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


NewsOctober 18, 2019
LBJ faculty, students present research on work, families, public workers, crime and more at the 2019 APPAM Conference

Professors and students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will lead conversations and present research across an array of policy areas at the 2019 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Fall Research Conference in Denver, Colorado Nov. 7–9.

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Media MentionOctober 9, 2019
Trump's latest misdiagnosis is bitter pill for immigrants

President TrumpDONALD JOHN TRUMPTrump congratulates Washington Nationals on World Series winTrump hints that dog injured in al-Baghdadi raid will visit White HouseVindman says White House lawyer moved Ukraine call to classified server: reportMORE’s Oct. 4 proclamation is a misdiagnosis of the policies and problems that shape whether people in the United States have adequate health insurance coverage, writes LBJ Professor Ruth Wasm. 

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Media MentionSeptember 10, 2019
Report on migrant children documents the painfully obvious

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG)’s new report found the Trump administration’s policy changes in 2018 exacerbated the mental health needs of “unaccompanied alien children” in their custody. 

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