The Costs and Benefits of Somali Refugees: Part 2

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Scott wrote this morning about the costs of Minnesota’s Somali refugee population to the state. He discussed, among other things, an article in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune that contains information about the cost of welfare benefits to Minnesota’s Somali refugee population. The Strib’s spin on the issue is a positive one: yes, temporary welfare costs are high, but just wait until all those refugees go to work and benefit the state’s economy!

My colleague at Center of the American Experiment, Kim Crockett, has a rejoinder to the Strib’s story at the American Experiment web site. I won’t try to summarize what she says, you should read it all. But here are a couple of observations:

1) The Center has been pressing state agencies for information on the state’s spending on refugees for months. It has been like pulling teeth. We finally received partial data last week. My suspicion is that the state’s Department of Human Services gave the same data to the Star Tribune as a pre-emptive measure, to generate positive spin in advance of the report that the Center will produce, when we have obtained fuller information one way or another.

2) The total costs of refugee resettlement are still unknown, but how about those great benefits to our economy? Here’s a hint: 41% of Minnesota’s Somali-born men and 54% of Somali-born women are employed in any capacity.

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