Wasem, Ruth E. | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
Education
  • 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 Ellen Wasem was a domestic policy specialist at the U.S. Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service. She has testified before Congress about asylum policy, legal immigration trends, human rights, and the push-pull forces on unauthorized migration. Wasem earned master’s and doctoral degrees in history at the University of Michigan, largely funded by the Institute for Social Research. Wasem currently is engaged with a group of international scholars who are researching asylum and the rise of the political right, and she presented research papers focused on the U.S. context in Italy and Belgium over the summer of 2017. She is also writing a book about the legislative drive to end race- and nationality-based immigration. From this research, she has written "The Undertow of Reforming Immigration," for "A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: The U.S. in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965," (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming 2018). Other recent publications include "The US Visa Waiver Program: Facilitating Travel and Enhancing Security," (Chatham House, 2017), “Welfare and Public Benefits” in "American Immigration: An Encyclopedia of Political, Social, and Cultural Change," 2nd Edition, (M.E. Sharpe, 2014), and "Tackling Unemployment: The Legislative Dynamics of the Employment Act of 1946" (Upjohn Institute Press, 2013).

Media Expertise
  • Immigration

Newsworthy

NewsApril 17, 2019
Innovation Bound, the annual celebration of LBJ School policy research: April 23, 2019

Core to the LBJ School's mission is "getting it done" — developing solutions to policy problems through scholarship and public discourse. Every year, faculty and students take on research that melds the theoretical and the practical, exploring the world through hands-on field work and data analysis to address issues critical to the health of American democracy and global society. Innovation Bound celebrates the impact, quality and range of the published works of our distinguished scholars.

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NewsApril 11, 2019
The LBJ School at the Summit on Race in America

The LBJ School community of students, faculty, alumni and staff was proud to partake — on stage, in the audience and online — in The Summit on Race in America, hosted by the LBJ Foundation April 8–10. Civil rights leaders, activists, musicians and comedians gathered for three days of candid conversations on America's racial divide.

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Media MentionApril 3, 2019
To solve the US 'crisis at the border,' look to its cause

"Current law enables asylum seekers arriving without immigration documents to have a credible fear hearing and be released from detention pending their court dates," writes LBJ Professor Ruth Wasem. "Those who establish that they have well-founded fear of returning home would be permitted to stay in the United States and those who do not would be deported. If DHS implemented our asylum laws to the fullest effect, it would increase the likelihood that migrants understood our laws."

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