The project was a joint initiative of the National Conference on Citizenship and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement to identify concrete recommendations for innovations in refugee policy, personnel, process, and systems to reinvigorate U.S. humanitarian diplomacy, maintain the rigorous vetting of refugees, and securely increase refugee admissions multifold. The final report provides an operational roadmap for rebuilding and reimagining the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) starting in 2021. The project also produced a complementary paper that situates the findings of the report within the broader context of U.S. foreign policy and proposes an agenda for how the U.S. can restore and advance its leadership on refugee protection globally. 


The report is based on more than 100 consultations and interviews with a range of experts and stakeholders who have been involved in shaping policy, implementing operations, and/or advocating for USRAP in addition to resettled refugees. The qualitative research that informed the report drew upon the best practices of human-centered design to ensure the report’s recommendations reflected the needs, challenges, and opportunities of refugees and their families. 

Read the executive summary.

Read the full report, “A Roadmap for Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

Read the complementary paper, “Restoring U.S. Global Leadership on Refugee Protection.”

View a Refugee’s Journey Map, a visual representation of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program from the perspective of a refugee.

The Team

The project was co-led by Ariana Berengaut and Eric Hysen from June to October 2020. The core team included Rosanna Kim, Lara Kohl, David Leftwich, Salma Mousa, and Sarah Saltiel. Consultants who provided additional guidance and support to the core team included Betsy Fisher, Rachel Landry, and Mary Beth Schmid. Recognizing the complex operational challenges presented by USRAP, this team brought a cross-functional set of skills in policy, human-centered design, data science, and software engineering.

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