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Abstract

This research paper is inspired by the author’s recent experience interning with US Together – Cleveland, a non-profit refugee resettlement agency that provides services before, during, and immediately after refugees’ arrival. It will utilize a humanitarian approach to the topic of public opinion and perception of refugees in the United States. In order to put these findings in the context of world refugee response, Hungary will be considered as another case study. This will include a look into the history of refugees in both countries, as well as the recent policy changes by both the Trump and Orban administrations respectively. This is a critical topic in today’s increasingly globalized world as there appears to be negative attitudes to waves of refugees arriving in both countries. The purpose of closely following the Trump and Orban policies will be to determine whether the vitriol espoused by these leaders is a result of those feelings already being present in the population that elected them, or if their cult of personalities have popularized the peoples’ perceptions of immigrants and refugees. This paper will explore the historical, economic, and social factors that relate to public opinion of refugees. This paper finds that it is most likely that Trump and Orban are microphones of their electorate. While they themselves might hold these views, they were elected on xenophobic platforms because enough people also held these beliefs.

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