We first posted a fact sheet in 2007, updated it again in 2010 and again in 2013. Here are facts you need to know about refugee resettlement to the United States:
1. Since 1975, the U.S. has resettled over 3 million refugees, with annual admissions figures ranging from a high of 207,000 in 1980 to a low of 27,110 in 2002 (in the aftermath of 911) .
The average number of refugees admitted annually since 1980 is about 98,000. Additionally, in recent years, another 40,000 or more per year come in as asylum seekers and Cuban/Haitian entrants – all with the same rights and entitlements as refugees.
All these flows detonate their own chain migration flows in addition to the refugee influx. These follow-on flows have easily multiplied the original admission numbers by a factor of 4 or more.
The quota for 2013 is 70,000 and it looks like it will be met this year. There is strong political pressure to get refugee numbers back to over 100,000.
2. The U.S. takes more than twice as many refugees as all countries from the rest of the industrialized world combined.
3. One of the operative assumptions of those in the refugee industry is that, since the U.S. is behind most of the chaos in the world – Syria, here we come!, it is morally obligated to take the lead in resettling the world’s refugees. Yet, for 2012 the leading countries, in order of numbers of refugees sent to the U.S., were Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Cuba, Dem. Rep. Congo, Iran, Eritrea, Sudan. All America’s fault? In very recent memory the MSM was celebrating Bhutan and suggesting the U.S. had something to learn from the Bhutanese concept of a “Product of National Happiness”.
Ironically, the U.S. refugee program diverts resources from assistance on the ground to those very countries in the developing world which carry the main burden of refugee crises.
4. In recent years up to 95% of the refugees coming to the U.S. were referred by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or were the relatives of UN-picked refugees. Until the late 90’s the U.S. picked the large majority of refugees for resettlement in the U.S.
Considering that the refugee influx causes increases in all legal and illegal immigration as family and social networks are established in the U.S., the U.N. is effectively dictating much of U.S. immigration policy.
5. NIMBYists gone wild: As a Senator, Sam Brownback harshly rejected the resettlement of Somali Bantu in his own state even though he was a major advocate among evangelicals for increased refugee immigration to the U.S..
The state of Delaware has resettled less than 10 refugees annually in recent years even though then Sen. Joe Biden was a sponsor of the 1980 Refugee Act – the bill which defines the refugee program we have today.
Upon entry, a network of private, “nonprofit” agencies (so-called “voluntary agencies”) selects the communities where refugees will live. The agencies are either headquartered in Washington DC or have lobbying offices there.
Washington DC took less than 200 refugees between 2007 and 2012.
6. According to a July 2012 GAO report (Refugee Resettlement:
Greater Consultation with Community Stakeholders Could Strengthen Program: “most public entities such as public schools and health departments generally said that voluntary agencies notified them of the number of refugees expected to arrive in the coming year, but did not consult them regarding the number of refugees they could serve”.
7. This same GAO report quotes a state official who notes “that local affiliate funding is based on the number of refugees they serve, so affiliates (private contractors) have an incentive to maintain or increase the number of refugees they resettle each year rather than allowing the number to decrease.”
8. Refugee resettlement is a self-perpetuating global enterprise. Staff and management of the hundreds of taxpayer supported U.S. contractors are largely refugees or immigrants whose purpose is to gain entry for more refugees, usually for their co-ethnics.
9. According to David Robinson, a former acting director of the State Department’s refugee bureau, writing about the refugee contractors: “the federal government provides about ninety percent of its collective budget” and its lobbying umbrella “wields enormous influence over the Administration’s refugee admissions policy. It lobbies the Hill effectively to increase the number of refugees admitted for permanent resettlement each year ….If there is a conflict of interest, it is never mentioned…. The solution its members offer to every refugee crisis is simplistic and the same: increase the number of admissions to the United States without regard to budgets…” How Public Opinion Shaped Refugee Policy in Kosovo, 2000, David M. Robinson, http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA432218
We hesitate to quibble with an authoritative source on the percentage of federal money floating the refugee industry, but from an accountant’s perspective that percentage is actually over 100 % given the amount of money the industry is able to pocket without any proof that it was spent on refugees.
10. According to Ken Tota, Deputy Director at HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, Congress has never in his 25-year tenure questioned the refugee quota proposed by the administration. By law, Congress is supposed to consent to the annual quota but obviously refuses to take this role seriously.
