Sunday, December 31, 2017

Federal Swamp Cost

TRUE SIZE OF THE FED SWAMP WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. Exclusive: Brent Smith exposes staggering cost of government workers' paychecks, 12/29/17, WND

“Draining the swamp” has become synonymous with both the Trump campaign and his presidency. Although it’s not a new saying, it has stuck with him since he first uttered it.

The phrase was first made popular by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, who also said he came to Washington to “drain the swamp.” Reagan’s sentiment was identical to Trump’s in that regard. Reagan also wished to roll back the size and scope of the federal government.

It was used again in 2007 by Nancy Pelosi, when the Republicans imploded and were tossed out, leaving her to be elevated to speaker of the House. However, her sentiment was just slightly different. She claimed to want to “drain the swamp” of over 10 years of Republican control of the House.

But it appears, of the three, Donald Trump has already been the most successful. But his success could unfortunately be classified as a mere spit in the ocean. For as a new report chronicles, called “Mapping the Swamp,” the Washington, D.C., swamp is far more vast than even we conservatives imagined.

We who write and talk about this stuff report on the size of the bureaucratic state all the time, but to see the magnitude of the federal government laid out in black and white staggers the imagination.

Just the sheer size, in terms of employees, boggles the mind. At almost 2 million, the federal government employs more people than the combined populations of Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont.

And then there’s the cost – to us, the taxpayer. Open the Books, creators of the document, calculated the cost to employ these “civil servants” at $136 billion per year. This, they calculate, is $1.1 million per minute, or $524 million per day. These figures are for the non-military workforce only, which makes it all that much more disheartening.

Civil service used to be something people did for the good of the community – thus the name civil service. I recall, many years ago, a friend told me he was moving from the private to the public sector. He explained that he wanted more job security for his family. He said he was willing to sacrifice private-sector pay for public security, benefits and time off.

Well, as “Mapping the Swamp” chronicles, those days have passed. No longer do people seek out civil-service jobs to be of service, nor sacrifice a thing. They do it to enrich themselves on the backs of taxpayers.

“On average, federal employees receive 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days and 20 vacation days per year.” Just this benefit is estimated to cost more than $22 billion annually.

They report that “more than 406,000 received six-figure incomes in 2016.” That’s almost 25 percent of the entire workforce receiving $100,000 or more. And more than 30,000 received in excess of $190,000. This, they say, is more than every governor in all 50 states made that same year. Yes, 30,000 government hacks warrant higher pay than the chief executive of every state.

And, naturally, the Obama years saw the most dramatic increase in the enrichment of the public sector. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent, and those making over $150,000 grew by 60 percent.

Adding insult to injury, the department with the greatest number of top earners is the Department of Veterans Affairs – the V.A. The department that abuses and kills our American heroes is best compensated. That pretty much says it all.

I congratulate President Trump for his effort thus far to drain the swamp. However, no single man or any one administration will have the power or longevity to put a dent in the runaway bureaucratic state. It’s like trying to drain the Everglades with a drinking straw.

Refugee Trickle

Refugee Council USA reports that refugee numbers are way down, yes, we know, by Ann Corcoran 12/30/17

In just a couple of days I will be reporting on the number of refugees admitted to the US in the first three months of the fiscal year which began on October 1, 2017. The refugee arrival numbers as news hook!

But, the lobbying arm of the refugee industry—RCUSA—is tracking the numbers every two weeks in order to have regular fresh news with which to whack the Trump Administration.  The last time I saw this concerted effort to supply refugee admission numbers to the media on a regular basis was way back in 2007/2008 when they smacked down President Bush every month for his slow-walking Iraqi refugees in to the US.

Long time readers might remember the fun I had making fun of AP reporter Matthew Lee who could be counted on to report Bush LOW numbers at the close of each month presumably at the behest of his friends in the refugee industry.

Chief Trump basher at RCUSA: Danielle Grigsby, associate director of Refugee Council USA.

By the way, RCUSA is the same lobbying consortium (members listed below) that recently joined with CAIR in organizing an anti-Trump rally in DC and hired the Podesta Group to lobby certain Senate Republicans. (Podesta went under, wonder if they got their money’s worth before it did!)
Reader Robin sent me this report a few minutes ago from WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky.

So they are at it again, creating a regular news hook about numbers and local media is biting.

