Exclusive–Jim Renacci: Mike DeWine Should Be ‘Compassionate for Ohioans First’ Before Importing More Refugees

Young refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo wait to be registered at the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in western Uganda, on December 10, 2018
© AFP/File Isaac Kasamani

Former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) says Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine should be “compassionate for Ohioans first” before importing more refugees to his state, as he has decided to do, at the expense of taxpayers.

Earlier this month, Clinton-appointed Judge Peter Messitte granted a preliminary injunction to refugee contractors who sued President Trump for implementing an executive order that allows states and counties to have a say in whether they want refugees resettled in their communities.

Before the injunction, though, DeWine was one of 19 Republican governors who said he would allow the federal government to continue resettling refugees in Ohio — a decision that sparked outrage from Republican voters and activists in multiple red states.

In an exclusive interview with SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Sunday, Renacci said DeWine should be putting the interests of Ohioans first instead of bringing more refugees to the state that will cost taxpayers money.

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“The president gave every governor an opportunity to say ‘No’ and that’s the reason [Trump] signed the executive order back in September. But of course, Gov. DeWine made the decision that he’s going to bring more refugees in, in a state that’s really struggling right now with business and jobs,” Renacci said. “I’m not really sure why he’s doing it, I know it’s not something the Republican Party wants to see, or I should say Republicans, because we did have the chairwoman of the [Ohio] Republican Party [Jane Timken] come out and support his decision.”

“I love what Governor [Greg] Abbott [of Texas] said … he said it’s about ‘Texas first’ and in Ohio, it should be about ‘Ohio first’ and that’s not what we’ve seen with this current governor and with the [Republican] chairwoman coming out in support as well,” Renacci continued.

Renacci mentioned that a state like Ohio, which has been the epicenter of the nation’s opioid crisis, should be focused on its residents and existing issues facing voters, calling out refugee advocates who have claimed DeWine’s decision is about “compassion.”

“At a time when we need to make sure that we are taking care of our own, Ohio [at] one point in time was number one in opioid overdose and addiction — I think we’re probably in the top five still — there are issues with infrastructure,” Renacci said. “There are so many things that we could be spending our money on and some people say, ‘Well, it’s about compassion’ and I think in the end we have to be compassionate, but we should be compassionate for Ohioans first and then try and make sure that our infrastructure and all the things that are going on in Ohio need to be looked at first before we’re bringing in another burden to this state.”

Renacci, who wrote an op-ed blasting DeWine for promising to bring more refugees to Ohio, explained how nine refugee contractors profit from resettling as many refugees as possible in the U.S. for the State Department.

“[The refugee contractors] are funded by the federal government, these religious organizations, to bring in these refugees, they are paid handsomely and they make money off of them,” Renacci said. “So, of course, they’re going to continue to push and push and push to bring these refugees in because they make money off of them. But it’s a government expense to bring in the refugees, it’s a federal expense, and when they get to the state, then the state has to pick them up under the Medicaid and the healthcare.”

As Renacci notes, the hundreds of thousands of refugees resettled in the U.S. over the last decade are all immediately eligible for taxpayer-funded social services like food stamps and Medicaid. During a refugee’s first 20 years in the U.S., taxpayers will spend about $92,000 per refugee.

Since 2005, nearly 860,000 refugees have been resettled across the U.S. — a population that is more than 80 times the size of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Effectively, for the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 refugees have been resettled in the country, equivalent to adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, to the U.S. every year.

Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to the latest research. Over the course of five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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