Take Action: October 11, 2017 Understand and share facts about refugee resettlement

A common theme we’ve all likely heard recently is that refugee resettlement is a financial burden on the United States. The Trump administration has been reported to be ignoring data on refugee resettlement that shows refugees are not a long-term burden on the US economy.

But even if there were data indicating refugee resettlement is harming the US economy, those concerns pale in comparison with international data about the realities of refugee resettlement. It is important to realize that even if we feel that the US can’t afford to take in too many refugees, there are many countries around the world who are doing just that. The following stats come from this UN report.

  • 84% of all UN-designated refugees were hosted in low- and middle-income countries in 2016. The least developed countries hosted 28% of refugees and asylum-seekers. Many of the 40 million internally displaced people (IDPs) live in developing or conflict-ridden countries.
  • While children make up 31% of the world’s population, 51% of refugees are children who cannot be expected to support themselves.
  • Only half a million refugees returned home in 2016, and not always to safe or stable conditions. Most of those went back to Afghanistan. The number of refugees continues to grow.
  • Fewer than 200,000 refugees were permanently resettled to a third country last year, and approximately half of those went to the US. With the announcement from the Trump administration that refugee resettlement will be capped at 45,000, there will a significant drop in the rate of refugee resettlement in the future. (Asylees are not included in this number or it would be much higher since Germany alone has taken in over 700,000 asylees.)
  • One in six people in Lebanon is a refugee. In a per capita comparison, the US would need to take in 54 million people to match that. Lebanon hosts about twice as many refugees per capita as Jordan does, but we would still need to host 25 million people to match Jordan’s commitment.

Comparing the overall size of a country’s economy to the size of its refugee population shows the economic burden some countries face. By this measure, South Sudan has by far the greatest burden, with countries like Chad, Uganda, Niger, Burundi, and Rwanda hosting far more refugees than their economies can support. Lebanon and Jordan are also included in the top ten, at 5th and 8th places respectively, because of the large number of refugees they host even though they are middle-income countries.

These are just a few of the facts surrounding the refugee crisis. Here are a few stories about this topic.

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