Besides the opportunity to whack Trump, what they are deceptively doing is trying to get the media and the uneducated public to believe that the CEILING, set by the President for each fiscal year, is a goal that must beattained.  It is not!

When Trump set the level at 45,000 for FY18 that only means he cannot go over that, there is nothing in refugee law that says he cannot be significantly under the CAP/CEILING.

And, I find it so tiresome that they continue to compare Trump’s admission numbers to the highest three-month period that Obama ever reached—the three months as he was walking out the door at the White House.

According to Grigsby’s group, about 11,000 refugees should have arrived so far this fiscal year, though she said it’s not unprecedented to see fewer arrivals in the first quarter of the fiscal year.

From October 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017, roughly the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, more than 25,000 individuals were resettled in the United States..

Here (below) are their numbers (that served as a news hook for the Kentucky station) for the most recent 2 week period.
In order to reach 45,000 (if it were a goal to be attained) they would have to see refugee arrivals at 3,750 per month.  So, in FY18, so far, the Trump Administration is significantly lower that that.

Judicial Obstruction

Trump Justice Dept. counters rogue judge in latest refugee ruling, by Ann Corcoran 12/30/17

The Judge who is deciding national security issues for the benefit of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which is paid by the head for every refugee it places in American towns and cities.

Since so many of you have sent me links about U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle who temporarily halted the refugee travel ‘ban,’ I thought I better mention the latest.
Although, I must say I hate writing about this subject (maddening that these unelected judges are deciding national security issues!), I have to mention that the Justice Department is saying once again that resettlement contractors have no “bona fide relationship” with refugees before they are admitted to the US. And, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (of course) disagrees.

LOL! I guess this is going to be pick-on-HIAS week after all, see my post yesterday where we learned HIAS was placing refugees in dangerous housing in Pittsburgh. And, don’t miss the latest on their funding here.

You know who could settle this issue once and for all, if they had any guts—-Congress!

There was never any “bona fide relationship” mentioned, let alone defined, in the original Refugee Act of 1980.  The term, and now the wrangling over the definition, was created out of whole cloth by the US Supreme Court foolishly attempting to write refugee law. (See my Supreme Court category, here.) So where is Congress?

Here is the latest on the latest lawsuit (within days it will all change again!) from the Washington Post:

SEATTLE — Lawyers with the Department of Justice have asked a federal judge to change his order that partially lifted a Trump administration refugee ban.

Just before Christmas, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle imposed a nationwide injunction that blocks restrictions on reuniting refugee families and partially lifted a ban on refugees from 11 mostly Muslim countries. Robart limited that part of the injunction to refugees who have a bona fide relationship with people or entities in the United States. He also said that refugees who have formal agreements with refugee resettlement agencies were covered under his order.

The government does not want to include resettlement agencies.

Mark Hetfield speaking at HIAS anti-Trump rally in New York last February.  Rep. Keith Ellison was also a featured speaker.  More than half of HIAS’s funding comes from US taxpayer dollars. Not only do they sue President Trump, but they organize anti-Trump rallies like this one.

Government lawyers filed a motion Wednesday saying that although the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has interpreted the “bona fide relationship” to include connections to resettlement agencies, the U.S. Supreme Court has stayed that ruling. That means the highest court indicates it disagrees with the appeals court on that point, the lawyers say.

Attorneys for refugee support organization HIAS and Jewish Family Service say the government’s claims are wrong.

In the motion filed Wednesday, government lawyers cited the Supreme Court’s three stay orders on previous Trump travel bans as evidence the high court disagrees with letting the bona fide relationship include refugee resettlement agencies or humanitarian organizations.

“For individuals, a close familial relationship is required,” the lawyers wrote. “’As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course,’ such as a relationship between a foreign student and an American university or between a foreign worker and an American employer.

“Unlike these types of relationships, refugees do not have a freestanding connection to resettlement agencies, apart from the refugee admissions process itself, by virtue of the agency’s assurance agreement with the federal government.”

Continue reading the WaPo story by clicking here.
Bottomline for me is that this all points to one more reason to get rid of the nine federal contractors that monopolize all resettlement in America.  They are litigious. They are Leftist community organizers. And, we pay them with our tax dollars to work against the interests of America First!
I repeat: Where is Congress?

Here are the nine (go here to see how much you involuntarily pay them!). HIAS seems to have become their litigation arm!
·       International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Draining the Congressional Swamp

The “swamp” includes most of what goes on inside the entire federal government.  It includes the agencies, the courts and the congress.


