This Congressional Research Memo to Congress from 2015 gives you a glimpse in to why they aren’t able to do it (assuming they were willing!).
Refugees are not identified (separately from other immigrants) at the local level when they go to the local social service agency to get their “benefits.” Indeed, immigrants may not even be designated as such on welfare applications.
Of course, this could easily be remedied by writing a few laws that direct local welfare agencies/school systems getting federal funds to require immigration status at the time one signs up for benefits or enrollment. Is the recipient a ‘refugee’ or one of many other categories of legal immigrant (or illegal!)?
In 2015, unknown Senators attempted to get some answers and this is what they got. (Hat tip: Joanne)
So, has the recipient of the report done anything about it?
From Congressional Research Service:
So the Senate requester is directed to this table (below) from the 2013 ORR Annual Report to Congress. You might wish to see some of those yourself by clicking here.
You will find, as I have (see here in 2014), that data like this below is completely extrapolated from self-reporting by refugees who are called on the phone (who can be found and who answer the phone!) and are WILLING to tell a stranger (a contract worker) what ‘benefits’ they are getting.
You can then imagine how useless this data really is!
As much as I want to encourage efforts to get the true costs for refugees to the American taxpayer, it won’t be possible until local and state agencies are forced to get the information on immigration status of someone coming in for benefits. And, if it is required to divulge one’s legal status (refugees are legal of course), then, in the process, the local agency will necessarily have to admit the illegal status of some beneficiaries of your taxpayer-funded kindness. They do not want to do that!
And, one more thing! If you think you can get a true study where you live, you must make sure that included in the cost side of the ledger are costs to the criminal justice system (how much is a life sentence in prison costing some states?), interpreter costs, emergency room costs, monitoring and medicines for those with TB, and the cost to the US economy of remittances (money sent out of the US economy to the refugee’s home country). Other costs I’m not thinking of?