Wasem, Ruth E. | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
  • 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 doctor’s degrees in history at the University of Michigan, largely funded by the Institute for Social Research. Wasem is currently 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).


NewsMarch 19, 2018
LBJ School, Dean Angela Evans Launch Policy on Purpose Podcast

Episode 1 of the LBJ School's newly launched podcast, Policy on Purpose, debuts with a conversation among Dean Angela Evans and Ruth Wasem on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

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NewsFebruary 27, 2018
LBJ School's 21st Annual Barbara Jordan National Forum Celebrates Perseverance, Resolve in Public Service

The LBJ School of Public Affairs celebrated the 21st annual Barbara Jordan National Forum February 19–23, paying tribute to the former congresswoman’s life and legacy through student-led programming focused on social justice issues.

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Media MentionFebruary 17, 2018
Expert Questions Claim That Barbara Jordan Would Support Trump Immigration Policy

President Trump issued a statement Wednesday claiming Texas civil rights leader Barbara Jordan would support his "America First" immigration policies. Immigration policy expert Ruth Wasem, professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, says that's too narrow a reading of Jordan's views on immigration.

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