“The costs are staggering. The costs are truly staggering!”
(Don Barnett, Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies)
I reported a few days agoon 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.
Here LifeZetteanalyzed 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.
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.
Update March 24th: You can see a video of the panel discussion hereat CIS.
And, the St. Cloud Timesonce again shows how biased it is against anyone who challenges the power in that city and state that is hauling in third world workers for the slaughterhouse industry ( while faking humanitarian concern!) by falling for the Southern Poverty Law Centers‘ shoddy research.
(RRW is listed as a “hate group” as well, and as you know I’m a single blogger/journalist with NO group—so much for their research.)
And, by the way, Breitbarthas a big story on Friday entitled:
Disgraced Media Already Hit with Massive Layoffs in 2018
Newspapers are going down and sloppy work and biased reporting by the likes of the St. Cloud Timeswill eventually bring it down too!
This is what I mean….
In large type, reporter Stephanie Dickrell and her editor post this subheadline so as to bias readers right up front.
Group hosting panel was labeled an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016
A St. Cloud City Council member will travel to the nation’s capital this week to discuss the local impact of refugee resettlement.
Jeff Johnson will be part of a panel Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., discussing whether states should be able to opt out of the federal Refugee Resettlement Program.
The host of the panel, the Center for Immigration Studies, says its agenda is pro-immigrant but for low immigration. The Southern Poverty Law Center listed it as an anti-immigrant hate group in 2016.
Last fall Johnson proposed a moratorium on refugee resettlement in St. Cloud. The motion failed and an ensuing council vote declared St. Cloud a welcoming city.
The National Press Club panel discussion — “Should States Be Able to Opt Out of the Refugee Resettlement Program?” — will use a January reportby center fellow Don Barnettas a starting point. He outlined what say states have in refugee resettlement, highlighting “federal overreach.”
He includes a history of the states’ interactions with the refugee program and recommendations for better defining the state role. It also includes a case study of a recent federal lawsuit filed by the state of Tennessee which claims the refugee resettlement program was an imposition by Washington over which the state had no control.
In addition to Johnson and Barnett, the panel will include Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, which represented Tennessee in the lawsuit. Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian will serve as moderator.
Minnesotans, this is the time to develop more alternative media in the state.
Papers like the St. Cloud Times (which swallows the lies of Leftwing money-grubbing groups like SPLC) will die and you need to be ready with other sources of news that support your interests and concerns. And, the more the merrier!
Don Barnett writing at the Center for Immigration Studiestoday explained in detail how states are forced to accept and pay for third world refugees admitted through the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) to the US and sent to 49 states.
Read this (these are the opening points in the ‘backgrounder’) and then ask: Where is Congress?
(Emphasis below is mine):
The State of Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the federal government in March 2017 claiming that the refugee resettlement program was an imposition by Washington over which the state had no control.1 The lawsuit is pending, but it highlights a deep problem with how the refugee resettlement program has evolved since the passage of the Refugee Act in 1980.
This Backgrounder traces the history of the federal-state relationship regarding refugees, identifies flaws, and proposes solutions. Among the findings:
~Repealing regulation 45 CFR 400.301 could have the immediate effect of allowing states to withdraw from the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and end initial resettlement activities in the state.2
~Today, states that withdraw from the program find the program continues in the state with the potential to operate on a larger scale than before withdrawal and with no state participation.
~As implemented, states have a limited and ill-defined role in the federal USRAP.
~Congress has shirked its responsibility to fully fund the refugee resettlement program.
~The federal government has shifted much of the fiscal burden of refugee resettlement to states. Three years of reimbursement for the state portion of welfare programs used by refugees in the state, such as Medicaid, TANF and SSI, was authorized by the 1980 Refugee Act. This support was ended entirely.
~The Act authorized Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) for three years for refugees who do not qualify for cash welfare and Medicaid. This support was gradually scaled back; today RCA and RMA are available for only eight months.
~This cost shift to the states means the federal government is, in effect, using state funds to operate a federal program.In cases where a state asks to withdraw from the program, continuation of the program means the state has lost its ability to control its own budget and is deprived of its sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment.
~Consultation among “stakeholders” about where refugees are to be settled is ill-defined in the USRAP. At times there is no meaningful consultation with state authorities.
