International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Anita Fabos

Second Reader

Laurie Ross


refugee resettlement, neoliberalism, social justice, nonprofits, immigration policy, refugees, united states, urban studies, social services


Within the current political climate and discussions surrounding displacement, refugee resettlement is a ‘hot-button’ issue. While working at one of the largest resettlement agencies in New England, the author began to analyze how power itself is structured within the Refugee Resettlement Industry (RRI) nationally. This paper argues that the RRI is embedded within neoliberal governance and can be better understood and improved with this understanding. The author argues for the term “Refugee [Resettlement] Industrial Complex,” to more adequately understand the ways that power is enacted through the current structure, and how it inhibits social justice work rooted in advocating for systemic change. Using secondary literature and participatory observation, she will explore RRI, neoliberalism, and the Non Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC) to argue her points. These findings aim to expand the existing literature and advocacy initiatives aimed at improving programs and services for refugees in the United States, and the possibilities of creating grassroots newcomer centers focused on social justice principles.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.