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