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)

Ruth Wasem teaches policy development courses on immigration, citizenship, refugees and legislative development. She is affiliated with the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

For over 25 years, Dr. Wasem was a policy specialist at the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service. She has testified before the U.S. Congress on asylum policy, immigration, human rights and unauthorized migration. She is a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and as a contributing opinion writer for TheHill.com.

Dr. Wasem's research on asylum has resulted in two articles in 2020: "More than a Wall: The Rise and Fall of U..S Asylum and Refugee Policy," in the Journal of Migration and Human Security, and "At the Nexus of Refugee and Labour Migration: U.S. Refugee Policy Formulation after the Second World War," in the Journal of Migration History.

She has published "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, 2019). She also is writing Ebb and Flow: U.S. Immigration Policy over Time (Wiley Blackwell, forthcoming). Other recent publications include "Immigration Governance for the 21st Century" in the Journal of Migration and Human Security (Sage, 2018); and Tackling Unemployment: The Legislative Dynamics of the Employment Act of 1946 (Upjohn Institute Press, 2013).

Dr. Wasem directed a policy research project (PRP) that resulted in the publication Welcoming Communities: Immigrant Incorporation in Dallas, TX (2020). This research project on immigrant incorporation has expanded to San Antonio and its peer cities.

She has appeared on NPR's "All Things Considered"; PRI's "The World"; KUT's "Morning Edition"; Texas Public Radio and The Texas Standard, and been cited in The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and Dallas Morning News, among other publications.

Media Expertise
  • Immigration

Newsworthy

Media MentionJune 22, 2021
Gov. Abbott says he'll build his own wall at the border, enforced by state police

Gov. Abbott recently announced that he'll build a wall at the Texas-Mexico border, and that state police will arrest undocumented immigrants attempting to cross it, following a regional disaster declaration and moves to strip state licenses from shelters housing migrant children. Ruth Wasem joins a panel of experts to answer your questions.

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Media MentionApril 5, 2021
Fact check: Is Biden immigration policy causing border surge of minors?

Escobar also said that these increases are not “a result of Joe Biden becoming president.” Experts say that the pull factor created by Biden’s policy change to stop expulsions of the minors is one of several factors driving the uptick in unaccompanied minors.

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NewsApril 2, 2021
April 2: Faculty Research, Policy Engagement and News

10 features from the week 

  • Patrick Bixler spoke to the Associated Press about philanthropic gifts and scientific discovery after former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, gave $150 million to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for research in biology and AI. 

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