An official in President Barack Obama’s administration refused to tell Congress how many Syrian refugees the president wants to import next financial year, and said only that the inflow would be greater than 12,000.
“So what’s the number of [Syrian] refugees you expect to admit in fiscal year 2017?” starting in October, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley asked on Wednesday.
“The White House has not given us a target next year for Syrians. We anticipate that it will be above 12,500 but I don’t have a number other than that,” Simon Henshaw, an assistant secretary in the State Department, said. “Typically, in our program, we don’t set nationality numbers. We only set numbers by region. It was unusual last year for a particular number, a Syrian number, to be set as it was.”
“Well, you may have answered this question by saying 12,000. Would you say that the range is in that area of ten to fifteen thousand?”
“I can only say that I expect it will be above 12,000, yeah,” Henshaw said.
“But you cannot say how much above 12,000?”
“No, I cannot. No, sir.”
“Is that because it’s a hot political item?” Grassley pressed.
“Uh, no, it’s because a number has not been given to us… and we haven’t been given nationality numbers. The White House hasn’t taken that level of interest, so I don’t want to speak before the White House does in case they want to set a number.”
The State Department earlier declared the U.S. imported 77,388 refugees by September 13, adding they’re confident they would reach their goal of 85,000 by September 30.
An outgoing President Obama wants to dump an additional 25,000 refugees into struggling American communities, bringing the total to 110,000 in a single fiscal year. From Henshaw’s testimony, it’s unclear how many the administration will ship to the continental U.S.
Ninety-one percent of Middle Eastern refugees go on food stamps,73.1 percent depend on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance,and 68.3 percent take cash assistance from taxpayers, according to Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Each unskilled migrant costs taxpayers roughly $640,000 in long-term spending, and also pressure down wages for unskilled Americans and prior immigrants, according to a Sept. 2016 report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. that calculation suggests that the planned 110,000 migrants will cost Americans and their children roughly $70.4 billion over the next 75 years.