Trump administration rejects report showing refugees have a positive impact on the economy

In September 2017, the New York Times reported that the Trump Administration rejected a report completed by the Department of Health and Human Services (H.H.S.) that showed refugees actually boosted the American economy by $63 billion over a ten year period. The report contradicts President Trump and his administration’s stance on refugees. Stephen Miller, President Trump’s chief policy adviser, asserted that taking in refugees is too costly for the U.S. The H.H.S. report tells a different story. According to the report, between 2005-2014 refugees contributed $269.1 billion towards federal, state, and local taxes.

According to The New York Times, the report was completed in July, but was never published by the Trump administration. Raj Shah, the White House spokesperson, stated that, “This leak was delivered by someone with an ideological agenda, not someone looking at hard data.” The data that the H.H.S. found was that the per capita refugee cost for major H.H.S. programs are slightly higher than the per-person cost for the U.S. population, $3,300 and $2,500 respectively. The report found these figures to be true for the first four years out of a ten year period, but tend to decrease as refugees create a more stable life.

Officials at the Department of Defense and the State Department have vigorously argued that President Trump should allow more than 50,000 refugees to enter the U.S., which is the cap that he imposed in January 2017. The Department of Homeland Security suggested an even lower 40,000 refugee cap, which would have been the lowest admittance number in nearly three decades.

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security during George W. Bush’s presidency, also thinks that President Trump should reconsider his low refugee cap. Chertoff stated that, “From a national security standpoint, while we cannot take an unlimited number of refugees, we need to show our friends and allies that we stand with them and this is a shared burden.”

Although there is data that shows refugees positively impact the economy, President Trump has decided to allow only 45,000 refugees to enter the U.S. during the 2018 fiscal year. According to NBC News, since the fiscal year for 2018 began in October 2017, only 1,250 refugees have entered the U.S.. If this rate continues, only 15,000 refugees will enter the U.S. during the 2018 fiscal year. Only time will tell if the U.S. will reach the 45,000 refugee cap, but currently the U.S. is severely below target.