Refugee program costs US taxpayers $125 billion over ten years

“The costs are staggering. The costs are truly staggering!” 

(Don Barnett, Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies)

 

I reported a few days ago on the ‘Report to Congress’ released by the US State Department as part of the consultation with Congress requirement of the Administration when determining how many refugees will be admitted to the US beginning on Monday.

cover fy19 report

Here LifeZette analyzed a portion of that report about what you pay for the program (actually only a small portion of the costs!).

America’s refugee program cost taxpayers more than $125 billion over a 10-year period, according to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report to Congress on a proposed cut in the émigré cap.

The report accounts for refugees resettled from abroad, foreigners in the United States granted asylum, and people participating in special programs set up for Iraqis, Cubans, Haitians, and Amerasians from Vietnam.

The cost to federal taxpayers for refugees and individuals granted asylum in fiscal years 2005 through 2014 came to $74.7 billion, plus an additional $21.9 billion for state matching funds for programs available to refugees.

The total cost was $96.65 billion. Including spouses and children, the overall cost to state and federal taxpayers rises to $125.696 billion.

That total includes the cost of relocating refugees, services provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), child care subsidies and three main welfare programs — Medicaid, Medicare, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump alluded to the cost in arguing that U.S. generosity is better demonstrated near locations from which refugees come.

[….]

The nearly $126 billion estimated cost over 10 years, however, represents but a fraction of the total taxpayer investment. It does not include more than a dozen other programs, such as Social Security, various tax credits, education spending, and other welfare.

[Other welfare supplied by federal and state taxpayers would include food stamps, and other costs include federally required interpreters for courts, medical care and schools, the criminal justice system and most often ignored—remittances—money the refugees send home and out of our economy.—-ed]

[….]

Don Barnett, a fellow at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told LifeZette that it makes sense to take a comprehensive approach to assessing refugee costs that go beyond just the relocation expenses.

Unlike other immigrants, who must wait five years before they are eligible for government-assistance programs, refugees and individuals granted asylum immediately can receive welfare.

“The costs are staggering. The costs are truly staggering,” said Barnett.

[….]

nowrasteh-aljazeera-10-25-13
The Libertarian CATO Institute has been talking about reform that would include private citizens sponsoring refugees. It does have its appeal. But, he knows that not enough sponsors would be found especially if they were on the hook for all of the care of a refugee or refugee family, so CATO is not proposing abolishing the present contractor system of resettlement. CATO wants both systems at the same time—the same as Canada!

The government report estimates that in a typical year, major HHS programs cost about $3,300 per refugee.

A 2015 study by CIS, which favors lower levels of immigration, attempted to account for a broader range of costs imposed by refugees. The study found that the five-year cost of relocating refugees from the Middle East came to $64,370 per person and $257,481 per household.

[….]

Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, did not dispute the government’s cost estimates.

[….]

A better approach than a bureaucratic, taxpayer-funded refugee system, Nowrasteh said, is to allow private citizens and organizations to sponsor refugees and take financial responsibility for them. He said Canada has such a system and that the United States has had similar policies in the past.

More here.

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