The Time Politics of Refugee Resettlement and Higher Education in the United States




Higher education for refugees, refugee resettlement, time politics, United States


This paper sheds light on experiences within systems of US resettlement and its structures of (un)welcome. There is considerable evidence that the policy framework of these systems complicates the possibilities of higher education for refugees. Drawing on interviews with residents with a refugee background and resettlement service providers, we explore how US refugee resettlement policy creates obstacles for refugees in pursuing higher education and professional work by imposing a particular regimentation of time on refugees’ lives that impels them to rapidly integrate into low-income employment markets. We argue that such a time politics of speed hastens the resettlement process to advance the goal that residents with refugee background obtain rapid economic self-sufficiency and discuss the policy implications.


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Author Biographies

Matthew Wolfgram, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, United States

Matthew Wolfgram is a Researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He can be research at

Paul Van Auken, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI, United States

Dr. Paul M. Van Auken is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He can be reached at


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How to Cite

Wolfgram, M., & Van Auken, P. (2023). The Time Politics of Refugee Resettlement and Higher Education in the United States . Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–18.

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