• Ph.D. in History, University of Michigan, 1990
  • M.A. in History, University of Michigan, 1978
  • B.A. in History, Political Science and Psychology, Muskingum College, 1976
Research Areas
  • Immigration, Asylum and Citizenship
  • Legislative Development
  • Unemployment and Social Welfare
Teaching Areas
  • Policy Process and Institutions
  • Social Policy
  • Finance, Management and Leadership (including non-profits)

For more than 25 years, Ruth Wasem was a domestic policy specialist at the Congressional Research Service, part of the U.S. Library of Congress. In that capacity, she researched, wrote and led seminars on immigration and social welfare policies. She has testified before Congress about asylum policy and trends, human rights protections in immigration law, and the push-pull forces on unauthorized migration. Wasem earned master’s and doctor’s degrees in history at the University of Michigan, and she received her baccalaureate degree in history, political science and psychology from Muskingum University. Recent publications include “Tackling Unemployment: The Legislative Dynamics of the Employment Act of 1946” (Upjohn Institute Press, 2013) and “Welfare and Public Benefits” in American Immigration: An Encyclopedia of Political, Social, and Cultural Change, 2nd Edition, (M.E. Sharpe, 2014). She is currently writing a book about the history of the legislative drive to end race- and nationality-based immigration resulting in the Immigration Act of 1965. Wasem has received the John W. Kluge Fellowship and the Abba Schwartz Research Grant in support of this project. She initially joined the LBJ School faculty in 2012 as an adjunct professor in the Washington Center, teaching courses on immigration policy and policy development.


Media MentionJanuary 9, 2017
The blatant failings of America's asylum system

Ruth Wasem comments on immigration and the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

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Media MentionDecember 15, 2016
20 years ago, asylum seekers were not automatically put in immigration detention

Ruth Wasem comments on the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and resulting increases in immigration detention.

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Media MentionNovember 9, 2016
Immigrants fearful following election

Ruth Wasem comments on which of Trump's campaign promises he could potentially accomplish upon taking office.

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