~The federal government uses a legally questionable regulation (45 CFR 400.301) rather than statutory law to allow private non-profits to operate in a state where the state has asked to withdraw from the program.
~By one reading of the law, prior to 45 CFR 400.301, there was no authority to resettle refugees in states that chose to withdraw from the program.In other words, prior to 1994 when 45 CFR 400.301 was introduced, the states were — knowingly or not — participating in and paying for a voluntary program from which they had every right to withdraw at any time with the expectation that no refugees would be resettled in the state.
And, I repeat! If there is no reform of the entire US Refugee Admissions Program in the next three years, simply reducing the numbersas the Trump Administration is doing is meaningless in the long run.
The President can and must, as part of any immigration reform, issue regulations in keeping with the original law wherever possible, and, or, tell Congress to rewrite the law if it is in our national interest to continue it at all.
If no permanent fix….
…..when President Trump’s term ends, refugee agencies and advocates will push for even larger numbers of refugees to make up for what they will dub the lost Trump years.
Looking for something to do? Get this information into the hands of your state governors and legislators!
Before the Refugee Act of 1980, refugee resettlement was the work of true sacrificial charity, where sponsors and charities committed to maintaining and supporting the refugees with housing and employment, even medical care if needed. There was an explicit bar to the access of welfare benefits. The sponsor was responsible for all costs. This helped to guarantee assimilation and is how we absorbed post-WWII refugees, those fleeing communist oppression in Eastern Europe, the Hungarian Revolution and other upheavals.
With the 1980 Refugee Act and related laws, the charities morphed into money-making federal contractors whose main job is to link the refugees with social services and welfare benefits. The 1980 act made all welfare available to refugees upon arrival — for life, if eligibility is maintained.
Originally, the Refugee Act included three years of federal refugee cash assistance and medical insurance. As well, state governments were reimbursed for their expenditures on welfare used by refugees, such as Medicaid (TennCare), for three years. By 1991, reimbursement from the feds for state welfare expenditures had been completely eliminated and the three-year period of refugee cash and medical assistance for refugees was limited to eight months.
According to the most recent government data, even those refugees in the country for five years are largely dependent on taxpayer largesse. Sixty percent of this group receives food stamps and 17 percent are on the cash welfare program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A nationwide U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study shows 44 percent are still in Medicaid and 29 percent of families who have been here for five years have one or more members on the lifetime cash welfare program Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
This gives an idea of the costs to the federal taxpayer and of the unfunded federal mandate placed upon state taxpayers by this program.
Because of the byzantine structure of Tennessee’s program, there is no way to get exact costs. Both the state refugee coordinator and state refugee health coordinator, who are supposed to represent the state and its taxpayers, are actually employees of Catholic Charities, the federal contractor whose income rises in direct proportion to the numbers of refugees resettled. Further, the salary for both of these positions is paid not by the contractor, but by the feds. How’s that for a conflict of interest?
In a healthy and open environment, information would be made available from these two sources, which would help in evaluating program success and program costs, such as use of TennCare by refugees, rates of infection with communicable disease and so on. Alas, because of incentives and disincentives built into the refugee coordinators’ jobs, the best strategy for them is to withhold information.
Secrecy surrounds all aspects of the program. We have no idea what it is costing Tennessee. Statistics about medical conditions among refugees are secret. Even the numbers of refugee arrivals proposed for next year is a secret. And when arrival numbers are reported, after the fact, they are routinely reported as lower than actual numbers by conveniently neglecting to include categories of resettlement that are not official refugees, but that have the same entitlements — and benefits to the contractor — as refugees.
Orwellian use of language allows for absurd claims about refugee economic integration. For instance, refugees are considered officially “self-sufficient” even if they receive every federal welfare benefit except TANF. Refugees in temporary jobs or training programs are counted as “employed.” An unpublicized federal audit from 1999 obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request found that Memphis Catholic Charities was dropping refugees off at a day labor lot and reporting them as “employed.”
It was never intended that the sponsors, known as “Voluntary Agencies,” would be purely federal contractors with all the behavior, untoward incentives, money and influence peddling that this brings. Yet, that is what we have today.
