I have a new report out this month debunking the notion that refugee resettlement in the U.S. is a "win-win" in the sense of costing taxpayers nothing for their humanitarian gesture. From the introduction:
Advocates of expanding the number of refugees admitted to the United States have lately portrayed their position as a win-win — refugee resettlement not only assists the refugees themselves, it also allegedly improves our nation's fiscal health. The fiscal claim is unsupportable. Although refugees from earlier generations were often well educated, today's refugees have fewer than nine years of schooling on average. Because of their low earning power and immediate access to welfare benefits, recent refugees cost the government substantially more than they contribute in taxes, even over the long term.
Our best estimate of the average refugee's lifetime fiscal cost, expressed as a net present value, is $60,000, with those entering as adults (ages 25 to 64) costing $133,000 each. Perhaps this is a price that the United States should be willing to pay to further its humanitarian goals. However, resettlement in the United States may not be the most cost-effective means of aiding displaced people.Read the whole thing here.