Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Amanda Deerfield


The president determines the number of refugees to be admitted to the United States each year after consultation with Congress, but there is a gap in literature related to whether party affiliation affects refugee admissions. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the political party affiliation of the president on refugee admissions and any moderating effect of Congressional majority affiliations. The eight research questions centered on the effect of the president’s party on the refugee ceiling and admissions, regional allocations and admissions, and the extent to which Congressional majority parties moderate these effects. Total global and regional refugee numbers were controlled throughout this study. The theoretical framework of historical institutionalism was used to examine political parties as institutions guided by historical positions and choices. This quantitative study involved a secondary data analysis of data collected from the U.S. government and the United Nations. Hierarchical regression was used to determine the relationship between refugee admissions and presidential party affiliation, as well as the moderating effect of the Senate and House majorities. Regression analysis showed that presidential party affiliation had no significant effect on the refugee admissions, but having a Democratic president was predictive of higher admissions of refugees from both the Near East and South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Future researchers may examine additional ways that presidential administrations, rather than Congress, affect refugee admissions. Positive social change implications include furthering understanding of the role of party affiliation in refugee admissions to help refugee service providers better prepare for the refugees that will be admitted in the upcoming fiscal year.