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Iraqi Refugees in the United StatesThe Enduring Effects of the War on Terror$
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Ken R. Crane

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479873944

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479873944.001.0001

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Work, Autonomy, Belonging

Work, Autonomy, Belonging

(p.25) 2 Work, Autonomy, Belonging
Iraqi Refugees in the United States

Ken R. Crane

NYU Press

Iraqi refugees arrived in the US at the onset of the Great Recession, just as the economic base of the Inland Empire—housing construction—had collapsed. This chapter follows several working- and middle-class Iraqi families through their economic difficulties and adjustment struggles. The most pressing theme to emerge in their narrative is the frustration of unemployment. Refugees are not granted entry based on employment eligibility or labor-recruitment criteria, yet refugee-resettlement programs, beginning in the 1970s with refugees from Southeast Asia, have been justified in terms of achieving economic self-reliance. Iraqi youths reflect on the meaning of economic success in America—the “money country”—and worry that the preoccupation with economic success could tear families apart.

Keywords:   Great Recession, Inland Empire, Southeast Asia, unemployment, economic self-reliance

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