More than a “Good Back”: Looking for Integration in Refugee Resettlement

Nicole Ives

Abstract


This paper describes the experiences of twenty-four Bosnian refugees resettled in the US and explores how achieving integration relates to the US policy contexts and programs. Juxtaposing refugee perspectives and policies, “lived experience” was compared with policies on paper. Central themes included participants’ language and employment struggles, social support networks that included Americans, congregational sponsorship, and participants’ faith in their belief that they could fully belong in American society. Implications included a reevaluation of American resettlement policy regarding language and employment, formal support for sponsorship, and an inclusion of refugee voices in planning and implementing resettlement programs.

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