The World Refugee Rescue Project No Longer Makes Sense

By Brenda Walker
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 29, Number 1 (Fall 2018)
Issue theme: "Sanctuary Nation - The Fraying of America"

The immigration-as-rescue program is a fool’s errand because it is becoming less effective as the number of people needing help has multiplied enormously. Refugee resettlement has devolved into largely a national virtue-signaling exercise from First World nations to each other about their generosity and loyalty toward diversity (liberals’ secular religion).

Meanwhile, the growing world population — now standing at around 7.6 billion persons — continues to crush the effectiveness of rescue programs because of the expanding numbers of needy, yet that subject is rarely mentioned in polite discussion as a force obviating the work of do-gooders. The number of poor on earth explodes with no end in sight, yet United Nations bureaucrats and other globalists act like they are doing something genuinely useful.

The numbers no longer make any sense, and in fact there’s some lying and denial going on about the big picture. Remember when demographers used to say the world population increase would “taper off” at around 10 or 11 billion? The experts don’t say that any more, so we must assume there will be no natural lessening but rather worsening crowdiness, followed by population control the hard way via drought, disease, and wars over resources. Overpopulation brings bad choices.

The population growth of First World nations has slowed, but the Third World keeps producing babies it can’t always feed. A graph of world population growth now and going forward shows the more developed world has basically flatlined, but less developed countries are adding billions from now to 2050 (and beyond we can safely assume).

The refugee redistribution system is run by the United Nations, as has been the case since the UN’s creation at the end of World War II. At that time (when world population was around 2.5 billion), millions of persons displaced by the war were a big problem in Europe. To help, Congress passed the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which brought 415,000 European refugees to the United States over the next few years.

Today, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at its founding in 1950) reports 68.5 million people were displaced worldwide as of the end of 2017. This is not a problem that relocation can solve, yet the liberal mind plugs away, believing immigration is the great globalist cure-all.

California illustrates the liberal craziness of the rescue project. It currently accepts the most refugees of any state — 5,160 in FY2017 — even though it has the highest poverty rate in the United States, worse than Mississippi or West Virginia. The soaring cost of living, particularly housing, has forced many a middle class Californian to flee to more affordable locales in recent years, yet the Golden State is happy to welcome poor unskilled refugees who don’t speak English into a situation that may be difficult for them to navigate.

A July article in the San Jose Mercury-News illustrates how thoughtless the resettlement bureaucrats can be. The subject of the piece was a refugee family from Afghanistan who were struggling financially. Khisrow Jan, the father and breadwinner, was working 12 hours a day as an Uber driver, which doesn’t pay the rent of $1,850 for a two-bedroom apartment in Antioch, a suburb 45 miles east of San Francisco. He has a stay-at-home wife and four kids to support, so the expenses won’t be decreasing any time soon. The agency that allowed the family to relocate into one of America’s most expensive areas did them no favors.

Interestingly, the education level of the incoming refugees has declined substantially, so hopes of eventual assimilation are misguided. As the First World becomes a more technological society, it is becoming less forgiving of low schooling. A 2018 paper from the Center for Immigration Studies titled “Refugee Resettlement Is Costly” had several sobering statistics; e.g., refugees age 25 or older averaged 8.7 years of education prior to arrival in the U.S., and 29 percent of refugees aged 25 or older listed their prior educational attainment as “none.”

Unlike a century ago, most unskilled foreigners are destined to remain on the debit side of the ledger for American society. Importing welfare cases should not be on Washington’s to-do list, although the left is not averse to that policy.

In addition, we should be more realistic about future employment opportunities, which are forecast to be greatly reduced by robots, automation and artificial intelligence. Our capacity to bring foreigners fully into American society is being shrunk by the new technology, even though at this writing the economy is booming. When machines become cheaper than workers, the humans will be replaced. has a refugee fact sheet that states, “Less than 1 percent of the total number of displaced people in the world will ever be resettled to one of 36 current resettlement countries.”

Talk about “failure by design” — a one-percent success rate is a disaster, pure and simple. Yet the resettlement agencies cry big do-gooder tears that more displaced people should be taken in. What, should we double the number to reach two percent? Even major increases are insignificant given the size of the problem.

The point is that resettlement of displaced people as refugees is so ineffective that it should be abandoned completely.

Surely a basic rethink is needed. In 2015, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a paper titled “The High Cost of Resettling Middle Eastern Refugees,” with the upshot being that it’s far cheaper to take care of them near their homeland compared with relocating them in the U.S. As Mark Krikorian (CIS Executive Director) testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, “We found that it costs 12 times as much to resettle a refugee from Syria, from the Middle East, in the United States as it does to provide for them in their own region.”

The paper further estimates that the five-year cost for a refugee to be resettled into the U.S. is $64,000. The United Nations puts the five-year cost for supporting refugees in the region at about $5,300, so the financial advantage of keeping services local to refugees’ homeland is clear, as well as causing less personal disruption for the displaced persons.

Of course, that fact only makes sense, but such a strategy would cut into the paychecks of refugee resettlement workers, such as Catholic Charities for example, an institution thatin recent years hascollectedbillions of taxpayer dollars to perform its alleged good reported that President Trump’s 2017 reduction in refugee resettlement “led to at least 300 layoffs in the U.S. nonprofit sector and more than 500 positions abroad” — one can only hope.

There are partial solutions to be had for displaced persons, though they are imperfect and incomplete. Certainly persons cannot be returned to war zones while the shooting is going on.

But keep in mind that not every refugee or asylum seeker comes from a dangerous place, as shown by a recent Google search for Refugees Return Home Vacation that got over 11 million results. The claims of victimhood are often just a pose taken by economic migrants looking for jobs and free stuff. Others are ethnic minorities disliked in their own homeland, such as the Karen and Karenni tribal people in Burma, where the majority population is happy to be rid of them, so the American taxpayer is forced to suck up the rejected Burmese diversity.

About the author

Brenda Walker is publisher of the websites and A resident of the San Francisco Bay area, she is a frequent contributor to The Social Contract.

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