Trump sent a signal with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and his other appointments of Federal Judges. 


Draining the congressional swamp requires replacing Senators and House Reps. Many Republicans are joining the Trump agenda and these should be re-elected. Most Democrats need to go.


US Senate Democrats

There are 26 Senate Democrats with scores from 0% to 4%. This indicates a complete distain for the US Constitution (as written). They have violated their oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. See the Scores and the numbers of Senators who have these scores below:


Democrat Senators

Score 0% -   8

Score 2% – 11

Score 4% –  7

Score 6% -   5

Score 7% –  3
Score 8% -   4
Score 10% – 4
Score 11% – 1
Score 12% – 1
Score 14% – 1 Sanders VT
Score 15% - 1
Score 16% - 1
Score 17% - 1 Warren MA
Score 18% - 1

All Senate Democrats need to be replaced

Low Score Republican Senators
Score 12% - 1 Collins ME
Score 17% - 1 Alexander TN
Score 22% - 1 Murkowski AK
Score 24% - 1 Cochran MS

4 Republican Senators need to be replaced.

Low Score Democrat House Reps

Score 0% - 23
Score 3% -  3
Score 4% - 2
Score 5% - 5
Score 6% - 16
Score 7% - 2
Score 8% - 5
Score 9% - 8
Score 10% -13
Score 11% - 8
Score 12% - 14
Score 13% - 7
Score 14% - 24
Score 15% - 14
Score 16% - 9
Score 17% - 5
Score 18% - 4
Score 17% - 6
Score 18% - 19
Score 19% - 6
Score 20% - 17

Low Score Republican House Reps

Score 21% - 1 Curbelo FL
Score 22% 1 Ros Lihtinen FL
Score 23% - 1 Valadeo CA
Score 24% - 1 Diaz Balart FL

The Congressional Review Scorecard counts every vote made by every member.  Those who vote for unconstitutional Bills get low scores.  Those who refuse to support unconstitutional Bills get high scores.

Source: conservative review

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Draining the Government Employee Swamp

The “swamp” includes most government employees. Their priorities are driven by higher government spending on their wages, benefits and perks.


Federal government employees earn more than their private sector counterparts in all categories except for the highest paid professions.


The federal government employs about 2.2 million civilian workers—1.5 percent of the U.S. workforce—spread among more than 100 agencies in jobs that represent over 650 occupations. As a result, the government employs workers with a broad complement of talents, skills, and experience, and it competes with other government and private-sector employers for people who possess the mix of attributes needed to do the work of its agencies.
In fiscal year 2016, the government spent roughly $215 billion to compensate federal civilian employees. About two-thirds of that total was spent on civilian personnel working in the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Department of Homeland Security. Federal employees typically receive periodic increases in their wages on the basis of performance, longevity, and changes in private-sector pay. However, lawmakers eliminated annual across-the-board increases for most federal civilian workers in calendar years 2011, 2012, and 2013.




Government employees often have obsolete software and lack other tools to increase their productivity.  Government at all levels needs to update equipment to save on expensive, unnecessary labor. Consultant and Contractor costs are often out of control and bids can be double what they should be.  Government employees have no incentive to save money. They are encouraged to spend their entire budgets to avoid having them cut.


Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Subsidized Liberal Propaganda

Liberals love to use tax money to promote their propaganda. They started in the tax subsidized US universities and public schools to bend the curriculum to support their twisted ideology.


The Liberals have engineered a propaganda machine with the Special Counsel investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign and it consumed the news through all of 2017 and it hasn’t stopped.


Liberals have also enlisted liberal judges to obstruct all of Trump’s attempts to control visas and immigration. This has also consumed the new for all of 2017 and it continues.


Liberals have funded protest riots at universities to harass conservative speakers and across the US where liberals seek to remove statues.


Liberals funded protest riots during the 2016 election to set up their narrative that US voters didn’t want Trump elected and the news media covered all of this.


Billions of dollars in federal grants from federal agencies support the liberal agenda as well. It supports socialist programs and UN Agenda implementation plans.


Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

UN Relief Agency scam

If Donald Trump dumped UNRWA it would be a miracle
Posted by Ann Corcoran 12/29/17

Many of you may not know that the United Nations treats Arabs (so-called Palestinians), who lost the 1948 war with Israel, as a very special class of ‘refugee’ with their own very special UN agency called the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and we pay a huge amount of your tax dollars to keep it going.