There would be no issue with this program if refugees were resettled in the traditional way America has always absorbed refugees. As long as the current resettlement model persists, it is imperative that Tennesseans have a say in how state resources are used. The state attorney general should proceed with SJR 467 challenging the federal government’s presumed authority over state resources.
We have previously posted op-eds by Don Barnett or written about his work, click here for posts mentioning Barnett.
Over and over again we hear from political leaders and grassroots organizers looking to bring refugees into new (unsuspecting) communities that this is a federal program funded by the feds. (LOL! as if Washington has an orchard of money trees!)
However, this short model letter-to-the-editor in Tennessee quickly dispels the notion that the resettlement of refugees in your town will cost you nothing.
The letter, by Don Barnett of Nashville, is in response to the debate on-going in the State Legislature which we reported recently, here. Tennessee is a Wilson-Fish state (a state where a federal contractor, Catholic Charities of TN, is making decisions for the state taxpayers with no accountability to those elected to protect the state’s purse).
The reporting on Senate Joint Resolution 467 is proof that, at the very least, something must be done to bring the refugee resettlement program out of the shadows.
So misunderstood and secretive is the program that contractors who profit from it are able to make blatantly false statements and be assured they will be reported as fact.
According to Tennessee’s state refugee coordinator, who is an employee of the main federal resettlement contractor, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the program does not cost state taxpayers a dime.
But the contractors refuse to publicize the number of refugees they place into TennCare, a program paid for by state taxpayers as well as federal taxpayers. The last time they released this data, 2011, nearly 60 percent of refugees went into TennCare upon arrival.
The 2011 report of TennCare usage is consistent with national trends. According to the latest data available — a federal study of refugees who had been in the country five years or less as of 2013*** — 47 percent of refugees were dependent on cash assistance, 74 percent were in the food stamp program, and 56 percent were in Medicaid (TennCare) or short-term federal refugee medical assistance. Twenty-three percent were in public housing or receiving public housing assistance.
There is considerable evidence pointing to long-term dependence. The federal cash welfare program SSI is a good indicator of long-term welfare dependency rates. It is generally a lifetime entitlement and usually automatically includes Medicaid and other social services. The federal study of arrivals over the previous five years found that 21 percent of refugee families had one or more members receiving SSI.
For refugees from the Middle East, 91 percent of this population was on food stamps and 32 percent of families from this group had one or more members on SSI.
Is there really no cost to the state? And what about those costs to the federal government?
This is a letter you should use as a model where you live. Not mentioned by Barnett are the costs to local and state taxpayers to educate the children and the costs to the criminal justice system (for even minor legal infractions involving court interpreters).
***The report referenced here is the Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Report to Congress for 2013. You can find all of the very useful reports (as of today) through 2013, here. But once again, the ORR is breaking the law! As of January 31, 2016 they are TWO years behind in sending reports to Congress.
Where are the reports?
In December, Senator Jeff Sessions and Rep. Marsha Blackburn sent a letter to ORR wanting them to deliver the 2014 report, see here. And, since reports to Congress are legally required to be delivered 3 months after the close of the fiscal year, ORR should now be providing the report for 2015 as well. Are they hiding something at ORR or is it just sheer incompetence and mismanagement? It certainly looks like a (excuse the expression) middle finger to Congress.
Don Barnett, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies reports on how the resettlement contracting business works in an opinion piece in the Washington Times, here on Sunday.
In his opening paragraphs he reports on a little known (declassified) report for the National War College published in 2000. The author was (and may still be) a longtime employee of the US State Department and intimately involved in refugee resettlement.
I urge all of you to read the Robinson study, we reported on it here in 2010 (you will find a link to the study in that post), because it demonstrates how supposed ‘refugees’ became political pawns for the Clinton Administration’s justification for its phony-baloney Bosnian war, and how the contractors looking for more paying clients (aka refugees) urged an airlift of Kosovar ‘refugees’ who didn’t even want to come to America! The airlift was a twofer!
The report is entitled: ‘How public opinion shaped refugee policy in Kosovo.’
Despite the exposure refugee resettlement has received lately, there has been little discussion of how the program actually operates.
Each year the administration establishes source regions and numbers for next year’s quota. The U.N. refugee agency refers most of the refugees that come through the system, though embassy staff and State Department contractors may also make referrals. An influential network of private contractors implements the program.
