Resistance growing to refugee resettlement as federal program “cost shifts” expenses to state and local taxpayers
Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 9, 2015
Fox News reporter, Melissa Jacobs, posted a very useful piece earlier this week entitled, ‘Obama’s refugee resettlement plan could stir battle with states.‘
Here is a bit that interested me (be sure to read the whole thing because she mentions several states and local communities resisting the resettlement of more refugees. See if your city or state gets a mention!).
The Obama administration’s pledge to absorb thousands more Syrian and other refugees could run headlong into resistance from state and local officials worried about whether their communities can handle the influx.
“It’s a fiscal issue,” said Peter Steele, a spokesman for Maine Gov. Paul LePage. “You can only pay for what you can afford, and those funds should be going to the most needy citizens in our state.”
…. pushback from the states could pose practical challenges.
According to a 1980 law, states can opt out of the program and need to be consulted in the process. However, Don Barnett, a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, describes refugee resettlement as a “secretive” and lucrative business for “non-profits” who operate with little coordination with state and local communities.
“In every encounter I’ve had with resettlement representatives, they will say if the locality doesn’t want it, we won’t resettle them — but this hasn’t been tested,” Barnett said.
Concern about the funding burden falling on local governments is hardly new.
The 1981 Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy noted, “Many state and local officials are concerned that the costs of resettlement assistance will continue beyond the period of federal reimbursement and that the burden of providing services will then fall upon their governments.”
“There is a complete cost shift to the states,” Barnett said.
Indeed, federal funding, extended for 36 months at the beginning of the program, dropped to the current eight-month period by 1991. The Heritage Foundation estimates the total lifetime cost of government benefits at $6.5 billion per 10,000 refugees.
See Julia Hahn at Breitbart, here, for more on the Heritage Foundation study.
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