Despite widespread accusations of being a burden on the hardworking public’s tax dollar, most refugees actually end up paying thousands more in taxes than they receive in government handouts from the US.

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that refugees who entered the US as adults from 2010-14 paid, on average, $21,000 more in taxes than they got in any kind of welfare payments.

As many continue to debate the refugee resettlement costs, the study’s authors William N. Evans and Daniel Fitzgerald, both economics professors at the University of Notre Dame, evaluated just how much the American government spends on each new refugee.

“There was a lot of rhetoric saying these people cost too much, but we didn’t actually know what that number was,” Evans told The Washington Post.

On average, it costs about $15,000 to help settle a refugee, including both initial background checks as well as job and English training once they arrive. As refugees are also immediately eligible for welfare assistance and Medicaid, the government spends approximately $92,000 in governmental assistance for the first 20 years each refugee spends in the US.

Over the same time, refugees pay an average of $129,000 in taxes — netting the government approximately $21,000 more than it spends.


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