Speaking of the contractors running refugee resettlement, David M. Robinson, a former acting director of the refugee bureau in the State Department, wrote in 2000,
“The agencies [the resettlement contractors—ed] form a single body [that] wields enormous influence over the Administration’s refugee admissions policy. It lobbies the hill effectively to increase the number of refugees admitted for permanent resettlement each year and at the same time provides overseas processing for admissions under contract to the State Department. In fact, the federal government provides about ninety percent of its collective budget. If there is a conflict of interest, it is never mentioned.”
“[Its] solution to every refugee crisis is simplistic and the same: increase the number of admissions to the United States without regard to budgets or competing foreign policy considerations.”
Readers! For the first time in 35 years you are helping to create a serious roadblock to these nine federal contractors that have ruled the roost and called the shots for decades, please keep up the pressure.
The most important thing you can do today is laid out for you in our post yesterday on the Omnibus funding bill before Congress!
Addendum: As I reread my post from 2010, I was reminded that one of the terrorists arrested as part of the Ft. Dix Six terror plot was a refugee—add him to the list of refugee terrorists that the contractors say do not exist!
And a note to any reporters reading this: we have an enormous body of work here—over 7,000 posts—use our search function for key words for anything you are working on!
Action Alert: Call your members of the House and Senate at 202-224-3121 and ask them to vigorously oppose the Refugee Resettlement funding contained in the Omnibus Spending Bill that will be voted on by 12-11-15! Please call by this Friday, Dec. 4th.
Editor: From time to time we post guest columns and other notable comments from readers. This one is from someone who knows the US Refugee Admissions Program better than anyone else on the outside (LOL! maybe better than some on the inside!).
Don Barnett has been following the refugee industry for over 25 years and is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.I’m happy to call him a longtime colleague and friend.
Below, Mr. Barnett addresses some of the ridiculous ‘studies’ being promoted around the US which posit that resettling impoverished third worlders will bring economic boom times to states losing population, or that refugee-run ‘businesses’ can rescue financially strapped cities.
The refugee resettlement program is perhaps the federal government’s most advanced case of politicized, Orwellian speech.
Are refugees too dependent on government hand-outs? Simply re-define the term “self-sufficiency” so that those dependent on government hand-outs are declared officially “self-sufficient”. According to the feds, a refugee can be on every welfare program except TANF and still be considered “self-sufficient”. Thus the media dutifully report the absurd claims of the refugee contractors about refugee “self-sufficiency” for individuals who may be in public housing, receiving Food Stamps, cash assistance from SSI and on Medicaid.
So much ignorance abounds that a “task force” recently formed to study the possibility of introducing refugee resettlement in Wyoming allowed itself to be assured by U. of Wyoming College of professor and immigration law specialist, Noah Novogrodsky, that the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees ‘pay 100 percent of the costs of refugee resettlement for many years. It’s not like we’re going to get stuck with an unfunded mandate’.
Of course it is a massive unfunded obligation placed upon states and localities by a federal program. Most refugees are placed into one or more public assistance programs by the refugee resettlement contractors. In recent weeks Congressional Research Services provided data about welfare usage among refugees. Among refugees who had arrived in a recent 5-year period, 56 percent were receiving Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance, 74.2 percent were on food stamps, and 22.8 percent were in public housing. 47.1 percent were on some form of cash assistance. (1)
State tax payers fund a portion of some federal programs such as Medicaid. When the 1980 act was passed the federal government promised to reimburse states for their cost share of refugee usage of SSI, AFDC (today TANF) and Medicaid at 100% for 3 full years. Even 3 years of coverage was acknowledged to be inadequate, but was better than nothing. By 1991 the states were getting nothing: all reimbursements for state refugee costs were eliminated.
Newspeak and Newthought permeate the cottage industry of studies “proving” the net positive economic benefits of refugee resettlement. A look at 2 past studies shows just how willing the media is to be spoon fed information rather than seeking, finding and questioning.
According to Tennessee’s state refugee coordinator – an employee of Catholic Charities, the state’s largest refugee resettlement contractor – a “comprehensive” study by the Tennessee legislature “found …that refugees pay more in taxes than they consume in benefits — in fact, twice as much.”
