Waste Watch: Tax Money Spent on Refugees


NASHVILLE, TN - Resettling refugees here in the US and paying for their healthcare and social security benefits.

It's already cost at least a billion of our tax dollars just in one year and the budget for this program keeps getting bigger.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement is past deadline letting Congress know how they're spending our tax dollars.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn has spent months petitioning, trying to get details about work done in the ORR.

The agency's 2014 annual report has just been released in March-- 14 months past it's legal deadline of January 31, 2015.

The 2015 report is already three months past due.

Congressman Blackburn says, "The Office of Refugee Resettlement is not into accountability to the tax payers or transparency to the tax payers. They seem to be in to just growing their programs."

The program posts $760 million in funding for fiscal year 2012, increasing by about a hundred million each year until now.

Today, Health and Human Services has requested double the funding since 2012 for their refugee resettlement program-- a whopping $1.6 billion.

It's our tax dollars paying for this, authorized by Congress.

Fox 17 contacted Health and Human Services which administers the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

In an email, a spokesperson says the January 31st deadline is a challenge and they're working to address the process saying "ORR does not receive the data from the states for the report until March. The FY 2015 report is currently being worked on and will be provided to Congress as soon as it is available."

As refugees continue coming into the US, they're drawing from Medicare and Social Security-- as well as long-term welfare, housing and other entitlement benefits.

Congressman Blackburn claims ORR isn't estimating the cost of this to tax payers, either.

"It is their money that is being wasted or is being spent without accountability and is being spent on programs that Congress did not authorize and that the American people do not want."

Congress can go through the budget and appropriations process, limiting the program's ability to use those funds.

Congressman Blackburn says that for the cost of every one refugee coming into the US, twelve could be helped or re-established in their home region.

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