Narratives of refugee resettlement workers: The impact of recent policy changes on refugee resettlement
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This descriptive case study captured the narratives of seven refugee resettlement workers in Texas to examine the impacts of refugee policy changes upon them and their organizations. The research questions were: (a) How do refugee resettlement workers describe the effects of recent refugee policies on their practice and their lives? (b) What changes do the study’s participants report in their refugee resettlement organizations? and, (c) What can be concluded about the state of refugee resettlement in Texas and in the nation? Data collected through interviews, artifacts, and a researcher’s journal were examined using paradigmatic analysis. Study findings showed a significant negative impact of current policies on refugee resettlement. The Trump administration has appreciably reduced refugee admissions and funding while promulgating anti-immigrant rhetoric. The reductions in refugee admissions and funding have resulted in downsizing, uncertainty, knowledge loss, and structural stress within resettlement organizations, with smaller agencies closing. Resettlement workers, often, former refugees themselves, expressed concern and distress regarding their futures and the futures of their clients. The tight coupling of refugee resettlement policies with resettlement organizations and workers via government agreements make them unusually sensitive to policy changes. Contributions to adult education and policy-making with recommendations for resettlement organizations are provided.