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).

Media Expertise
  • Immigration


Media MentionJuly 3, 2018
Our Founders envisioned a robust asylum and refugee process

LBJ Professor Ruth Wasem writes a powerful piece on immigration policy, masterfully presenting public opinions, the impact of misguided policies and a lawful path forward. 

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Media MentionJune 23, 2018
Separation of children at the border a crisis of our own making

The Trump administration’s new policy of separating children from their parents at the border violates American values and ignores legal options that would produce better outcomes for the families and for the country, says LBJ Professor Ruth Wasem.

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Media MentionJune 20, 2018
Texas Standard for June 20, 2018

LBJ Professor Ruth Wasem explains the legal resources, and lack thereof, for parents and children separated at the border. 

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