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 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


Media MentionAugust 10, 2018
Trump wants to turn back time with census citizenship question

In an op-ed at The Hill, Ruth Wasem, clinical professor of public policy practice at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, discusses the Trump administration's decision to reintroduce questions regarding citizenship into the 2020 Decennial Census.

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Media MentionAugust 5, 2018
They knew it would cause lasting harm, and still took children from parents

Ruth Wasem, clinical professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, writes in The Hill about the lasting harm to immigrant children and families inflicted by the Trump administration's border separation policy, which was implemented even though its detrimental impact was well known. 

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NewsJuly 23, 2018
LBJ School co-hosts APPAM 2018 International Conference in Mexico City

"Public Policy for Sustainable Metropolitan Development" was the theme of the 2018 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) International Conference in Mexico City, Mexico. The LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Instituto Tecnólogico Autónomo de Méxic (ITAM) jointly organized the conference, which was held July 19–20, 2018.

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