How Will the U.S. Absorb Thousands of Syrian Refugees?

In recent weeks, the Obama administration has become increasingly vocal about the Syrian refugee crisis sweeping through the Middle East and Europe. Resettling displaced families is costly and complicated—but there are potential economic benefits for U.S. cities willing to do so.

April 2013 The Islamic State, then an Iraq-based jihadist group, announces plans to expand operations westward into Syria. September 2013 Germany agrees to temporarily resettle 5,000 Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. The Unfolding Tragedy 0 2m 3m 1m 4m A u g u s t 2 0 1 5 M a r c h 2 0 1 1 Registered Syrian refugees April 2011 Government security forces crack down on protests against President Bashar al-Assad in Deraa, near the border with Jordan, where the first refugees soon appeared. February 2012 The Syrian Army launches a major offensive on the rebel stronghold of Homs, triggering a flight of refugees to Lebanon. April 2014 Jordan opens a camp at Azraq, designed to shelter as many as 130,000 refugees. October 2014 Islamic State fighters launch an assault on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, sending civilians across the Turkish border. May 2015 The Islamic State seizes control of Palmyra from government forces, scattering 11,000 residents, many of them displaced from other parts of Syria. 8 9 , 1 0 1 106 Civilian de a ths in S yria April 2012 The United Nations brokers a brief cease-fire in Homs. July 2012 Opposition forces launch assaults on Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s commercial center, driving civilians to Lebanon and Turkey. September 2012 Refugees riot over squalid conditions at the Zaatari camp in northern Jordan. 2 0 10 21,30 0 , 000 2 0 14 1 7 , 95 0, 000 S yria n population Pouring Across Borders People fed up with living in Jordanian refugee camps are heading back into Syria en route to Europe via Turkey. Israel’s border with Syria is closed, and the government has refused requests from Palestinian leaders to allow refugees into the West Bank from Jordan. Unlike Lebanon and Jordan, Turkey has maintained an open-door policy to Syrian refugees. There are 248,503 registered Syrian refugees in Iraq. The highest recorded number so far, 5,379, arrived in August. As millions of Syrians have fled the country, dozens of refugee camps have sprung up across the region. $ 5 7 .3 billion Governments say they’ve spent more than ever this year providing basic services to refugees* Jordan $3b Turkey $1.5b Serbia $15.9m Slovenia $6.5m * Lebanon hasn’t released figures on the cost of caring for more than 1 million Syrian refugees The Greek island of Lesvos spent at least $3.1m from January to September on more than 150,000 people who arrived from Turkey; the amount doesn’t include police and coast guard services, covered by the Greek national government, not the municipality. Out of 4,086,760 registered Syrian refugees, 428,735 have applied for asylum in Europe, and 18,000 of the Syrian refugees have been referred by the UN High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for possible settlement in the U.S. In 2014, the cost of the Syrian conflict—including lost economic activity and destroyed property—reached Germany, with 108,897 applications, and Serbia, with 77,196, account for 43% of those who’ve sought asylum in Europe The UN agency advocates for refugees globally and provides support and assistance on the ground to ensure their needs are met Where the Refugees Are Headed The Rising Price of War On Sept. 10, President Obama said the United States would accept 10,000 displaced Syrians this year. Starting on Oct. 1 as part of an announced increase in the annual refugee admissions cap, the quota will be raised to to 85,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. Secretary of State John Kerry says he intends to raise the limit to at least 100,000 in fiscal year 2017. 10,000 Syrian refugees C ompa r e d wit h E u r o p e European justice and home affairs ministers have agreed to relocate 160,000 refugees over the next two years, dividing them among the European Union’s member states What to Expect in the U.S. A History of U.S. Refugee Admissions 0 50k 100k 150k 200k FY 2 0 15 FY 1 9 7 5 1980 Soviet Jews and Southeast Asians make up the bulk of the inflows. 1992 Nearly half the admissions come from the former Soviet Union. 1999 Includes 14,161 from Kosovo 2002 Changes to immi- gration rules after the Sept. 11 attacks send admissions to their lowest level since 1977. Those from the near East and South Asia fall 69 percent. 2008 Admissions from Iraq jump to 13, 822, up from 1,608 in 2007, as violence in the country escalates. 2015 so far Syrians make up 1,293 out of a total of 57,350 U.S. refugee admissions in FY 2015 (through August)
