American Values and Refugee Resettlement



U.S. media outlets relentlessly tout this country’s refugee-resettlement programs as representing “American Values.” The more, the merrier, they insist.

USA Today, in an emotional and historically inaccurate editorial, recently blasted “the cruelty of Donald Trump’s refugee cap.”

But data buried in a new government report raise questions about the sustainability of a massive resettlement program that cost American taxpayers $96.65 billion from 2005-2014. The price tag climbed to $125.696 billion when refugees’ spouses and children were included.

The growing social-welfare costs – ranging from Medicaid and Medicare to child-care subsidies and low-income home energy assistance — exceed FAIR’s earlier estimate of $8.8 billion over five years.

After the Obama administration doubled down by admitting 155,000 more refugees in the two years following 2014, President Trump capped the number at 30,000 for this fiscal year.

Overheated journalists, left-wing politicians, and immigration enthusiasts characterize the reduction as tantamount to torching the Statue of Liberty. But the 30,000 figure is closer to historic levels. Critics also dismiss the myriad other forms of assistance the United States provides to care for the estimated 68.5 million people around the world who have been displaced from their homes due to wars, famines, and other natural and manmade disasters.

Citing a backlog of 800,000 asylum cases, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “In consideration of both U.S. national security interest and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country.”

In essence, administration critics want us to look only at the number of refugees resettled, while ignoring the exponentially larger number of asylum seekers who are in the country, the vast majority of whom are unlikely to leave even if their claims are denied.

As immigration reporter Neil Munro wrote last week: “The huge cost [of refugees]adds up to $670 per working American, not counting the hard-to-assess costs of crowded schoolrooms, flooded labor markets, civic diversity, and shifts in political power away from Americans.”

The United States is not walking away from its responsibility to provide relief to legitimate refugees around the world. Rather, we are (or should be) engaged in an effort to determine how we can best assist people in an age when unprecedented numbers are being uprooted by conflicts, environmental degradation, and an epidemic of failed states. Mass resettlement may be the least effective means to that end.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

5 Comments

  1. avatar

    If we are not going to round them up and immedistely deport them after denying their asylum claims, why bother doing anything. To do anything that does NOT include moving foreigners who should not be here OUT of our country pronto is simply a farce and s waste of breath, ink, and time. And, all such declarations are no longer believable anyway because they have lost all credibility because they are NEVER followed with REAL difference-making action.

  2. avatar

    First of all, how can anyone with any commonsense think that accepting Muslim refugees into our country as representing American values? Can you imagine anything less opposite? If foreigners coming here actually intended to become American, they would be willing to embrace our values, customs, culture, society, etc, but, instead, the majority of kegal immigrants/refugees/asylees and all illegal aliens coming here today are just financial opportunists, coming here to get all the material things they can, free to them if at all possible. They neither have, nor desire, a stake in our country. They are takers, not beneficial to the success of our nation. They care nothing about their horrendous costs to the American citizens nor anything about the great harm their numbers and attitudes are to every aspect of our nation and our people’s lives. We have NO legal or moral obligation to other countries/peoples except to treat them fairly and aid them, within reason, when we can. BUT we have NO such obligation to allow them to move into our country by the millions to be taken care of by us at the expense of our own people.

  3. avatar

    OVERPOPULATION a Four Letter Word for the Sierra Club

    And now its Numbersusa too I just learned yesterday?….they generally won’t print any blogs that blame OVERPOPULATION for environmental decay of the Earth. Horrifying.

    This PC thinking is destroying America. I know, some Americans have big families, so what? Our average birthrate is slow depopulation over generations….Great! Its the average birthrate that matters.

    • avatar

      First of all, how can anyone with any commonsense think that accepting Muslim refugees into our country as representing American values? Can you imagine anything less opposite? If foreigners coming here actually intended to become American, they would be willing to embrace our values, customs, culture, society, etc, but, instead, the majority of kegal immigrants/refugees/asylees and all illegal aliens coming here today are just financial opportunists, coming here to get all the material things they can, free to them if at all possible. They neither have, nor desire, a stake in our country. They are takers, not beneficial to the success of our nation. They care nothing about their horrendous costs to the American citizens nor anything about the great harm their numbers and attitudes are to every aspect of our nation and our people’s lives. We have NO legal or moral obligation to other countries/peoples except to treat them fairly and aid them, within reason, when we can. BUT we have NO such obligation to allow them to move into our country by the millions to be taken care of by us at the expense of our own people. And we are responsibile for our people and the health of our country right on into its future for our descendants. BUT, our Congress, government, no borders citizens/media and judiciary are indicating that responsibility to add millions of foreign strangers annually to overwhelm every aspect of our country and our own citizen’s lives.

  4. avatar
    Nihad Mohamed on

    USA citizens need a lot of services improvements ,, maintenance e,x
    Subways stations like 3rd world countries

    * Needy groups like homeless , veterans,, disabled , single mothers needs better quality of life

    *Education , health care , after school programs

    * Addiction

    * Home land security

    Taxes money must be for citizens better life