10 hrs ago
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has announced her desire to admit at least 65,000 refugees from Syria – on top of the existing refugee flow already entering the United States. What Clinton has not explained, however, is that in addition to the clear national security implications related to accepting more refugees, there are massive financial costs that would be borne by federal, state, and local governments.
Assuming Clinton's desire to bring in 65,000 Syrian refugees is in addition to the Obama Administration's current goal of admitting 10,000 this fiscal year (out of 85,000 total refugees), that would amount to an increase of 55,000 refugees. 55,000 on top of 85,000 totals 140,000 refugees. The Obama Administration's target for FY 2017 is actually 100,000 refugees, meaning that adding 55,000 refugees to that would result in 155,000 refugees each year. Due to statutory flaws in our Refugee Admissions Program, the number could be as high as Hillary Clinton desires. Assuming her goal is to admit 155,000 refugees each year during a hypothetical first term in office, a Clinton Administration would admit at least 620,000 refugees in just four years – a population roughly the size of Baltimore.
Although some have attempted to say that the cost of the Refugee Admissions Program is encapsulated in the annual budget provided to the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services for refugee resettlement, the actual costs are exponentially greater – as the annual budget for refugee resettlement does not include costs related to Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and other programs, as the Obama Administration admits. Nor does that budget include the costs imposed on state and local governments for social services. Furthermore, that budget does not include the costs of future benefits use after refugees become lawful permanent residents and citizens. The true lifetime cost of admitting a single refugee must include an accounting of all benefits received by that refugee - at the federal, state, and local levels, and over the course of that refugee's lifespan. Any other calculation is akin to saying that the total cost of owning a new car is encapsulated in the down payment.
Undoubtedly, the resulting costs of admitting the refugees under Clinton’s plan will be enormous. Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation has estimated that the total lifetime cost of admitting 10,000 refugees is $6.5 billion. This estimate encompasses costs to taxpayers at the federal, state, and local levels. Using Mr. Rector’s numbers as a baseline, admitting 155,000 refugees in one year would result in a total lifetime cost to the taxpayers of $100,750,000,000. If those levels were sustained over the course of four years – a hypothetical first term in office – the lifetime cost to the taxpayers according to Mr. Rector’s analysis would be $403 billion.
Importantly, Mr. Rector’s numbers reflect an estimate of the net taxpayer cost for admitting a defined number of refugees to the United States. As such, they do not account for aliens granted asylee status in the United States (approximately 25,000 are granted asylee status every year), nor do they account for the fact that refugees will be able to – and do – bring in additional family members after being admitted to the United States. Indeed, if an individual refugee’s spouse or unmarried children were not admitted at the same time as the refugee, they are eligible to “follow-to-join” and be admitted to the United States for two years after the individual refugee’s admission. One year after being admitted to the United States, refugees are eligible to adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident status (i.e. obtain a “green card”), enabling them to petition for additional family members. And assuming that a refugee becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident, he or she is further eligible to naturalize five years after being admitted to the United States, enabling them to bring in additional relatives. Thus, the total cost of admitting a certain number of refugees in any given year could be even higher than Mr. Rector predicts.
Clinton Refugee Plan Could Bring 620K Refugees In First Term At Lifetime Cost Of Over $400 Billion
SESSIONS.SENATE.GOV|BY SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS