There’s exaggeration, there’s hyperbole, and then there’s the shit Donald Trump says. During his speech going after Hillary Clinton on Wednesday he bizarrely claimed that she wants to spend “hundreds of billions of dollars” to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States. The real number: A little over one billion.
“Hillary also wants to spend hundreds of billions to resettle Middle Eastern refugees in the United States, on top of the current record level of immigration,” Trump said. “For the amount of money Hillary Clinton would like to spend on refugees, we could rebuild every inner city in America.”
And now: Reality!
The only numbers we could find for Clinton’s budget plans were $15 million for immigrant integration services (from her campaign website), and $582 million to resettle 70,000 refugees. The second figure comes from an analysis of federal refugee spending by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
We used that as one starting point.
President Barack Obama seeks to increase the number of refugees accepted from around the world to 100,000. That includes 10,000 Syrian refugees. Clinton has said she wants to take in 65,000 Syrians. If we add her higher number to Obama’s, and we assume she wouldn’t trim his plan, we can estimate a total number of refugees of 155,000.
Scaling up the dollar amounts, we can roughly estimate a total cost for her plan of about $1.3 billion. That is about half a percent of the “hundreds of billions” that Trump claimed.
We also looked at the Obama administration’s FY 2017 budget request for refugee and entrant assistance. That is a bit under $2.2 billion for 100,000 refugees. When you add in the additional costs for more resettled Syrian refugees, you might get a budget in the neighborhood of $3 billion to $4 billion.
So he’s only off by a few hundred billion dollars.