Why Hide the Facts About Refugee Costs and Benefits?

September 22, 2017 Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

"No enterprise in the United States—or any market economy—could survive if it only counted the costs of doing business and ignored the benefits side of the ledger. But that is exactly how some Trump administration officials are insisting on evaluating the refugee resettlement program, according to a report in The New York Times this week.

White House officials opposed to refugee resettlement rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to the Times, because it does not support their argument that resettlement is an unreasonable fiscal burden. Indeed, the 55-page draft shows the opposite, finding that refugees brought in $63 billion more revenue to federal, state, and local governments than they cost over the 2005-14 period surveyed. In place of this analysis, HHS submitted to the White House a three-page document that looked only at HHS expenditures on refugees (such as Medicaid), ignoring taxes paid by refugees and other receipts.

This three-page document can be viewed at best as a careful cherry-picking of statistics as the White House seeks to marshal its case for further deep cuts to the resettlement program. An announcement anticipated in the coming days could drop the fiscal 2018 ceiling well below the already historically low 50,000 level set earlier this year when President Trump slashed the 110,000 allocation for FY 2017 set under the prior administration.

The full HHS report, by contrast, is a well-researched, serious piece of work—far from the accusations of political motivation suggested by a White House spokesman who, without a trace of irony, attributed the leak of the report to someone with an 'ideological agenda, not someone looking at hard data.'


The Patriot Ledger. Read the full article here.