Trump Rejects Study on Positive Impact of Refugees

Donald Trump asked the Department of Health and Human Services to do a study on how much refugees cost in the programs that they administer. The study concluded that they contribute far more than they cost. Naturally, the White House just rejected that conclusion and buried the study.


Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.

The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to welcome refugees is too costly and raises concerns about terrorism…

The internal study, which was completed in late July but never publicly released, found that refugees “contributed an estimated $269.1 billion in revenues to all levels of government” between 2005 and 2014 through the payment of federal, state and local taxes. “Overall, this report estimated that the net fiscal impact of refugees was positive over the 10-year period, at $63 billion.”

But White House officials said those conclusions were illegitimate and politically motivated, and were disproved by the final report issued by the agency, which asserts that the per-capita cost of a refugee is higher than that of an American.

And who did the hatchet job on this? Anti-immigrant bigot Stephen Miller, of course.

An internal email, dated Sept. 5 and sent among officials from government agencies involved in refugee issues, said that “senior leadership is questioning the assumptions used to produce the report.” A separate email said that Mr. Miller had requested a meeting to discuss the report. The Times was shown the emails on condition that the sender not be identified. Mr. Miller personally intervened in the discussions on the refugee cap to ensure that only the costs — not any fiscal benefit — of the program were considered, according to two people familiar with the talks.

Anyone surprised by this? You certainly shouldn’t be. Facts and evidence have never mattered in the slightest to Trump, or to those who work for him. If the facts don’t support your claim, you just get new facts, “alternative facts,” that do. And you never, ever back down from those claims, no matter how clearly disproven they are.

This has nothing to do with cost or the budget, it’s all about bigotry and xenophobia, and especially about Islamophobia. They want you to be terrified of refugees and they’ve told a lot of lies to build that narrative, banking on the nation’s bigotry and especially our fear and loathing of Muslims for that narrative to find fertile ground for growth. And they’re right. It works. But it’s deeply immoral.

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