11. Refugee “self-sufficiency” is an important measure of success and a basis for assigning refugees to agencies in future contracts. The definition of “self-sufficiency” has been steadily defined downward and today is virtually meaningless. A refugee can be considered “self-sufficient” while using all of the programs listed in item 16 below with the exception of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
12. Assimilation is no longer a goal for any agency involved in refugee resettlement – government or private contractor. The private contractors’ engagement with the refugee is so short – less than 4 months in most cases, that nothing approaching assimilation could even be considered. The term “assimilation” is no longer a part of government lexicon and does not even occur in dozens of recent reports and papers generated about refugee resettlement. The operative term in vogue now is “integration” with its clear intent of maintenance of ethnic identity.
13. A refugee or an asylum seeker must show a “well-founded” fear of persecution on account of a political view or membership in a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The definition of a refugee has been widely stretched by all 3 branches of the government – the Judiciary, the Congress and the Administration.
In fact, Congress can name whatever group it wants to be a refugee or asylum seeker. For instance Congress passed a law declaring China’s one-child policy to be an example of persecution based upon a political view. Not surprising: China now heads up the list of successful asylum seekers.
People may seek asylum in the U.S. based upon domestic abuse, FGM and even lack of services for the disabled.
The government does not publicize rates of admission by category so it is not possible to tell, for instance, if the vague and easy to fake ‘social group’ category is more commonly used than the vague and easy to fake ‘political group’ category.
Because of the privacy rights accorded the new arrivals, we have no idea which category was used by Tamerlane Tsarnaev’s parents to gain admission to the world’s most generous immigration program.
14. The Obama administration has placed a priority on LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees. This has resulted in an upsurge of asylum requests on this basis – even from countries like England! Since the State Department does not keep data about numbers admitted by reason for admission, we can’t obtain exact numbers of those admitted on the basis of LBGTQI persecution, but one private refugee agency has set up an office in Nairobi, Kenya to assist intending LBGTQI refugees. This office also advises about how to get into the refugee pipeline. In other words, a private contractor is recruiting refugees who will eventually become the contractor’s profit-generating clients. At the 2012 conference of refugee contractors sponsored by the DHHS Office of Refugee resettlement a refugee contractor demanded that Medicaid pay for sex change operations if needed by newly arrived refugees.
15. The program has gradually shifted towards the resettlement of refugees from Muslim countries. Some individuals from Muslim countries are Christians or other minorities, but most are Muslims. In the early 90’s the percentage of Muslim refugees was near 0; by 2000 the program was 44% Muslim. The Muslim component decreased after 911, but today is back up to about 40% and is set to rise from here.
Membership in a U.S.-registered Islamic terrorist group is not a bar to entry on the program as long as the refugee was not a “direct participant” in “terrorist” activity.
16. Refugees, successful asylum seekers, trafficking victim visa holders, “Cuban-Haitian Entrants” (which are mostly Cuban), S.I.V’s (for Iraqis and Afghanis) and other smaller humanitarian admission groups are eligible for ALL federal, state and local welfare programs 30 days after arrival.
Refugee access to welfare on the same basis as a U.S. citizen has made the program a global magnet.
The federal programs available to them include:
- ∙Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) formerly known as AFDC
- Food Stamps
- Public Housing
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) (direct services only)
- Child Care and Development Fund
- Independent Living Program
- Job Opportunities for Low Income Individuals (JOLI)
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Postsecondary Education Loans and Grants
- Refugee Assistance Programs
- Title IV Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Payments (if parents are ⌠qualified immigrants – refugees, asylees, etc)
- Title XX Social Services Block Grant Funds
17. Welfare use is staggering among refugees. Welfare usage is never counted by officials as part of the cost of the program. Yet, when it is included, the total cost of the refugee program soars to at least 10-20 billion a year.
As some Americans are pushed off of time-limited welfare programs many refugees are going on to life-time cash assistance programs. For instance, 12.7% of refugees are on SSI – a lifetime entitlement to a monthly check / Medicaid for elderly or disabled. This rate of usage is at least 4 times higher than the rate of usage for SSI among the native-born population and is reportedly rising from these already very high levels.
Permanent and intergenerational welfare dependence has been allowed to take hold to a significant degree in some refugee groups.
