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Refugees, asylum seeks making economic contribution in US

22 February 20240 comments

Refugees and asylum seekers are contributing more to the US economy than they cost, a new study has found.

The study, titled ‘The Fiscal Impact of Refugees and Asylees at The Federal, State and Local Levels from 2005-2019’, by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found the newcomers made a “significant” positive financial impact of almost $US124 billion.

“The study’s revelations are significant, illustrating a positive net fiscal impact of refugees on the US economy over a 15-year span,” the researchers said.

“Collectively, these groups have contributed a staggering $US123.8 billion more than they have cost in governmental expenditures, showcasing their economic benefit.

“This figure is split between a $US31.5 billion net benefit to the federal government and an approximate $US92.3 billion boon to state and local governments. When looking at individual contributions made by refugees, they align closely with the income of the total US population.

“Overall, the US government at both federal and state levels received a significant income from refugee contributions.

The ground-breaking study quantified the financial contributions of refugees between 2005 and 2019.

It said refugees have generated an estimated $581 billion for governments at all levels, including $US363 billion in federal taxes, encompassing payroll, income, and excise taxes; and $US218 billion in state and local taxes, including income, sales and property taxes.

Over the same period, the total government spending n refugees amounted to approximately $US457.2 billion, with federal spending accounting for 72.5 per cent of this total. State and local government expenditures made up the remaining 27.5 per cent.

While the study acknowledges certain limitations, such as its focus solely on populations served by HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement and the exclusion of other immigration statuses,

The report’s authors say it “compellingly demonstrates the positive fiscal and cultural impact of the US humanitarian program for refugees”.

“This comprehensive analysis sheds light on the significant, often overlooked, contributions of these groups to the fabric of American society and its economy.

“…for thousands of refugees living in precarious situations overseas and patiently waiting for resettlement in the US, living and working in the U.S. remains a beacon of hope for a better future in 2024 and beyond.

“When refugees join communities across our nation, many wonder how long it takes before a refugee family starts contributing to their local economy and how it affects the nation. Now data are available to demonstrate how much refugees do for the US economy and all levels of government,” the authors said.  

Read the full report here: Refugees in U.S. Have Contributed Nearly $124B to U.S. Government Budget, New HHS Study Reveals | The Administration for Children and Families