New American Economy Statement on Refugee Admissions Cuts

Today, the Trump administration moved to dramatically reduce refugee admissions, from a historically low 30,000 a year to an unprecedented 18,000. New American Economy (NAE) issued the following statement: 

“Slashing the refugee program goes against both our national values and our economic interests,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “Refugees help reverse population decline, start new businesses that create jobs, and boost tax revenues – showing that when America provides an opportunity, refugees help our communities thrive.”

NAE research has found that fewer refugees will mean:

  • Challenges for employers in cities like Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake’s unemployment rate is around 3 percent. Since fewer workers are looking for jobs, many businesses that are the backbone of the city, from farms to construction, depend on refugees to help keep businesses running. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of new refugee arrivals to Salt Lake City dropped by 70 percent, creating major problems for local ventures.
  • Fewer tax dollars collected and new jobs created: In 2017 alone, refugee households earned more than $86.2 billion in income, paid almost $23.3 billion in taxes, and held nearly $62.9 billion in spending power, supporting countless local businesses from clothing shops to electronics stores to restaurants. Refugees are also starting businesses and creating jobs — in 2017, more than 186,015 refugee entrepreneurs lived in the United States, generating $5.6 billion in business income. In fact, refugees are more likely to be entrepreneurs than U.S.-born Americans. In 2015, 13 percent of refugees are entrepreneurs compared to just 9 percent of the U.S.-born population. 
  • Depopulation struggles for cities like Buffalo, New York: Many small and mid-size cities are struggling to maintain residents, leading to fewer tax dollars, fewer jobs, and slower industry growth, all things necessary for these cities to thrive.For example, Buffalo, New York is one of the top 10 U.S. cities in terms of the number of refugees resettled since 2002. Between 2009 and 2017, Buffalo’s population fell by 4.3 percent. Without the 10,102 refugees resettled in the city during that period, it would have shrunk almost twice as much.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…