The 2013 study made no such finding. In assessing the cost of publicly funded benefits for refugees, the study looked at just 2 programs – public education (including ELL) and Tenncare (Tennessee’s version of Medicaid). It ignored a whole range of programs which refugees use and which Tennessee tax payers fund both with state tax dollars and as federal tax payers.
The study assumed that refugees were using Medicaid at the same rate as average Tennesseans even though up to 59% of refugees have been placed into Medicaid upon arrival in recent years.
Also, the report assumed refugees pay state taxes at the same rate as average Tennesseans while federal studies find very high usage of welfare, high unemployment and low wages among those refugees with jobs.
The study authors themselves concluded “The information necessary to complete a comprehensive study on the possible cost shifting from the federal government to the state for the resettlement of refugees is not available.” Nevertheless, The Tennessean and other media reported more or less as fact the “take away” that refugees bring in twice as much in taxes as they use in benefits.
The study’s outcome – more accurately, lack of outcome – was likely foreordained by a Chamber of Commerce/left wing coalition that had hijacked other supposedly objective fiscal reviews of state operations.
Another study of refugee economic impact sponsored by an amorphous, shape-shifting Chamber of Commerce/left wing coalition calling itself The Refugee Services Collaborative of Cleveland got more traction than the embarrassing Tennessee study. It found, according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that “Three resettlement agencies spend about $4.8 million a year helping refugees to start new lives in the Cleveland area. From that investment of mostly federal dollars comes an annual economic impact of nearly $50 million.”
Now the tax dollars invested are paying back 10 to 1!
The study looked at 3 areas where refugees make an economic contribution in the Cleveland area: refugee service organizations, refugee-owned businesses and household spending of refugee families.
Speaking of refugee service organizations, the study notes that the “preponderance of funding for these organizations is derived from federal sources”. That is not a negative finding for the authors of the study; after all it still represents a net inflow of money into the Cleveland area and employment for 95. I assume most of the employees are refugees or immigrants, but the study does not say. An interesting question for a study is why an area which in the year of the study resettled 598 refugees and resettled less than 400 per year in the previous 12 years needs 95 federal taxpayer funded employees focused exclusively on serving refugees.
The next category of economic contribution comes from refugee-owned businesses of which the study reports: “The Chmura survey indicated that over the last ten years, at least 38 businesses were started by refugees in the Cleveland area with a total of 141 employees (including owners). In addition, it is estimated that almost all of those employed by refugee-owned businesses are refugees themselves. Though the survey did not gather information of the types of businesses that were started, estimates were made based upon studies conducted elsewhere. The assumed mix of industries for the refugee-owned businesses includes the following: restaurants, retail, health and beauty, transportation and automotive services, and child care.” (my emphasis)
In other words, over a period of 10 years just 141 refugees found employment in 38 refugee-started businesses – average size less than 4 employees. The job-creation miracle yielded 141 jobs for the 4,000 or so who were resettled in the area at that time. And we have no idea what the businesses are – foodcarts, in-home day care centers, one man and a lawn mower, consultants on how to work the system? It is more than amazing that having located and counted all the businesses opened by refugees they didn’t ask “oh, by the way, just what does your business do?”
The third category of economic vitality is household spending of refugee families.
Offering no real supporting evidence the study assumes Cleveland area refugees use welfare at less than the national average for refugees. (See above for an idea of welfare usage for refugees nationally.) It doesn’t matter anyway: a dollar provided by the federal taxpayer via a welfare program is a net plus in this study as it is assumed that this dollar will be spent in a Cleveland business.
The study is filled with findings such as “refugee services will purchase goods and services from other local businesses to support their organizations” and there are “benefits to local consumer-oriented businesses (such as retail and restaurants) that make sales to workers of the refugee services”.
Remember “refugee services” purchase goods and pay salaries with federal taxpayer dollars. But the dollars keep going round and round with positive ‘direct impacts’, ‘indirect impact’ and ‘induced impacts’. (No mention is made that some of these dollars are going directly back to the home country.)
The fog of ignorance and misinformation around this program is largely thanks to the inattention, if not active collusion of the media.
The facts are out there if the media would but investigate and report them. Until that happens we will ever be in the twilight zone when it comes to this topic.
Readers and members of the media (who truly want to get the facts) may reach Barnett at this e-mail address: