REFUGEE RADICALIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES: SCOPE OF THREAT AND STEPS TOWARD MITIGATION
Rosich, Nicole M.
Baylouny, Anne M.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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The rhetoric of the Trump administration has fomented a belief among the U.S. public that refugees are a source of terrorism and a growing threat to the security of American citizens. This rhetoric has been reinforced by executive orders, regulations, and policies that have severely restricted the number of refugees admitted to the United States since 2017 and subjected those who enter to enhanced screening and vetting in an attempt to mitigate this perceived threat. This thesis assesses the actual scope of threat posed to the security of the United States by resettled refugees. Looking at quantitative data for attempted and perpetrated attacks by refugees in the United States, this thesis concludes that the threat posed to the U.S. homeland by resettled refugees is so minimal as to be statistically insignificant. Analyzing well-known examples of resettled refugees who have been radicalized to terrorism abroad, this thesis also concludes that the true risk of radicalization lies in the failed integration of these refugees into American society. Preventing the ostracism of refugees through policy changes to the refugee admissions program may serve to mitigate this risk and cure the misperceived fear of refugees among the public.
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