Lautenberg Amendment/Refugee Admissions





Lautenberg Cost Americans $68 Billion On An Immigration Bill






An Immigration Amendment For Russian Jews

First enacted in 1989, the Lautenberg Amendment requires that the historical persecution of among other Soviet Jews, be considered when evaluating individual applications for refugee status. Since its enactment the Lautenberg Amendment has brought more than 500,000 persecuted Jews from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) into the United States as refugees. However, the amendment must be renewed each year. In 1999, the Washington Action Office will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to implement procedures to help refugees overcome the barriers that have prevented them from leaving the FSU and join their families, in the United States. We will also work with members of Congress and the Administration to help ensure that the U.S. remains a haven for some refugees.

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.   Source

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 another.

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.




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