Welcoming tens of thousands of refugees from broken, war-torn countries each year comes at a substantial cost to American taxpayers, according to a new report from a group that favors low levels of immigration.
The five-year cost to American taxpayers for refugee resettlement in the U.S. is an estimated $8.8 billion, the Federation for American Immigration Reform reveals, relying on data from an extensive Office of Refugee Resettlement study. That works out to $79,600 per refugee, a figure which does not factor in the costs of “additional vetting and screening expenditures, law enforcement and criminal justice costs, and federal homeland security assistance to state and local agencies … associated with some refugees who pose a threat.”
Of the $1.8 billion spent on refugee resettlement each year, an estimated $867 million is spent on welfare, medical care, and housing assistance. The average income of a refugee is $21,000 during their first five years in the country, with the average hourly income of the only 54 percent of all refugees in the workforce sitting at $11, the report introduces.
The tax contribution of refugees is reportedly “negligible” compared to the cost of admitting them.
Most refugees arrive “here without financial resources and possessing few marketable job skills. And the American taxpayer is being asked to feed, clothe and shelter them, in addition to funding job training programs,” the FAIR report explains. There are 18 federal and state programs, such as food stamps and public housing, that refugees rely on in the U.S.
FAIR, a nonprofit organization dedicated to examining immigration trends and their effects on the U.S., supports a policy that provides temporary assistance with a plan to ultimately repatriate refugees.
“The U.S. must remain committed to its role as a world leader in helping refugees,” FAIR president Dan Stein told the Washington Examiner, “but we must also recognize that relocating refugees to this country is by far the most expensive alternative, and a financial commitment that lasts decades or more.”
The new report also indicates that these costly programs are only addressing a fraction of the tens of millions of refugees displaced each year, leading FAIR investigators to conclude that resettlement in the U.S. is poor policy.
“We are entering an era in which resettlement in the United States or other nations is simply inadequate to address the displacement of people due to conflict, overpopulation, environmental disasters, or the collapse of civil societies in many countries,” Stein told reporters. “Instead, the international emphasis will have to be on providing temporary refuge and protection in or near people’s homes with the goal of safely repatriating them.”
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