Department or Program



Even though the United States adopted the U.N.’s definition for asylum seekers and refugees as individuals facing “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group” (S.643 - Refugee Act of 1979) with the Refugee Act of 1980, policies intended to enforce this commitment have not been evenly implemented. This thesis examines the variations in the implementation of United States asylum and refugee policies in the post-Cold War era to determine what drives these variations. Broadly, I propose that the variation is best understood in light of U.S. foreign policy. Specifically, I expect that U.S. national security interests, bilateral relations, and economic dependence on the countries of origin of asylum and refugee seekers play an overlooked role in how the government implements asylum and refugee policy. To evaluate this proposition, I analyze quantitative admissions data for applicants from refugee producing countries, as well as data that measure foreign relations between the U.S. and the sending state.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Perez-Armendariz, Clarisa

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.