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Waste of the Day: Refugee Assistance Cost Taxpayers $20 Billion In Two Years

The Office of Refugee Resettlement spent $20 billion over two years settling illegal aliens in the United States.

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Topline: The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement spent $20 billion over the last two years on “refugee and entrant assistance” for those entering the country legally or illegally, according to a report from

Services included legal assistance, medical screening, housing assistance, cultural orientation, work authorization, public benefits application, school enrollment, mental health services, cash support and Medicaid access. The spending represents an increase of billions of dollars over previous years and includes potential conflicts of interest with the agency’s director.

Waste of the Day: Refugee Assistance Cost Taxpayers $20 Billion In Two Years
Waste of the Day 2.06.24 by Open the Books

Key facts: The office, a program of the Administration of Children and Families, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, drastically increased its discretionary grant spending over the last two years, contributing to the $20 billion price tag. The agency awarded only $500 million in grants from 2013-2021 but spent over $1 billion on grants in the past two years alone.

Grants were also sent out through programs like the Individual Development Accounts, which helps immigrants build their credit scores, start a business or save for large purchases like a house.

Parent agency Administration of Children and Families received $2.9 billion to support Afghani entrants just in 2022, while Ukrainian refugees needed $2.7 billion in support over the last two years.

OpenTheBooks also found potential conflicts of interest within Office of Refugee Resettlement spending.


Robin Dunn Marcos took over as program director in September 2022 following eight years of work with the non-profit International Rescue Committee.

That organization received just $22 million from the Office of Refugee Resettlement in 2021. But after Dunn Marcos became director, her former employer received $235 million in grants in 2023.

A government spokesperson said Dunn Marcos is currently recused from all matters involving the International Rescue Committee, but the recusal will end in September of this year.

Background: The financial burden resulted in part from a record 2.5 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border last year. 

During the past two years, roughly 260,000 unaccompanied children also arrived in the U.S. and 85,000 of those children are “lost” in the system. Support for unaccompanied children cost taxpayers $13 billion from 2012 to 2022, OpenTheBooks previously reported.


Summary: The Office of Refugee Resettlement represents just one small piece of U.S. spending on legal and illegal immigration. However, new arrivals in the country show no signs of slowing down, and neither does the burden on taxpayers.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO/founder of Before dedicating his life to public service, Adam co-founded HomePages Directories, a $20 million publishing company (1997-2007). His works have been featured on the BBC, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, C-SPAN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, FOX News, CNN, National Public Radio (NPR), Forbes, Newsweek, and many other national media.

Today, is the largest private repository of U.S. public-sector spending. Mission: post "every dime, online, in real time." In 2022, captured nearly all public expenditures in the country, including nearly all disclosed federal government spending; 50 of 50 state checkbooks; and 25 million public employee salary and pension records from 50,000 public bodies across America.

The group's aggressive transparency and forensic auditing of government spending has led to the assembly of grand juries, indictments, and successful prosecutions; congressional briefings, hearings, and subpoenas; Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits; Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports; federal legislation; and much more.

Our Honorary Chairman - In Memoriam is U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, MD.

Andrzejewski's federal oversight work was included in the President's Budget To Congress FY2021. The budget cited his organization by name, bullet-pointed their findings, and footnoted/hyperlinked to their report.

Posted on YouTube, Andrzejewski's presentation, The Depth of the Swamp, at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar 2020 in Naples, Florida received 3.8 million views.

Andrzejewski has spoken at the Columbia School of Journalism, Harvard Law School and the law schools at Georgetown and George Washington regarding big data journalism. As a senior policy contributor at Forbes, Adam had nearly 20 million pageviews on 206 published investigations. In 2022, investigative fact-finding on Dr. Fauci's finances led to his cancellation at Forbes.

In 2022, Andrzejewski did 473 live television and radio interviews across broadcast, major cable platforms, and radio shows. Andrzejewski is the author of The Waste of the Day column at Real Clear Policy. The column is syndicated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owners of nearly 200 ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates across USA.

Andrzejewski lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife Kerry and three daughters. He is a lector at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church and has finished the Chicago Marathon eight times (PR 3:58.49 in 2022).

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