The Trump administration has done everything in its power to prevent refugees from entering the United States, including issuing two executive orders banning immigration from primarily war-torn Muslim-majority countries where he didn’t have any business interests. Both executive orders were challenged in the courts and held up temporarily until the Supreme Court ruled that parts of the second order could take affect.
For all the talk of illegal immigrants and refugees taking away jobs from “real Americans”, however, little else is said about the economic impact that these foreign-born individuals have on the economy in America.
Casting aside the moral implications of turning away desperate people fleeing conflicts where they face potential torture, death, and destruction–a lesson thought to have been learned after the US turned back Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930’s–it now appears that limiting immigration by refugees may actually harm the U.S. economy.
According to an article on fivethirtyeight.com, the National Bureau of Economic Research has published a new working paper that shows that, over a 20 year period, refugees pay $20,000 more in taxes then they receive in benefits, including resettlement costs and social programs.
“The authors found that, when compared to rates among U.S.-born residents, unemployment was higher and earnings were lower among adult refugees during their first few years in the country, but these outcomes changed substantially over time. After six years in the U.S., refugees were more likely to be employed than U.S.-born residents around the same age. The longer they live longer in the U.S., the more refugees’ economic outcomes improved and the less they relied on government assistance. While refugees’ average wages are never as high as the average for U.S.-born residents, after about eight years in the U.S., refugees aren’t significantly more likely to receive welfare or food stamps than native-born residents with similar education and language skills.”
In other words, America turns a profit on refugees. The life paths of refugees are much the same as those of “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” that the majority of American citizens are descended from and whom were welcomed by the beckoning Statue of Liberty, the Mother of Exiles.
Perhaps, now that Trump can see that there is a net profit to be made from refugees, he’ll change his anti-immigrant stance. Since that would require critical thinking and reading skills, however, it’s highly doubtful.