A freshman Republican lawmaker is proposing that the United States put a hold on taking new refugees from around the world until the government better understands how cities and local communities are absorbing the costs and security risks of the nearly 500,000 refugees taken in under President Obama.
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that state and local governments have no say over whether to take the refugees, or how many, and don’t get any compensation when they do. Fears about the local impact of taking in refugees from Syria and other troublespots are ratcheting up after Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. would accept 85,000 refugees next year, and 100,000 by 2017.
Babin said it’s virtually impossible for lawmakers to obtain information on the refugee program, which is why his bill would call on the Government Accountability Office to “do an appraisal on just how much this is costing the American taxpayer.”
“We know that these refugees, over 90 percent of them, are on federal welfare programs,” said Babin. “A law like this that’s been around for so long and so few people know about, it almost seems like the government’s [been] trying to keep us in the dark all these years.”
Refugees are eligible for seven years of Supplemental Security Income, seven years of Medicaid coverage, five years of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and food stamps, according to the Congressional Research Service. With the United States debt approaching $19 trillion, around $25,000 per household, and millions of Americans dropping out of the labor force, taxpayers can ill afford the costs of the refugee program, Babin said. (Read more from “Lawmaker Demands Audit of U.S. Refugee Costs” HERE)