Huddle estimates that immigration costs the public a net $68 billion,
annually, that is, after subtracting taxes that immigrants pay. This
accounting includes (1) programs used by immigrants such as education,
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), health care, welfare, and criminal
justice (25% of the federal prison population is foreign-born); (2) the
social safety net for Americans whom immigrants displace from jobs; and
(3) the net present value of the Social Security liability that is
incurred annually in immigrant accounts.
The United States accepts into its refugee resettlement program persons
who have not been found to qualify as refugees in their own right, but
rather are accepted because they are related to persons who earlier were
accepted as refugees by the United States.
However, unlike the regular immigration family sponsorship provision, the
refugee who sponsors a relative as a refugee accepts no financial
responsibility. The newcomer is in effect sponsored by the American
taxpayer and becomes immediately eligible for public assistance programs
such as food stamps and subsidized housing.
Every year, with absolutely no publicity, Congress votes to re-authorize
the “Lautenberg Amendment.” This legislation grants extraordinary
immigration privileges to Jews who live anywhere in the former Soviet
Union. Any member of these protected groups, because Congress arbitrarily
declares them to be persecuted, can claim the automatic right to enter the
U.S. as a “refugee.”
Since 1989, when Senator Lautenberg first succeeded in perpetrating this
trick, about 400,000 FSU inhabitants have availed themselves of this
privilege. About 11,000 will come in 2003.
And guess who’s paying for it? Refugees, unlike non-refugee immigrants,
receive interest-free government loans for airline tickets to the U.S.
They are also, within 30 days of arrival, eligible for welfare on the same
basis as an American citizen. A staggering 38% of refugee households
arriving from the FSU in the last 5 years have one or more members on the
life-time welfare program SSI. (see 1999 HHS Office Of Refugee
Resettlement report to Congress, p. 58) More than half of newly-arrived
FSU refugee households are receiving food stamps and Medicaid.
Another Lautenberg requirement: a relative in the U.S.– who will be most
likely an earlier beneficiary of the program. That's to keep the program
from going totally through the roof. But, of course, real refugees don’t
necessarily have relatives here.
Senator Lautenberg’s real concern in 1989, of course, was the Soviet Jews.
Overwhelmingly, they have been the primary beneficiaries of his amendment.
Including programs that anticipated Lautenberg’s legislation, perhaps
500,000 Soviet Jews have come here in total– a major population transfer,
significantly augmenting the American Jewish community, which was
estimated at only 5.5 million in 1990.
Each ethnic lobby sets its demands at the level attained by previous
beneficiaries. All work together to increase the overall quota, rather
than lowering the quota of one group to accommodate the demands of
Three separate Congressional letters have been sent to President Bush
urging a minimum annual refugee admission rate of 100,000. Obviously,
refugee admission is still an "apple pie" issue to some of its political
supporters who know very little about how the program actually works.
How nice that Senator Lautenberg is now in a position to help repair the
damage to which his amendment has so contributed.