Find table TABLE II-14: Public Assistance Utilization Among refugees who arrived during the 5 years previous to the survey 57.7% are on government medical assistance such as Medicaid, about 25% have no health insurance at all, 70.2% are receiving food stamps, 31.6% are in public housing (an additional percentage is on a public housing waiting list), and 38.3 % are getting cash assistance such as TANF or SSI.
The figure of 57.7% dependent upon government medical assistance is actually an undercount since it excludes children under 16.
18. Medium size towns, such as Bowling Green, KY, Nashville, TN, Ft. Wayne, IN, Boise, ID and Manchester, NH, are serving as the main reception centers for the refugee program.
19. Refugees are not tested for many diseases, such as HIV. Refugees are a major contributing factor to TB rates among the foreign-born. TB among the foreign-born now accounts for about half of the TB in America.
20. The money the U.S. spends bringing one refugee to the U.S. could have helped 500 individuals overseas in countries where they currently reside.
21. It has never been reported in the U.S. that 47% of loans made to refugees for transportation to the U.S. are unpaid leaving an unpaid balance of $450 million. This amount – slightly out of date, does not include interest or an unknown amount that has been written off. We will announce the new balance as soon as it is available.
22. Refugee resettlement is profitable to the organizations involved in it. They receive money from the federal government for each refugee they bring over. They have almost no real responsibilities for these refugees. After 4 months the “sponsoring” organization is not even required to know where the refugee lives.
There are 9 main major refugee resettlement organizations (Volags from “Voluntary Agency”) with approximately 450 affiliated organizations throughout the country; many are run by former refugees. Below are the 9 Volags that operate today:
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB),
- Lutheran Immigrant Aid Society (LIRS),
- International Rescue Committee (IRC),
- World Relief Corporation,
- Immigrant and Refugee Services of America (IRSA),
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS),
- Church World Service (CWS),
- Domestic and Foreign Missionary Service of the Episcopal Church of the USA,
- Ethiopian Community Development Center (ECDC),
Below are some of the sources of income for Volags:
a. $1,850 per refugee (including children) from the State Department.
b. Up to $2,200 for each refugee by participating in a U.S. DHHS program known as Matching Grant. To get the $2,200, the Volag need only show it spent $200 and gave away $800 worth of donated clothes, furniture or cars.
c. The Volag pockets 25% of every transportation loan it collects from refugees it “sponsors”.
d. All Volag expenses and overhead in the Washington, DC HQ are paid by the U.S. government.
e. For their refugee programs, Volags collect money from all federal grant programs – “Marriage Initiative”, “Faith-based”, “Ownership Society”, etc., as well as from various state and local grants.
The program is so lucrative that in some towns the Catholic Church has lessened support for traditional charity works to put more effort into resettlement. It uses collection offerings to promote the refugee resettlement program.
23. Despite their rhetoric, refugee agencies have steadfastly refused to use their own resources to maintain the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Public money has thoroughly driven out private money.
A program known as the Private Sector Initiative allowed sponsoring agencies to bring over refugees if the agencies were willing to cover costs of resettlement and support. It was discontinued for lack of use in the mid-1990s. Today the agencies are on record as opposed to diverting more federal refugee dollars to overseas refugee assistance (where each dollar will go further in helping refugees) because it might mean fewer dollars for them!
As with other government-dependent industries there is a revolving door between the refugee industry and the federal government which pays its bills.
24. To give an idea of the staying power of the refugee program:
When we began taking Southeast Asian refugees in the late 70’s, the refugee agencies hired temporary workers, thinking the program would only go for a few months. More than 37 years after the last American left Vietnam we are still taking refugees from South East Asia. At least 1.5 million have come in as refugees alone. As well, it has detonated chain migration of non-refugee immigrants.
25. The program is rife with fraud and corruption at all levels. UN personnel often sell access to the program and once here refugees make false claims of family relationship in order to facilitate wider immigration. Government grant fraud is common among local refugee service providers.
26. The refugee program has a significant impact on U.S. foreign policy. It also affects internal and foreign policies of other nations by allowing them to rid themselves of unwanted minorities or close their borders to asylum seekers in the knowledge that the U.S. will take them in.
EDITORS NOTE: This fact sheet originally appeared on Refugee Resettlement Watch.