April 2011 Government security forces crack down on protests against President Bashar al-Assad in Deraa, near the border with Jordan, where the first refugees soon appeared. February 2012 The Syrian Army launches a major offensive on the rebel stronghold of Homs, triggering a flight of refugees to Lebanon. April 2012 The United Nations brokers a brief cease-fire in Homs. July 2012 Opposition forces launch assaults on Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s commercial center, driving civilians to Lebanon and Turkey. September 2012 Refugees riot over squalid conditions at the Zaatari camp in northern Jordan. April 2013 The Islamic State, then an Iraq-based jihadist group, announces plans to expand operations westward into Syria. September 2013 Germany agrees to temporarily resettle 5,000 Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. April 2014 Jordan opens a camp at Azraq, designed to shelter as many as 130,000 refugees. October 2014 Islamic State fighters launch an assault on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, sending civilians across the Turkish border. May 2015 The Islamic State seizes control of Palmyra from government forces, scattering 11,000 residents, many of them displaced from other parts of Syria. August 2015 March 2011 8 9 , 1 0 1 106 Civilian deaths in Syria 0 2m 3m 1m 4m 4.1m 2.8m 2.1m 243.4k 1,490 4,360 1,688 1,688 1,577 The Unfolding Tragedy Civilian deaths in Syria Registered Syrian refugees Civilian deaths in Syria $ 5 7 .3 billion Governments say they’ve spent more than ever this year providing basic services to refugees* Jordan $3b Turkey $1.5b Serbia $15.9m Slovenia $6.5m * Lebanon hasn’t released figures on the cost of caring for more than 1 million Syrian refugees Out of 4,086,760 registered Syrian refugees, 428,735 have applied for asylum in Europe, and 18,000 of the Syrian refugees have been referred by the UN High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for possible settlement in the U.S. The UN agency advocates for refugees globally and provides support and assistance on the ground to ensure their needs are met The Greek island of Lesvos spent at least $3.1m from January to September on more than 150,000 people who arrived from Turkey; the amount doesn’t include police and coast guard services, covered by the Greek national government, not the municipality. Germany, with 108,897 applications, and Serbia, with 77,196, account for 43% of those who’ve sought asylum in Europe Where the Refugees are Headed The Rising Price of War In 2014, the cost of the Syrian conflict—including lost economic activity and destroyed property—reached On Sept. 10, President Obama said the United States would accept 10,000 displaced Syrians this year (correct?). Starting on Oct. 1 as part of an announced increase in the annual refugee admissions cap, the quota will be raised to to 85,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. Secretary of State John Kerry says he intends to raise the limit to at least 100,000 in fiscal year 2017. What to Expect in the U.S. 10,000 Syrian refugees A History of U.S. Refugee Admissions FY 2 0 15 FY 1 9 7 5 1980 Soviet Jews and Southeast Asians make up the bulk of the inflows. 1992 Nearly half the admissions come from the former Soviet Union. 2002 Changes to immigration rules after the Sept. 11 attacks send admissions to their lowest level since 1977. Those from the near East and South Asia fall 69 percent. 1999 Includes 14,161 from Kosovo 2008 Admissions from Iraq jump to 13, 822, up from 1,608 in 2007, as violence in the country escalates. 2015 so far Syrian refugees make up 1,293 out of 57,350 U.S. refugee admissions in FY 2015 (through August) Los Angeles, CA 6,562 Syrian-born New York, NY 11,979 Chicago, IL 5,942 Riverside, CA 4,943 Detroit, MI 4,713 Phoenix, AZ 3,811 Allentown, PA 2,804 Boston, MA 2,612 Miami, FL 2,009 Atlanta, CA 1,820 By City Metropolitan areas with the 10-largest Syrian-born populations Where They’ll Live By State New arrivals from Syria per 1 million residents, FY 2012-15 The U.S. government resettles refugees in one of 180 host cities nationwide, near family if possible. The State Department offers aid for the first 90 days. Other aid is available for up to five years. A case study in Cleveland shows how supportive resettlement programs might help stimulate the economy. 60 0 $ 4 8 m 3 8 $ 2 . 7 m Approximate number of refugees resettled in the Cleveland area in 2012; the total from 2000-12 is 4,518, mostly from Bhutan, Myanmar, Somalia, and Ukraine. Estimated 2012 direct and indirect economic impact of refugees, including federal spending to pay for refugee services jobs. Number of businesses started by refugees in the Cleveland area from 2002 to 2012. Many hire other refugees. Tax revenue to state and local governments derived from refugee activities in 2012. Almost three-quarters of refugees were employed after two years. Hope in Ohio