Trump Administration Study: Refugees Help The Economy

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A study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services found that accepting international refugees has previously been a net benefit for the U.S. economy. Trump administration officials reportedly rejected the findings because they undermined President Donald Trump's calls for the U.S. to accept fewer refugees.

On March 6, Trump signed both a memorandum on immigration and a revised executive order that placed a temporary halt on U.S. admittance of refugees and citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. The memorandum commissioned a government study on the long-term costs for the U.S. government for admitting and supporting international refugees, according to Refugees International.

On Sept. 18, The New York Times obtained an HHS report that estimated that refugees had provided the U.S. government with a net-positive $63 billion in additional revenue between 2005 and 2014. The study concluded that refugees contributed more in taxes than they cost in government benefits and that they worked in jobs that the majority of U.S. citizens had rejected.

The HHS report was completed in July but never released. On Sept. 5, the Trump administration instead released a report that only noted how much refugees cost in government benefits. The published report noted that refugees cost the HHS more per capita than the rest of the population but omitted their contribution to the economy. Trump administration sources who requested anonymity asserted that White House chief policy adviser Stephen Miller -- who wants to reduce immigration -- had intervened on the original report and prevented it from being released.

HIAS president Mark Hetfield, who opposes a reduction in U.S. admittance of refugees, blasted the Trump administration for not releasing the original HHS report. HIAS is one of the nine agencies that work to resettle refugees.

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"We see an administration that's running a program that it's intent on destroying," Hetfield said. "We do have champions in the White House and in the administration, but they're not being given a voice in this."

Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Raj Shah blasted the leaking of the study.

"This leak was delivered by someone with an ideological agenda, not someone looking at hard data," Shah said. "The actual report pursuant to the presidential memorandum shows that refugees with few skills coming from war-torn countries take more government benefits from the Department of Health and Human Services than the average population, and are not a net benefit to the U.S. economy."

Trump has advocated for reducing the number of refugees that the U.S. accepts per year. The Trump administration has until Oct. 1 to set how many refugees the U.S. will accept in 2018.

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On Sept. 19, the president stated during a speech before the United Nations that his administration would rather provide financial assistance to countries that were already hosting refugees.

"For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region ... We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries," Trump said during the U.N. General Assembly, according to The Washington Post.

The president added: "For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government."

Sources: The New York Times, Refugees International, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Ggia/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: U.S. Department of State/Flickr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr

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