The Impact of Refugees on the Size and Security of the U.S. Population

Article author: 
Edwin S. Rubenstein
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
8 June 2016
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

Since the end of World War II, the United States has provided a safe haven for many oppressed peoples. The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 - the first refugee legislation enacted by Congress - provided for the admission of 400,000 Europeans uprooted by the war. Later laws provided for the admission of persons fleeing communist regimes in Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, Korea, China, and Cuba.

More than 3 million refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since 1975...

Another type of refugee, the asylee, is an individual who is already in the United States but is unable or unwilling to return to his own country due to fear of persecution. In FY2013 (the most recent data available) 25,199 persons were granted asylum. The top three countries of origin - China (PRC), Egypt, and Ethiopia - accounted for 51% of all asylees that year.

The combined inflow of refugees and asylees is currently running at about 95,000 per year. There are tens of thousands of Central Americans - presently detained in U.S. government facilities after being caught illegally crossing our nation's border - who would only increase this annual population growth if they were granted asylum...

Even at its peak, the refugee/asylee influx seems quite small compared to the number of legal immigrants entering the country. Legal immigration, as measured by the number of individuals granted Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status, averaged 875,000 per year over the 1975 to 2015 period. However, the impact of refugees on American population growth is far greater than their numbers alone would suggest:

  • For two years after their arrival, refugees can petition to have immediate family members - spouses, children, and parents - join them as legal immigrants.
  • Refugees themselves are required to apply for LPR status one year after their arrival.
  • Five years after becoming an LPR, refugees may apply for U.S. citizenship.
  • As a naturalized citizen, they can petition to have other family members - adult sons and daughters (married or unmarried), brothers and sisters - enter as legal immigrants.

This chain migration process is replete with fraud... This explains why refugee groups from small, sparsely populated countries often trigger unexpectedly large inflows of legal and illegal immigrants...

There are an estimated 20 million refugees in the world. If the U.S. (and every other 'rich' country) were to double - or even triple - its spending on refugee resettlement, still only a fraction of the global refugee population could be absorbed. Rather than allowing a lucky few to settle here - and then abandoning them almost immediately after their arrival, refugees are better served by upgrading refugee camps and removing barriers to their repatriation...

Aside from the well-being of the refugees themselves, the U.S. cannot ignore that we are ultimately responsible for the best interests of our nation's future. We must consider the toll on local and state jurisdictions, which stand to unexpectedly receive mass influxes of refugees - as well as the federal government, which stands to pay huge sums to "charity groups" for refugee resettlement. With current chain migration policies allowing each refugee to ultimately add multiple new immigrants to the U.S. population, the drain on local, state, and federal resources will only compound exponentially.

We also cannot ignore the burden on existing American citizens who stand to face higher competition for certain jobs, pay more in taxes to support these new additions to their community, and who will live with the environmental consequences of this rapid population growth (pollution, water scarcity, runoff, overdevelopment, energy shortages, etc.). In all, the push for ever-more refugees has become a "feel-good activity" - but one that unfortunately will end up harming more people than it helps.


CAIRCO Research

Chain migration and family reunification

Refugee resettlement racket

Environment and the consequences of immigration-driven population growth