The estimated cost to resettle an average, single Middle Eastern refugee in the U.S. over the first five years is $64,370 — or 12 times the United Nations estimates it costs to support a refugee staying in a neighboring Middle Eastern country, according to an analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies.
With the Obama administration planning to admit thousands of refugees from Middle Eastern hotspots like Syria to the U.S., a new CIS report slated for release Thursday and obtained in advance by Breitbart News, compares the cost of resettlement in the U.S. with supporting the refugees abroad.
“Given limited funds, the high costs of resettling refugees in the United States means that providing for them in neighboring countries in the Middle East is more cost-effective, allowing us to help more people,” Steven Camarota, lead author of the report and director of research at CIS, said.
According to CIS, while the UN has sought $1,057 annually to support each Syrian refugee living in neighboring Middle Eastern countries it would cost the U.S. $64,370 per refugee in the first five years, or $257,481 per refugee household, to resettle them in the U.S.
“The five-year costs of resettlement in the United States include $9,230 spent by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within HHS and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) within the State Department in the first year, as well as $55,139 in expenditures on welfare and education,” the report reads.
Indeed, as CIS notes, Middle Eastern refugees in the U.S. have traditionally required a lot of public assistance, with 91 percent on food stamps, 68 percent on cash assistance, and 62 percent on Medicaid, according to the most recent government data.
“Very heavy use of welfare programs by Middle Eastern refugees, and the fact that they have only 10.5 years of education on average, makes it likely that it will be many years, if ever, before this population will cease to be a net fiscal drain on public coffers — using more in public services than they pay in taxes,” the report reads.
CIS notes that for the five-year cost of resettling 49,000 Middle Eastern refugees in the U.S. is equal to the $2.5 billion funding gap the UN needs to support four million Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
“Comparing the five-year cost of bringing one refugee to the United States to the cost of providing for someone in the region shows that for each refugee resettled here, 61 can be helped if they remain in a safe neighboring country such as Turkey, Jordan, or Lebanon for one year,” the report reads.
The report comes as Republican lawmakers raise concerns not only about the cost, but also the national security implications of admitting thousands of refugees from terrorist hotbeds with limited vetting capabilities.
“The responsible and compassionate course for the United States is to help assist in the placement of refugees as close to their homes as possible,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, said following a hearing on refugee resettlement last month. “Encouraging millions to abandon their homes in the Middle East only further destabilizes the region, while imposing enormous costs on an American public that is struggling with low pay, rising crime, high deficits, and overstretched community resources.”