You are afraid of them, but Jesus would call them: “Neighbor”

Since Tennessee’s Governor, Bill Lee, made the decision to allow refugees to continue to be settled in Tennessee, several counties and municipalities in the state have started working to pass local laws to prohibit giving these people a chance at freedom and opportunity. (Isn’t that sort of what America was founded on?)

This information was provided by Lutheran Services of Georgia–an organization which has settled refugees for decades.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is secure:

• Resettlement is the most difficult way to enter the U.S., and refugees are the most thoroughly vetted individuals in the U.S., going through all screenings before they arrive.

• Vetting includes biometric and biographic checks; interagency intelligence sharing; screenings against multiple domestic and international terrorist and criminal databases; background investigations by the FBI, Department of Defense, State Department, and National Counterterrorism Center; and in-person interviews by Homeland Security officers.

• Refugees receive an interest free travel loan to pay for the cost of their transportation to the US. Refugees give back to their new communities.

Economic Contributions

• Refugees start working as soon as possible, pay taxes, start businesses, purchase homes, and become U.S. citizens.

• While refugees receive initial assistance upon arriving in the United States, they see particularly sharp income increases in subsequent years. While refugees here five years or less have a median household income of roughly $22,000, that figure more than triples in the following decades, growing far faster than other foreign-born groups. By the time a refugee has been in the country at least 25 years, their median household income reaches $67,000—a full $14,000 more than the median income of U.S. households overall

• Over a 20-year-period, refugees contribute, on average, $21,000 more in taxes than the initial investment to resettle them. In 2015, refugees contributed $21 billion in U.S. taxes.

• The average workforce participation rate of refugees is 81.8%, above the national 62%.

• 13% of refugees were entrepreneurs in 2015, compared to 9% percent of the U.S.-born.

• 40% of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by refugees, immigrants or their children.

• Many industries, like hospitality and meatpacking rely on refugee workers. Across the U.S., the low number of refugee arrivals is putting a strain on businesses, especially in rural areas.

• For the state of TN, a snapshot of the demographic and economic contributions of refugees shows that in 2015, refugee population household income was $649.9M with total spending power of $497.5M. Total taxes paid was $152.3M

Is there a Link Between Refugees and U.S. Crime Rates? To examine this issue, New American Economy used refugee resettlement data from the U.S. Department of State’s Worldwide Refugee Processing System to calculate the 10 cities in the US that received the most refugees relative to the size of their population between 2006 and 2015. This revealed a telling pattern: Rather than crime increasing, nine out of 10 of the communities actually became considerably more safe, both in terms of their levels of violent and property crime.

Here is new analysis on the economic cost of opting out of refugee resettlement for a few key states. TN stands to loose $4.1 million.

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