees living there are still financially unstable and far from integration. Why are the steps taken by various governmental and non-governmental organisations still proving ineffective? This essay attempts to answer this question by diving into the chasm between policy making and policy implementation for the case of the Somali region in Ethiopia. We will analyze which policies, programs, and initiatives have worked, which have not, and why.

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Learning to Live in Limbo

By Maria Teresa Nagel, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Starting in 2018, Central American migrants attempting to enter the United States have encountered a series of obstacles which have forced them to consider a longer stay in Tijuana, a circumstance which presents new and unanticipated challenges. This essay explores the new realities faced by Central American migrants, whose journeys were expected to end in the United States, but who have instead had their own odyssey truncated and paused indefinitely in Tijuana, Mexico.

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Origins and Outcomes: Migrant Integration in Uganda

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
In the United States, the postal code of one’s birthplace predicts more about one’s future than nearly any other factor. While interviewing refugees in Kampala and Bidi Bidi Camp, I found a parallel observation in which specific details of a refugee’s origin could predict their outcomes, particularly economic and locational outcomes. Refugees from similar places of origin tend to settle in similar locales. While this finding may be obvious to refugees and development organizations, the deterministic elements of a refugee’s place of origin do not seem to influence programming in the Uganda refugee context.

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What Lies Ahead? Navigating New Insecurities in Displacement

By Catherine Wanjala, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Uganda’s 1.4 million refugees have trekked into the country, fleeing violence and conflict in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, and other regional neighbors. They came to Uganda sometimes intentionally, sometimes merely following the crowd, but all looking for peace. Through in-depth interviews with 30 refugees in Kampala in August 2019, we found that many urban refugees have found only partial peace, continuing to confront insecurity in displacement. Their experiences and fears of violence are limiting their livelihoods opportunities, their interest in integration, and even their willingness to send their children to school.

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Economic Integration

This video draws on a case study of Uganda, where refugees move from their early arrival phase to coping long term with economic opportunities and set-backs. The information draws on Fletcher research in Uganda.

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Entrepreneurship Amidst Displacement

In this issue of Fresh FINDings we feature research from Jordan, led by Swati Mehta Dhawan of Katholische Universität Eichstätt

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