Refugee resettlement in the United States relies on volunteers to aid in the resettlement process. Drawing upon research in Fargo, North Dakota during 2007-2008, this paper addresses the ways in which volunteers embraced and contested hegemonic forms of "worthy" citizenship. More specifically, I compare and contrast volunteer efforts of senior citizens who worked with refugees. Both refugees and senior citizens are marginalized in the neoliberal discourse of "worthy" citizenship that stresses economic self-sufficiency. Organizations that pair these groups can go a long way to challenge mainstream understandings of race, class, gender, culture, and age. However, I examine the unquestioned, even celebrated, power that volunteers have in refugee resettlement. While some senior citizens contest social inequalities, others serve as foot soldiers for hegemonic forms of citizenship that privilege Whiteness, Christianity, a Protestant work ethic, and gendered practices of care. I show how everyday interactions between volunteers and refugees served to form and solidify social hierarchies.

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