STUDY: Refugee Resettlement Costs Taxpayers $1.8B/Year

Most money spent on refugees is mainly cash or financial assistance…

Photo by Phil Roeder

(Ana Michaels, Liberty Headlines) The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) revealed in a study this week that refugee resettlement in the United States costs taxpayers $1.8 billion dollars a year.

The cost over five years is $8.8 billion.

Roughly, each refugee costs U.S. taxpayers $15,900 per year – or around $79,600 for the first five years – that they spend in the United States.

Refugees entering the U.S. often have no money, property or even marketable job skills.


Most of the money spent on refugees is mainly cash or financial assistance, welfare programs and social services.

Food stamps, Medicaid, SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), housing assistance, child care assistance, loan forgiveness, legal aid and job training are just a handful of the taxpayer funded programs made available to refugees.


Key findings from the FAIR study:

  • The cost per refugee to American taxpayers is just under $79,600 every year in the first five years after a refugee is resettled in the U.S.;
  • In 2016, the State Department spent nearly $545 million to process and resettle refugees, including $140,389,177 on transportation costs;
  • Of the $1.8 billion in resettlement costs, $867 billion was spent on welfare alone;
  • In their first five years, approximately 54 percent of all refugees will hold jobs that pay less than $11 an hour;
  • $71 million will be spent to educate refugees and asylum-seekers, a majority of which will be paid by state and local governments;
  • Over five years, an estimated 15.7 percent of all refugees will need housing assistance, which is roughly $7,600 per household in 2014 dollars.

According to FAIR, the United States has accepted 3.5 million people since 1980.