Why am I showing this map of expanding Muslim military conquests? Because if one is going to argue that the Palestinian Arabs have a “right of return” to the land Israel now controls, can we argue that Christians and Jews have a right of return to all the lands Islam took from them by military force? Yes! 

These ‘refugees’ (it is debatable about whether they are even legitimate refugees) are not cared for by the usual refugee agency—the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—but have their own ‘camps’ (not camps, but cities) maintained partly by you as a perpetual thorn in the side of Israel.

If Arab countries really cared about ‘Palestinians’ and peace, they would have long ago absorbed the Palestinian Arabs, but in fact they are more valuable as thorns in Israel’s side then as humans.

Here an opinion writer at the New York Post argues that the Trump Administration should end US backing of UNRWA—turn off the spigot from the US Treasury to the UN agency! (emphasis is mine).

As the UN General Assembly voted to reject America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, US Ambassador Nikki Haley issued a stern warning: We’ll remember this the next time you come calling for more hard-earned American taxpayer dollars. Most nation-states called her bluff, leaving many to wonder what comes next.

If President Trump wants to use his financial leverage at the United Nations to strike at the heart of the anti-America, anti-Israel institutional infrastructure, he should look no further than the agency responsible for Palestinian refugees: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

By most definitions, refugees are those forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. Nearly every refugee in the world is cared for by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, whose ultimate goal is repatriation, resettlement and integration. The exception? Palestinian refugees. [Actually he is wrong about the legitimate definition of a refugee, who must prove persecution, war and violence have been added in by the refugee expansionist movement.—ed]

Arab states insisted on a different definition for Palestinian-Arab refugees of the Israeli War of Independence — and a different agency to care for them.

Today, millions of people are referred to as “Palestinian refugees” even though the only home they, and in many cases even their parents and grandparents, have ever known is either a refugee camp or an Arab host nation like Jordan.

Rather than use the billions of dollars of international assistance provided since 1950 to resettle and integrate Palestinian-Arab refugees — just as Israel successfully resettled and integrated Jewish refugees from the Middle East, North Africa and the Soviet Union — UNRWA’s mandate has always been to keep Palestinians as perpetual refugees.

In truth, it’s not a refugee agency but a welfare agency, which keeps millions of people in a permanent state of dependency and poverty — all while feeding Palestinians an empty promise that one day they’ll settle in Israel. Yet the United States remains the agency’s largest single-state donor. There is much more, click here.

Even a serious threat (from the Trump Administration) to cut off the funding to UNRWA might cause the Arab world to “welcome” their co-religionists to come live with them ending the cycle of  Middle East violence that is always blamed on Israel.  (Of course, I know it won’t end all violence because the Muslim sects will be at each other throats forever, and Islam will continue to seek expansion of territory that they stole from Christians and Jews.)

Every time I see some Lefty Muslim apologist claiming that Palestinian Muslims should have their land (or some Leftwinger claims that the Native Americans should have North America), that it is only fair, I want to ask then at what point in human history can we go back to where everything was FAIR!  What is that magical date in history when the world’s population was distributed fairly?  Make them tell you!

See my category ‘Israel and refugees’ by clicking here.  I haven’t written much for that category lately, but see that there are 163 previous posts archived.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Refugee Cost

Refugees Will Cost Taxpayers an Estimated $4.1 Billion in FY 2017

American taxpayers will spend more than $4.1 billion in the 2017 budget to support the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled by the federal government in the United States since October 2009, according to a cost estimate by Breitbart News.

To put that very large number in context, $4.1 billion can buy 10,677 new homes for $384,000 each, which is the average price of a new home sold in the United States in December 2016. Or it could buy 170,124 new autos for $24,100 each, which is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu.

Even if the Trump administration were to entirely shut down the flow of refugees into the United States in FY 2018 and beyond, the refugees who have already arrived in the country will cost at least another $3.5 billion in 2018, and about $2 billion to $3 billion annually thereafter until FY 2022 and beyond.
The annual $4.1 billion cost of these refugees is about eight percent of “the total annual fiscal impact of first generation [immigrants to the United States] and their dependents, averaged across 2011-2013,” which the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in September 2016, estimated “is a cost of $57.4 billion.” That report offered this summary of the characteristics of all immigrants to the United States between 1995 and 2014:

The number of immigrants living in the United States increased by more than 70 percent—from 24.5 million (about 9 percent of the population) in 1995, to 42.3 million (about 13 percent of the population) in 2014; the native-born population increased about 20 percent during the same period.

