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University of Arizona researchers using grant to research impact of refugees

In this Feb. 7, 2017 photo, Baraa Haj Khalaf, left, is greeted by her mother, Fattuom Bakir, after arriving at O'Hare International Airport, in Chicago. Baraa and Abduljmajeed Haj Khalaf and their daughter, who were told last week they couldn't fly to Chicago because of President Donald Trump's executive order on refugees, made it to their new home in Skokie. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune via AP)

PHOENIX — Two University of Arizona political scientists are trying to answer a two-pronged question about refugees using a $1.4 million federal grant.

Alex Braithwaite and Faten Ghosn are using the Department of Defense grant to figure out why refugees leave thir home country and what effects, if any, do they have on the country that takes them in?

Braithwaite said it is pretty clear many refugees are fleeing from horrible conflict. However, “We have relatively little systematic knowledge about the effect they’re going to have on the other societies they settle into.”

Braithwaite and Ghosn also want to know what factors serve as the “last straws” that cause refugees to leave their homelands.

In any event, Braithwaite said, “my hunch is that we’re most likely going to demonstrate that refugees themselves are the victims – much more frequently  – than they are the agents of any sort of violence or disturbance.”

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