Each Resettled Refugee in the US Costs Taxpayers $15,900 Per Year

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, an American immigration think tank, released a study that shows each refugee costs US taxpayers $79,600 for the first five years of an average refugee’s stay, which breaks down to $15,900 per year. This includes Medicaid, Food Stamps, public education, public housing, and other government benefits. The US accepts 50,000 to 100,000 refugees per year and 20,000 to 50,000 political-asylum-seekers per year. Most of them arrive here without financial resources, and the American taxpayer is required to feed, clothe, and shelter them in addition to funding job-training programs.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a pro-American immigration think tank, issued a study Monday showing a strikingly high price tag for resettling refugees in the United States.

When they combined resettlement costs with Medicaid, Food Stamps, public education, public housing, and a bevy of other government programs and benefits, the study’s authors, Matthew O’Brien and Spencer Raley arrived at a figure of $79,600 in taxpayer costs for the first five years of an average refugee’s stay in the U.S., which annualizes to $15,900.

The figures do not include an assessment negative societal impact, if any, from refugee resettlement. The authors write:

It is important to note that this analysis does not address the costs associated with any incurred national security and law enforcement costs associated with some refugees who pose a threat. The total price of additional vetting and screening expenditures, law enforcement and criminal justice costs, and federal homeland security assistance to state and local agencies is hard to quantify.

The $15,900 price tag does not tell the entire fiscal story of refugee resettlement. As advocates of permissive refugee and asylum policy are apt to point out, many refugees do work and contribute to the American economy after resettlement. That contribution has proven difficult to quantify, however. Left-leaning PolitiFact, for example, concluded the extent of that contribution is unclear after a draft Obama-era Health and Human Services report on the matter found a massive offsetting contribution, but was rejected in September.

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