Annual flows of lawful permanent residents have increased. During the 1980s, just under 600,000 immigrants were admitted legally (received green cards) each year; after the 1990 Immigration Act took effect, legal admissions increased to just under 800,000 per year; since 2001 legal admissions have averaged just over 1 million per year.

Estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States roughly doubled from about 5.7 million in 1995 to about 11.1 million in 2014.

“For the 2011-2013 period, the net cost to state and local budgets of first generation adults [who have immigrated to the United States] is, on average, about $1,600 each,” the National Academies report found.

The analysis that estimates a $4.1 billion annual cost of refugees is based on the same methodology and data used in a November 2015 study from the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which concluded that “in their first five years in the United States each refugee from the Middle East costs taxpayers $64,370—12 times what the UN estimates it costs to care for one refugee in neighboring Middle Eastern countries.”

The CIS study focused on cost estimates for refugees arriving from ten Middle Eastern countries derived from the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees contained in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Annual Report to Congress FY 2013  published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

The ten Middle Eastern countries included in the 2015 CIS study were Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.
Those countries accounted for 155,865 of the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled in the United States since FY 2010, according to the State Department’s interactive website.

Breitbart used the data in that same 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees for all countries who send refugees to the United States (more than one hundred countries), and applied the same methodology CIS used to determine the costs for the Middle Eastern refugees within that group.
Our analysis shows that over a five year period, American taxpayers pay $59,251 per refugee, or $5,119 less than the average Middle Eastern refugee over the same period of time.
The 2015 CIS study limited the cost estimates to five years because the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees data was limited to refugees who had been in the country for five years or less. The survey, then, is of refugees who were resettled in the United States between FY 2009 and FY 2013.
In the Breitbart News estimate, we assumed that those costs would diminish to 50 percent of the annual average for years 1 through 5 in year 6, 25 percent in year 7, 10 percent in year 8, and zero in years 9 and beyond for each refugee.
It is reasonable to assume that overall welfare usage will decline the longer a refugee is in the country.
For instance, per the 2014 Annual Survey, 95 percent of refugees here for a year or less are in the SNAP (Food Stamps) program. By contrast, after 5 years of residence 60 percent of refugees are in the SNAP program—about 4 times the national average.

Leaving aside the inadequate rate at which refugees are leaving some welfare programs, in at least one significant welfare program the rate goes up with each year in the country.
SSI, a cash welfare program for the disabled or elderly, is used by about 14 percent of refugees in the first year of arrival. Slightly more than 29 percent of refugee families who have been here for five years have one or more members receiving SSI, a lifetime benefit in most cases. Each year of residence brought an increase in the rate of SSI usage, as Table 1 below, taken from the Office of Refuge Resettlement’s 2014 Annual Survey of Refugees (where it is listed as Table II-20) shows.
Source: Office of Refugee Resettlement 2014 Annual Survey of Refugees, Table II-20.
The November 2015 CIS study calculated a dizzying array of twelve specific federal programs which provide direct and indirect financial benefits to refugees. Table 2 below, a truncated version of the same table that appeared in the CIS study, shows the amount of money the average Middle Eastern refugee receives from each of these twelve programs over their first five years in the United States, which totals $64,370.

SOURCE (from the November 2015 CIS Study): Rates for SSI, TANF, SNAP, general assistance, and housing are from the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees (ASR) and are household-based. Figures for Medicaid and lack of health insurance are also from the ASR, but reflect individual use rates. Average payments for SSI, TANF, and SNAP are from Census Bureau data. Average payments for some programs come from administrative data and other sources. Average education costs are from the National Center for Education Statistics. We estimate that 28 percent of refugees are school-age (1.12 students per household). See text for additional explanation for how estimates were made.

The Breitbart News estimate of a $59, 251 cost to taxpayers over five years for the average refugee resettled in the United States simply applies the actual use rates for each of these twelve programs found in the 2013 Annual Survey of refugees for all refugees, and applies it on a pro-rata basis to the calculations first used in Table 2 by CIS.

