Research Paper: Estimates of the Financial Costs of Refugee Resettlement: The Current System and Alternative Models   [open pdf - 275KB]

"Refugee resettlement is a diminishing, but continuing, part of the U.S. immigration pattern. Partially as a result of the design of the refugee resettlement program, and partially because of differing state standards regarding assistance to low or no income people, the de facto benefit packages for arriving refugees, and the financial costs to the states, counties, and the cities where they settle, range considerably. This paper explores current costs, as well as estimates costs under other models that might be considered in this context. The paper first briefly describes how refugee resettlement is currently organized in the U.S. and how and why it might be changed. Second, it estimates: (1) the apparent financial costs of the current system, including federal costs now clearly recognized as being refugee-related; (2) federal costs that are not separately identified; and (3) major state and local government costs. Third it discusses different resettlement models, current and pro- posed, and their fiscal costs (primarily in the refugee's first year in the U.S.). These models use different constellations of agencies to deliver services. Some of these models, while probably costing society less in the middle or long-term, have more visible costs, particularly in the short-term."

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