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LETTER: Today's immigration isn't like yesterday's

We cannot "fix" what's wrong in the Middle East by emptying that region into the United States.

We can, however, import all the Mideast's problems by giving the conflicts there an all-expenses-paid invitation to move in next-door.

The head of the FBI, James Comey, testified before Congress that Syrian refugees cannot be vetted. There is no way to know which "refugees" actually are terrorists or criminals; that sort of record-keeping doesn't exist.

ISIS has stated its intention to place secret operatives in foreign countries using refugee resettlement programs. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told Congress that there are 72 cases of documented terrorist activity in the United States from immigrants, many of them "refugees."

ISIS operatives are being investigated by the FBI in all 50 states. The family of the "Boston Marathon" bombers were asylum-seekers.

Two years ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that "the federal government is engaging in an aggressive effort to deport Somali immigrants who run afoul of U.S. law. ... The policy change affects more than 3,100 Somali nationals who have received final orders for removal from the United States since 2001, either because of violations of immigration law or criminal convictions."

The whole of America is made up of immigrants and refugees — and their descendants. But most of our families came here before there were subsidy programs that unfairly burden the taxpayer to provide "free rides" to the newcomers.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, it costs U.S. taxpayers nearly $65,000 dollars on average for each Middle Eastern refugee for their first five years in the United States.

"Very heavy use of welfare programs by Middle Eastern refugees, and the fact that they have only 10.5 years of education on average, makes it likely that it will be many years, if ever, before this population will cease to be a net fiscal drain on public coffers—using more in public services than they pay in taxes," Steven Camarota, the center's director of research, has said.

If the U.S. takes in 35,000 refugees next year from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, it would cost the U.S. taxpayer nearly $2.3 billion just in the first five years.

More than 90 percent of refugees from the Middle East get food stamps, 68 percent receive cash assistance and 23 percent live in public housing. Costs also include processing and educating refugees, and federal aid given to refugee-receiving communities.

Just because the U.S. government claims some refugees become "self-sufficient" doesn't mean the refugees are. The official definition of "self-sufficient" does not include handouts such as SNAP (food stamps), heating assistance and other giveaway programs. "Self-sufficient" means only that the refugee isn't getting cash.

France allowed about a hundred times more immigrants into their country than their culture could support. We've seen again how well that is working out. Why does the United States—and North Dakota—have to make exactly the same mistake?

Schurkey Swanke

Grand Forks

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