To illustrate this methodology, the average use rate for SSI among Middle Eastern refugees was 32.1 percent, according to the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees. In the same table of that report, the average use rate for SSI among all refugees was 21.1 percent, hence, the five year cost for all refugees for SSI is estimated at $3,559, as opposed to $5,414 for Middle Eastern refugees.
Here are the use rates for all refugees by cost category used in the Breitbart News estimates, as found in the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees: TANF, 19.0 percent. SNAP, 74.2 percent. General Assistance, 12.4 percent. Public/Subsidized Housing, 22.8 percent. WIC, 16.2 percent. School Lunch, 23.9 percent. Medicaid, 56.0 percent. Without Health Insurance, 20.2 percent. Public Education, 28.0 percent.
Table 3 summarizes the Breitbart estimate of $4.1 billion annual costs to taxpayers for resettled refugees in FY 2017:
Table 3: FY 2017 Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of Resettled Refugees
Arrival Year
Cost per Refugee
*The cost for the first five years is estimated at $59,251. Years 6 through 8 add an additional $8,503 in costs, bringing the total to $67,754.

The November 2015 CIS report offered a number of caveats, including the following:
It is worth adding that ORR often reports that most refugees are self-sufficient within five years. However, ORR defines ‘self-sufficiency’ as not receiving cash welfare. A household is still considered “self-sufficient” even if it is using any number of non-cash programs such as food stamps, public housing, or Medicaid.

The estimated costs reported here are conservative because they only include costs incurred by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM); costs for resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR); public education; and most welfare programs.

There are many public expenditures not included in this analysis, such as the cost of local social workers who help refugees sign up for assistance, English language instruction in public schools not covered by ORR, and many means-tested programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, for which we do not have data. Costs for basic government services such as infrastructure maintenance, law enforcement, and fire protection are also not included. There are many public expenditures not included in this analysis, such as the cost of local social workers who help refugees sign up for assistance, English language instruction in public schools not covered by ORR, and many means-tested programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, for which we do not have data. Costs for basic government services such as infrastructure maintenance, law enforcement, and fire protection are not included.

While Middle Eastern refugees in the first five years must pay some taxes to offset a fraction of the costs they create, published data from ORR indicates that more than 90 percent of households have incomes below 130 percent of poverty, which means they will pay virtually no income tax and will make very modest tax contributions of all types.
For help in sorting out that dizzying array of twelve federal programs that provide financial benefits to refugees, the November 2015 CIS report offers the following (with emphasis added):

State Department Expenditures. The State Department reports that 69,926 refugee were admitted to the United States in 2013. While the State Department also helps refugees overseas, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) within the State Department spent $310 million on resettling refugees in the United States in 2013. This means that an average of $4,433 was spent per refugee in 2013. These figures include costs for the “overseas processing of refugee applications, transportation-related services, and initial reception” and “housing, furnishings, clothing, food, medicine, employment, and social service referrals”. In this analysis we assume the amount spent by PRM per Middle Eastern refugee is the same as for refugees from the rest of the world.

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORR spent nearly a billion dollars in 2013, but a significant share went to help the resettlement of unaccompanied minors and their families from Central America. Expenditures on new refugees and other related groups such as Cuban/Haitian entrants and asylees were $613,963,000 in 2013. Asylees and Cuban/Haitian entrants are essentially eligible for the same programs as refugees. Dividing this amount by the 128,000 individuals that ORR reports are covered by its programs (excluding unaccompanied minors) means that $4,797 was spend per refugee by ORR in 2013. In general, ORR only provides assistance to local communities, charities, and the refugees themselves in the first year after they arrive in the country or are awarded asylum. After a year, charities and state and local social service agencies are expected to care for them.

Refugees and Welfare. Unlike other new legal immigrants, refugees are eligible for all welfare programs upon arrival. Further, there are several short-term programs, such as Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA), for which only refugees and other humanitarian immigrants are eligible. Refugees have the most generous access to welfare programs of any population in the country. The ORR conducts the Annual Survey of Refugees each year and the 2013 survey provides a detailed profile of the socio-demographic and economic characteristics of refugees who entered the country in the prior five years, including use of many of the nation’s major welfare programs by sending region. We use information published by ORR on Middle Eastern refugees’ welfare use as the basis of our cost estimates.

Welfare Use Rates. The 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees shows the following welfare use rates for Middle Eastern refugee households: 32.1 percent receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 36.7 percent receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), 17.3 percent receive General Assistance, 91.4 percent receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also called food stamps), and 18.7 percent live in public housing. The refugee survey also reports that 73.1 percent of individual Middle Eastern refugees are on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.

