Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Audie Klotz


Deportation, Immigration, Immigration Law, International Migration, Refugee, Refugee Policy


This dissertation offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the emergence of a deportation regime in the United States that increasingly targets refugees as subjects of removal. Its aim is to investigate how and why some refugees are deported from the United States to places of persecution or to places where they have no ties. Despite the fact that it is formally illegal to deport refugees, the Untied States government has maintained and strengthened this practice of governing noncitizens since the 1980s. By doing so, I illustrate that U.S. refugee deportation policies are a historical result of the hegemony of the executive branch over the interpretation of immigration policy, combined with a justice system that seldom challenges executive enforcement agencies like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I evaluate the roles played by the culture of “crimmigration” and the American courts’ judicial compliance with the international refugee regime in refugee deportation. I utilize original data from archived government records of the federal courts, executive agencies like the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and the Congressional committee hearing transcripts. I interpret this data using insights from legal studies and political science, with the aim of better understanding the treatment of noncitizens in the United States.


Open Access