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Resettling refugees in the US costs taxpayers money. But how much?

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Resettling refugees in the US costs taxpayers money. But how much?

WATCH | Here's what resettling refugees costs the U.S.

It’s hard to put a figure on how much taxpayers spend on resettling refugees.

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a pro-refugee group, told us that because of all the different agencies involved that it is almost impossible to quantify.

But we thought we’d try and to start, you’d have to understand the process.

Most refugees get recommended for U.S. resettlement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Most of the security vetting is done by the Department of Homeland Security along with the State Department, which also does refugee admissions.

Once in the U.S., there's the Department of Health and Human Services who help refugees ease their way into American life.

And like everything, vetting and then easing refugees into America costs money.

So let’s do some math:

Based on State Department numbers in 2016, they budgeted $656 million on refugee admission. The Department of Homeland Security budgeted $50 million. And the Department of Health and Human Services budgeted about $720 million.

So all in all the U.S. in 2016 allocated about $1.4 billion to settle refugees in America. And all of this went to settle the 84,994 who came to America in 2016. By our math, that’s about $17,000 per refugee.

The five-year cost of taking a refugee from the Middle East to the United States is more than $60,000.
Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of CIS

But the conservative Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) thinks that number is low since it doesn’t follow how much money the refugees cost America while they are here.


The Center for Immigration Studies’ number is based on the expenditures by HHS and State as well as the cost they believe that refugees cost the government when and if they enroll in social services.

So at the end of the day, there is no exact number on how much it costs the U.S. to take in refugees.


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