It should be kept in mind that the survey reports welfare use for all Middle Eastern refugees who arrived in the last five years, not just new arrivals. Many refugees get RMA and RCA, but then transition to Medicaid and other cash programs like TANF or SSI after the eight-month eligibility window for RMA and RCA runs out. So, for example, use of TANF is likely lower for the first eight months than the 36.7 percent reported above. To be sure, some refugees access cash welfare or Medicaid in the first eight months. But for those refugees who have been in the country for more than eight months the rate is higher than 36.7 percent. The 36.7 percent represents the use rate for all Middle Eastern refugees in the Annual Survey of Refugees who arrived in prior five years averaged together. For this reason, it is possible to estimate five-year costs for welfare programs based on published information from the survey, but it is not possible to estimate welfare costs for, say, the first year after arrival.

It should be noted that published figures from the refugee survey provide only use rates, not payment amounts received by refugees. It is necessary to estimate payments using other data sources.
Average Welfare Payments and Costs. To estimate welfare payments and costs by household we use Census Bureau data and other information. To get per-person costs for programs reported at the household level, we divide by four based on the assumption that average Middle Eastern refugee households receiving welfare consist of four people. This assumption is based on the Annual Survey of Refugees…

To estimate average payments by household for SSI, SNAP, and TANF we use the public-use files of the 2013 to 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (ASEC CPS) collected by the Census Bureau. We match the countries listed as being part of the Middle East to the ORR list of countries from that area using the country of birth reported in the ASEC CPS.8 The ASEC CPS shows an average payment of $13,494 from SSI for immigrant households from the Middle East (refugee and non-refugee) using the program. For TANF, the same data shows an average payment of $5,061, and for SNAP it was $4,039.9 It should be noted that the ASEC CPS generally underestimates welfare use.10 Because we do not adjust for this undercount, actual average payments are likely higher than that reported here. All payment figures are rounded to nearest dollar.
To estimate payments from general assistance programs, we average state payment figures compiled by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The average annual benefit across states for this program is $2,885.12 (We assume that there is only one person per refugee household receiving this program.) For the average cost of housing programs we use the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website, which shows an average cost per unit of public or subsidized housing of $637 per month ($7,644 per year).

The Annual Survey of Refugees does not provide estimated use rates for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program or the free or subsidized school lunch program. For completeness, we include estimates for these small programs by assuming that the use rates for these two programs among Middle Eastern refugees is proportional to their use of SNAP… [T]he school lunch program and WIC add only modestly to the five-year average costs per individual. However, refugee use of these programs still would cost millions of dollars annually.
Health Insurance Coverage. Healthcare coverage is reported at the individual level in the refugee survey, not the household level. There are three types of “coverage” that create costs for taxpayers: the Refugee Medical Assistance program, Medicaid, and those refugees who are uninsured. Costs for the RMA program are covered by ORR and are included in the expenditures for that agency reported above. For the Medicaid cost we use the average costs figure reported in the Office of the Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services annual report. In 2013, the program cost was $6,897 per enrollee. The refugee survey reports 12.7 percent of individual Middle Eastern refugees had no medical coverage in any of the previous 12 months. Based on information from the Kaiser Family Foundation on the non-elderly without health insurance, we estimate that uninsured refugees cost $1,943 on average annually.

Public Education. Data is not reported in the refugee survey on the share of Middle Eastern refugees who are in primary or secondary school. However, the refugee survey does show that 65.1 percent of all refugee households who arrived in the previous five years, not just those from the Middle East, have children under age 16. The State Department also reports that 24.1 percent of Iraqi and 33.6 percent of Afghan refugees were school-age (five to 17), the two largest groups of Middle Eastern refugees for which there are statistics in fiscal year 2013.19 Based on these figures, we estimate that 28 percent of new Middle Eastern refugees are school-age and enrolled in public school. This means that there is slightly more than one child in public school per Middle Eastern refugee household.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that average per-pupil expenditures in the United States are $12,401.20 There are certainly added expenses associated with helping refugee children in school, such as helping those who have emotional issues due having been traumatized. We do not include those costs here partly because we do not have any reliable figures for how much extra it costs to educate these children. We also do not include them because some share of these costs are paid for, at least in the first year, by ORR grants and are included above in that agency’s expenditures in the first five years.
Sources familiar with the federal refugee resettlement program who have reviewed the Breitbart News estimate say that estimate probably significantly underestimates the cost of refugees to federal and state taxpayers.