An immigration watchdog says American taxpayers would save millions of dollars a year if refugees are resettled closer to home rather than brought to the United States.
Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR has released a new study that suggests refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. cost federal taxpayers a whopping $1.8 billion per year and $8.8 billion over a five-year span.
The same study suggests that $867 million is tied up in welfare benefits that U.S. taxpayers pay.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, says resettling refugees in the United States and other western countries is only one means of protecting people.
"In fact, it turns out to be the most expensive and least efficient way," he claims. "In fact, it costs a lot of money to bring people to the United States, especially people who are fleeing their home countries who may not be coming here with marketable skills."
Not every situation that forces people out of their homes results in permanent exile, he says, and the U.S. should do a better job of recognizing there are limited resources to take care of those who are.
A better alternative would be to provide temporary refuge and protection in or near people's homes with the goal of safely repatriating them, Mehlman contends.