Title: US refugee resettlement policy and international human rights treaty obligations: a mixed record

Authors: Stephen Meili

Addresses: University of Minnesota Law School, 229 – 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Abstract: This article analyses the extent to which the USA's current refugee resettlement policy in the areas of healthcare and family unity comports with its obligations under those relevant international human rights treaties which the USA has ratified or otherwise acceded to (i.e., the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination). The theoretical framework for this article is the treaty effectiveness literature, which identifies those factors associated with treaty compliance by states parties. Some of the factors identified in that literature are present in the USA (e.g., strong democratic institutions and an active civil society that pressures the government to comply with its treaty obligations) but others are not (the USA has incorporated few human rights treaties into its domestic law). Thus, as the literature would predict, the USA falls short of its treaty obligations in some areas of refugee resettlement policy but meets it in others.

Keywords: refugee resettlement policy; human rights treaties; Office of Refugee Resettlement; ORR; USA; United States; international human rights; treaty obligations; healthcare; family unity; treaty effectiveness; treaty compliance; domestic law.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2016.074638

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2016 Vol.2 No.1, pp.1 - 23

Available online: 10 Feb 2016 *

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