In The Perils and Possibilities of Refugee Federalism, Professor Stella Burch Elias skillfully exposes both the dangers and the opportunities presented by state responses to the resettlement of refugees within their borders. She concludes that states are prohibited from excluding refugees from their territory, but she argues that states have a previously untapped opportunity to legislate at the local level in an effort to promote the integration of refugees into their communities.
This Response does not challenge those conclusions. Rather, this Response seeks to provide context to the idea of refugee federalism by further discussing the problem, acknowledged by Professor Elias, that, legal or not, states are successfully avoiding the placement of refugees within their borders. Additionally, this Response attempts to articulate a concern that increasing state involvement regarding the selection of refugees may exacerbate the nimbyism that already pervades the treatment of refugees in the United States.