Refugees and Asylees Generate Billions of Dollars in Tax Revenue

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Refugees and Asylees Generate Billions of Dollars in Tax Revenue

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The United States Department of Health and Human Services release a report in February 2024 on the fiscal impact that refugees and asylees have had in our communities over the last 15 years. The report showed that between 2005 and 2019, refugees and asylees paid a staggering $123.8 billion more in taxes more than they cost the government. State and local governments benefited the most with an estimated $92.3 billion in net revenue, while the federal government benefitted with an estimated $31.5 billion in net revenue.

One of the most interesting findings from the report is that refugees and asylees who have been in the U.S. for at least 10 years have employment rates and median household income on par with the total U.S. population. While newly arrived refugees and asylees have lower employment rates and median household income than the total U.S. population, after a decade there is no measurable difference.

Additionally, the report summarized the per capita contribution of refugees and asylees, finding that it was actually higher than the per capita contribution of the total U.S. population. During the relevant time period, per capita revenues for refugees and asylees was $12,989 and expenditures were $10,222, for a positive net contribution of $2,767. In comparison, per capita revenues for the total U.S. population during the same period was $12,674 and expenditures were $10,415, for a positive net contribution of $2,258.

In a statement announcing the release of this report, Robin Dunn Marcos, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Humanitarian Services and Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, commented, “[w]e operate this program [for asylees and refugees] because of our country’s commitment to supporting the humanitarian needs of those escaping persecution in their home country.” She continued, “[w]e have witnessed for years, the significant contributions that refugees and asylees provide to our communities and workplaces . . . [and] we celebrate these and other contributions refugees and asylees bring to this country.”

This report confirms that refugees and asylees strengthen and enrich the United States in many different ways, including economically.

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