Lawmaker Demands Audit of U.S. Refugee Costs

Barbara Boland, Washington Examiner, September 23, 2015

A freshman Republican lawmaker is proposing that the United States put a hold on taking new refugees from around the world until the government better understands how cities and local communities are absorbing the costs and security risks of the nearly 500,000 refugees taken in under President Obama.

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that state and local governments have no say over whether to take the refugees, or how many, and don’t get any compensation when they do. Fears about the local impact of taking in refugees from Syria and other troublespots are ratcheting up after Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. would accept 85,000 refugees next year, and 100,000 by 2017.

Babin said it’s virtually impossible for lawmakers to obtain information on the refugee program, which is why his bill would call on the Government Accountability Office to “do an appraisal on just how much this is costing the American taxpayer.”

“We know that these refugees, over 90 percent of them, are on federal welfare programs,” said Babin. “A law like this that’s been around for so long and so few people know about, it almost seems like the government’s [been] trying to keep us in the dark all these years.”

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Security concerns and problems with the assimilation of Middle Eastern refugees further complicate issues for states and communities, said Babin. Refugees from the Middle East “just do not assimilate,” he said.

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Echoing a warning made by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Babin said the United States does not have the intelligence to properly vet Syrian refugees.

“You can’t just go to the Damascus police department and start checking because they don’t have the records,” said Babin, adding that even if the files were available, “these folks don’t tell the truth, many of them.”

“I’m very concerned for my grandchildren and children . . . for their personal safety. We’ve seen some terrorist and criminal activity out of many of these refugees over the years in states like Maine, Minnesota, Idaho, here in Texas, and all around the country,” Babin concluded. “The danger is real, and that’s why I filed this bill.”

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