U.S. economy loses billions of dollars a year due to the sharp decline in refugee admissions, economists says

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The decline of refugees arriving in the U.S. costs the overall economy over $9.1 billion a year, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. 

“The sharp reduction in U.S. refugee admissions starting in 2017 costs the overall U.S. economy today over $9.1 billion per year,” the paper concluded. It also cost public coffers “at all levels of government” over $2 billion per year, it added.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, sent two flights of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio, Texas last week. A Texas sheriff opened an investigation on Monday into the legality of the flights.

“Beyond claiming a need for protection, refugees and asylum seekers are economic actors. All are consumers, most are (or become) workers, and many are (or become) investors,” the author Michael Clemens, director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development, wrote.

The paper studied the impact of the more restrictive refugee-admission policies from 2017 to 2020. The exclusion policy has blocked approximately 73% of the refugees that would have arrived in 2018, Clemens estimated.

The drop in international migrants costs the economy $30,962 per missing refugee per year on average, and costs the government $6,844 per year per missing refugee, the study found. 

The report comes at a time of heightened tensions around refugees and migrants. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, sent two flights of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio, Texas last week. A Texas sheriff opened an investigation on Monday into the legality of the flights.

The amount of admitted refugees to the U.S. fell to 30,000 in 2019 from 84,994 in 2016.  This has adverse economic consequences for the country, economist Michael Clemens said.

Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, said they “had no idea of where they were going or where they were,” the Associated Press reported.

The amount of admitted refugees in the U.S. fell to 30,000 in 2019 from 84,994 in 2016, according to Migration Policy Institute data

“In short, the implications of prior, recent refugee-exclusion policy in the United States are complex,” Clemens wrote on Twitter
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“Many are non-economic, obviously. But they include a large, ongoing, permanent economic cost to the average American.”



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