Lamis Elmy Abdelaaty, "Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees" (Oxford UP, 2021)


States face choices when people forced to leave their states due to persecution or violence seek refuge. They may assert their sovereignty by either granting or denying entry or they may delegate refugee protection to an international organization. Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford UP, 2021) asks “why do states sometimes assert their sovereignty vis-aá-vis refugee rights and at other times seemingly cede it? Dr. Abdelaaty develops a two-part theoretical framework in which policymakers in refugee-receiving countries weigh international and domestic concerts. At the international level, policymakers consider relations with the refugee-sending country. At the domestic level policymakers consider political competition among ethnic groups. When these international and domestic incentives conflict, shifting responsibility to the UN allows policymakers to placate both refugee-sending countries and domestic constituencies. In short, foreign policy and ethnic identity shapes states’ reactions to refugees.

Dr. Lamis Abdelaaty is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Her interests include international relations, human rights and humanitarianism, and asylum and migration. In forthcoming research for the International Journal of Human Rights, she provides a statistical analysis on the relationship between government respect for human rights and treatment of refugees. 

Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.

Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage andSensitive Places: Originalism, Gender, and the Myth Self-Defense in District of Columbia v. Hellercan be found in July 2021’s Polity. Email her comments at or tweet to @SusanLiebell.

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Susan Liebell

Susan Liebell is a Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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